Modern technology is having a huge impact on the car insurance world, with things like telematics policies, more commonly known as a black box, connecting driving behaviour with the price paid for cover.
Dashboard cameras that give a driver’s view of the road ahead are an increasingly common feature of today’s vehicle windscreen, with millions of motorists choosing to install them in their vehicles.
Insurers are well aware of the potential value of a dashboard camera. Footage can be used as evidence following an incident. For example, to prove which party was to blame for an accident.
As well as capturing images, many cameras use GPS to record speed and location. This evidence could also help to reduce fraud and speed up insurance claims.
Should You Install A Dashboard Camera?
In 2014, Swiftcover became the first insurer to offer a dashboard camera discount and a number of other providers have since followed its example, AXA, Aviva and RAC. Insurer Sure Thing! even offer a free dashboard camera when you take out certain policies.
Axa is offering new and renewing customers a no-questions-asked 10% when you take out a car insurance policy if you use a dash cam.
The Axa website states that the dashboard camera must be ‘permanently fitted’ in your car. This means that it must record the road ahead on every journey you take. A professional installation is ‘preferred’ but if you’ve done it correctly yourself, that shouldn’t cause problems. Axa also states that mobile apps that convert your smartphone to a dashboard camera are not acceptable. You must also be able to send Axa footage on request.
The thing to bear in mind is that there will be a variety of terms and conditions attached to any discount and that, even with the discount, the policy may not be the cheapest or best one for you.
Some of the small print to look out for includes whether a particular brand of camera is required and whether or not it has to be professionally fitted. You’ll almost certainly need the camera to always record when you’re driving, no matter how small the journey, and if you’re unable to supply footage after an accident, you may risk invalidating your policy altogether.
Dashboard Camera Evidence In Insurance Claims
Clear evidence from a dashboard camera can help to speed up insurance claims, deliver a fair outcome and help to combat fraud. The police, courts and insurance companies will all consider video evidence as part of their investigation. This can be particularly beneficial to you if an accident wasn’t your fault. This could help to protect any no-claims bonus you have, mean you won’t have to pay an excess and help to keep down your premium when it’s time to renew. However, if an accident was your fault, this may be revealed by the camera footage.
Other Benefits Of Dashboard Cameras
One of the major benefits of dashboard cameras is that their evidence can help to combat crime including crash-for-cash scams, plus hit and run drivers who may have their licence plates caught on camera.
Some dashboard cameras can record thefts and vandalism, but this will depend on the set-up you have as most only record when the engine is running, although cameras working on motion detection are available.
As with telematics (black boxes), dashboard cameras are seen as a way of improving driving skills. Their presence can encourage good behaviour from both the driver, who will be conscious that their actions are being recorded, and also other motorists, who may be mindful of the increasing number of cameras in vehicles on the road.
Are You Constantly Being Watched?
Unlike with telematics (black boxes), insurers don’t currently use dashboard cameras to monitor your overall driving performance. The providers offering dashboard camera discounts only seem to want footage to help with claims.
Swiftcover states that it would only ask a policyholder to provide video footage in the event of an accident.
However, AXA states that it may occasionally ask a policyholder to provide footage, even when there’s been no accident, in order to ensure that the dashboard camera is working correctly.
It is also possible that the police could use footage, either from a driver’s own dashboard camera, or from that of another motorist, to convict someone of speeding or other illegal behaviour on the road.
Why Don’t More Insurers Offer A Discount For Having A Dashboard Camera?
Offering discounts for the use of a dashboard camera is still a fairly new practice. Not all insurance providers are convinced that this isn’t just a marketing ploy by camera manufacturers, to persuade customers to purchase them in an attempt to try and reduce their premiums. Insurers will most likely monitor the performance of their competitors who do offer discounts and use the evidence to help decide whether or not they should follow their example.
The use of a dashboard camera is just one of a large number of factors insurers can use to assess your risk and set your premium. Some may even view the camera itself as a risk, as it could attract the attention of thieves.
Insurers may also feel that concentrating on such a single factor could alienate particular groups who may be their target customers, perhaps certain older motorists who may not be comfortable using the new technology.
Does The Cost Outweigh The Benefits?
A recent 2019 search of Amazon found dashboard cameras that ranged in price from £7.99 to £424.
If you are taking out insurance that requires a dashboard camera for a discount, make sure that the camera you buy meets the policy’s terms and conditions. You might also find that the initial investment in the camera might be more than the potential saving on the policy.
To discuss your Car Insurance requirements, please contact us, call in to our office or telephone one of our friendly staff on 01246 575 625. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.