Car insurance and dash cameras: what to know
While historically used in commercial cars like cargo trucks and law enforcement vehicles, dash cameras are starting to become a popular choice for drivers of passenger vehicles. These cameras are typically mounted to the dashboard of your car and face the windshield, capturing your journey in real-time. Let’s explore the potential benefits of dash cams and how having one could affect your auto insurance.
The case for dash cameras
Dash cams provide security in the ability to capture roadway events, with multiple-vehicle accidents being the most important. Without video evidence, collisions can turn into a “he said she said” situation, and the claims process can be taxing.
Dash cams provide indisputable proof of events, allowing the insurance claim to be more cut and dry and forcing the other party to be truthful. Dash cams may also record collisions involving other cars within sight of the camera, so they are potentially beneficial to other motorists as well.
5 reasons to use dash cams
While it may seem like dash cams should be a common insurance discount similar to those for anti-theft devices, insurance carriers do not yet offer any lower premiums for owning a dash cam. However, it’s important to note that while these devices cost money to purchase initially, they may save you in the long run if you get into an accident.
Here are a few reasons why outfitting your vehicle with a dash camera is a good idea and can indirectly impact your auto insurance.
1. Video evidence of accidents
The most obvious benefit to dash cams is the indisputable evidence that can be provided by video footage. Oftentimes when collisions occur, the other party will do everything in their power to alleviate fault— they may bend the truth or even place blame on you. Being found at fault in an accident will be recorded on your driving record and result in increased insurance premiums. With a dash camera, you can prove exactly what happened in the incident and fault can be clearly determined. This type of proof can also make the claims process move along more quickly and the payout reach your pocket faster.
2. Recording incidents other than collision
Dash cameras are able to capture anything within view of the windshield, and more if you employ rear or front-facing cameras as well. The camera can help provide evidence in cases of theft, vandalism, damage from wildlife or falling tree limbs. Keep in mind what exactly is covered under your insurance policy — for example, the perils listed above are usually only covered if you have comprehensive coverage or the proper endorsements. There is always a chance the unexpected could occur, and video recordings are a great way to prove your claim.
Car theft is normally tricky when it comes to apprehending a suspect, especially if your things were stolen from your car but the vehicle itself was not taken. Dash cams can catch these thieves on video and help the police find the person responsible, bringing you one step closer to settling your claim and the perpetrator to justice. Dash cams may even serve as a theft prevention tool, as carjackers might notice the device in your vehicle and avoid it completely.
3. Improving your driving skills
One of the best ways to improve a skill is to watch yourself practice. Reviewing your driving footage can demonstrate how you can be a better driver. You are able to see ways you can correct driving mistakes and do better going forward. While there is no insurance discount for dash cams, there are often discounts available for good drivers. Maintaining a good driving record and qualifying for that discount can lower your premiums and lessen the possibility of at-fault accidents in the future. At-fault accidents are one of the most common things thatl increase your insurance premiums.
4. Monitoring other drivers
This is especially helpful if you have younger or first-time drivers on your policy. Drivers under the age of 25 have the highest insurance rates of any age bracket, as insurance carriers see them as the most inexperienced motorists and expect more frequent collisions or violations. A two-way dash camera might also be useful here, as you can see any distracted driving habits behind the wheel as well as what’s going on on the road. Monitoring your teen or young adult’s driving skills via video is a great way to teach them best driving practices and keep their record clean, allowing them to qualify for a safe driving discount quicker.
5. Fighting insurance fraud
Insurance fraud is attempted more often than you might think. Sometimes referred to as a “crash for cash,” fraudsters try to stage a collision in order to get the insurance payout. If you suspect you have been involved in or witnessed something like this, turning your video evidence over to the proper authorities is the best way to prove fraud.
Instances of fraud are built into insurance premiums. The FBI estimates that the cost of insurance fraud amounts up to $40 billion per year. To compensate for losses due to fraud, insurance companies increase policyholder’s premiums—it is thought that the average family pays $400-$700 more in premiums per year because of insurance fraud. Installing a dash cam and catching instances of staged accidents can reduce the financial burden of fraud and prove your innocence.
Are dash cams worth it?
The benefits of dash cams are largely dependent on the driver and the frequency in which you operate your vehicle. You must also consider your financial situation, as dash cams can cost anywhere from $100 to $500. While the initial price point is substantial, the amount of money you can save in the long run from your dash cam footage could be worth it.
Does having a dash cam lower insurance?
As there are not currently discounts available for having a dash cam, it will not save you on insurance directly. However, video evidence of accidents and other perils may help you save money should you need to file a claim and prove your innocence. At-fault accidents increase insurance premiums and footage proving otherwise is a valuable tool in keeping your driving record clean and your insurance premiums low.
Is dash cam footage admissible in court?
This may depend on your location, but dash cam footage is usually admissible in court. This could benefit you greatly if there is any question of fault in an accident or in catching a thief. It’s important to note that you should only use a dash cam in public spaces, as you could run into issues if recording on private property or recording people without their permission.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
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The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.