Dashboard-mounted cameras, or “dash cams,” have been used in law enforcement for decades. And since the early 2000s, these cameras have also been popular in commercial U.S. markets. MarketWatch estimates the demand for dash cameras will grow substantially in the coming years.
There are definitely benefits to outfitting your car with a dash camera, but you shouldn’t expect your insurance provider to cut you a deal on your premium just for having one. Here’s what to consider when looking into getting a dash camera installed in your car.
How dash cams can impact your car insurance
You will not receive an insurance discount for dash cams if you live in the U.S., so if you’re looking for cheap car insurance, a dash cam won’t help.
Although insurance providers don’t currently offer insurance discounts of this kind, it could easily change in the future as more drivers begin to adopt the technology. And outfitting your car with a dash camera can indirectly impact your car insurance in a few positive ways:
Having a record of your accident
No one prefers to be held liable in a car accident. And if there’s any doubt who’s at fault, the claims process can rapidly become messy. In some scenarios, proceedings can devolve into your word against that of the other driver. Dash cameras can be useful in avoiding these scenarios altogether.
If your dash cam records the accident as it happens, the video can be very helpful by removing any questions of fault during the insurance claims process. A video from a dash cam might be able to provide sufficient evidence and speed up proceedings to help you settle the claim faster.
Fighting insurance fraud
Car insurance fraud is far too common. If someone tries to involve you in a staged accident to receive a fraudulent claims payout, the result can be disastrous and cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees and increased insurance premiums.
Having a video record of these events helps protect you from insurance fraud. If you believe you’ve been involved in car insurance fraud, you should contact law enforcement and turn over any video evidence you have as soon as possible.
Any recorded evidence of suspected car insurance fraud can also go a long way toward clearing you with your insurance company. But you should always contact law enforcement first.
Making you a better driver
Safe driving practices take years to master. If you’re a new driver or if you’ve had a few close calls behind the wheel recently, you may want to review your dash cam video to see what could be done differently next time. Taking the time to refine your technique could result in avoiding a bad car wreck in the future.
Driving safe also directly affects the price you pay for car insurance. If you can avoid traffic tickets and car accidents for a few years, many car insurance providers will reward you with a good driver discount, which can significantly reduce your monthly premium cost.
Capturing unexpected events
Although car accidents are always a danger while driving, many incidents that damage your car happen while parked. If your car insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, then incidents that damage your car such as theft, vandalism, falling tree limbs and damage from fires are generally covered.
If any of these damaging events occur and your dash camera captures them, then the video from the camera should significantly strengthen your claim and speed up the process of getting your car repaired through your insurance.
If you live in rural areas where crossing wildlife can be a hazard, having a dash camera record the moment of impact can also protect your insurance claim. But to file a claim of this nature, you’ll generally need to have comprehensive coverage in your policy.
Are dash cams worth it?
Although there is currently no dash cam insurance discount in the U.S., a dash cam can still help to protect you against insurance fraud. And there’s no question that installing a dash camera can provide important benefits in the insurance claims process.
However, the benefit you’ll get from a dashboard camera largely depends on the frequency and use of your car, as well as how much you spend on the camera. Generally speaking, a reliable dash cam costs at least $100, and top-of-the-line models run hundreds of dollars.
The less expensive models generally do not have their own screens for viewing, contain no internal battery and have few features other than HD recording. The higher-end models come with many features such as their own screen, battery life, and helpful features such as built-in GPS.
Furthermore, some models are easy to set up yourself, while others may require professional installation. You should keep in mind what you want your dash camera to accomplish before making a purchase, and you should make sure it’s running correctly before relying on it for any kind of video evidence.
Frequently asked questions
Can you get a discount for having a dash camera?
While insurance providers in the United States do not currently offer discounts to policyholders with dash cams installed in their cars, if you do choose to install one it can provide important video documentation of insurance claims and fraud.
If there’s any dispute or question after you file a claim, a dash could be the deciding factor in a successful claim and could save you thousands of dollars in expenses.
How much do dash cameras cost?
Most dash cams available in commercial markets generally run about $100 to $500. For example, an APEMAN Dash Cam C860 costs around $100, depending on where you buy it, and comes with basic features.
On the other hand, a Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam will run you somewhere between $260 and $300, depending on where you buy it, and this camera comes with most of the functions you’d want in a reliable dash camera.
If you want to go big, the Nextbase 622GW 4K Dash Cam is one of the most advanced on the market, including features like image stabilization and precision GPS. But this high-end camera costs $400+ at the moment.