Some insurers will use evidence from dash cams to help settle claims and some providers may even offer discounts on your car insurance if you use one. Find out more.
A dashboard camera, or dash cam, is a video camera that’s mounted to your front windscreen - and sometimes also to the rear one - to record the road while you’re driving.
Providing evidence of what happens during car journeys, dash cams offer plenty of benefits and have become increasingly popular with motorists.
Insurance companies are also in favour of them, using the footage to quickly help settle a claim. And some insurers consider dash cam users to be safer drivers, so will offer them lower premiums.
Having a dash cam in your car means there’s a digital witness to record everything that happens on your journey, the advantages of this are:
In 2014, Swiftcover became the first insurer to offer a dash cam discount, and other providers such as AXA, Adrian Flux, Admiral, Diamond and Elephant followed suit. Discounts are usually set at around 10-20%.
Don’t be swayed by discounts alone though. You’ll need to stick to any terms and conditions and the policy still might not be the cheapest or best one for you.
Find out what brand of camera the insurer requires and whether it must be professionally fitted. You might find the initial dash cam investment is more than the discount on offer.
Make sure the camera is always recording when you’re driving. If you can’t supply footage after an accident, you may risk invalidating your policy.
Bear in mind that just like any device you buy, the cheaper it is, the less functionality and lower quality output it tends to provide.
So, when it comes to recording what’s on the road, it makes sense to spend your money on a dash cam that records footage clearly and reliably.
They can range in price from as little as £15 for basic models, up to £950 if you choose a high-end combined front and rear dash cam package.
However, most mid-range models will cost around £100 to £300.
Front-facing dash cams tend to be the cheapest, while dual-facing and rear-facing models are more expensive but will provide more information on what’s happening around you.
And if you opt for models at the more advanced end of the scale, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of a monthly software fee.
The police, courts and insurance companies will all consider video evidence from a dash cam as part of their investigations.
This can be particularly helpful if an accident wasn’t your fault as you can avoid cases being settled on a ‘knock-for-knock’ basis – where blame is attributed equally to both parties.
This will also protect your no-claims bonus, so you won’t have to pay an excess and it can help keep your premium down if you renew.
To be of any use as evidence, your dash cam images will need to be reliable and clear.
There are free smartphone apps that can act as a dash cam too. Insurers should accept smartphone footage as evidence after an incident, but they don’t typically accept these apps for dash cam discounts on policies.
Of course, dash cams work both ways - if an accident was your fault, this would also be revealed by the camera footage.
When you have an accident in a car fitted with a dash cam, you should download the footage as soon as you can and make a copy, so it’s not overwritten.
When you contact your insurer, they’ll send you a link where you can upload your footage.
But first, check your insurer’s file size limit - if your file’s too large you may need to edit it or reduce the resolution.
Your insurer will view your files and come back to you with any questions or continue processing your claim.
Depending on how your dash cam is fitted, there’s a chance an accident might not be captured in the footage.
For example, this could happen if you’ve only got a front-facing camera and someone went into the back of your car, or if a cyclist came along that was out of the camera’s view.
Sometimes dash cam videos can be lost if the SD file they’re stored on is corrupted. If this happens you could try using video recovery software to help you retrieve them.
Ultimately, if you didn’t record the accident, you’ll only be able to rely on your own statement and any photos you took at the scene, along with statements from any witnesses.
This will depend on the type of dash cam you buy. Simple mirror-mounted cameras or front-facing wired cameras will usually come with easy-to-use installation kits.
Many dash cams will either use a suction cup or sticky back to mount them. But the most important aspect of fitting a dash cam is where you position it.
To comply with the law, the camera needs to be placed behind your rear-view mirror, ideally on the passenger’s side, obstructing as little of your view as possible.
An alternative option is a hardwired dash cam, where you don’t have to deal with wires hanging from the windscreen and they start up automatically with your car’s ignition.
It’s safer to get these models fitted by a professional, and some insurers may insist on this.
With dash cams becoming increasingly popular, the number of insurers offering discounts to drivers who use them is growing.
However, the terms and conditions surrounding dash cams can complicate the insurance buying process.
It’s also just one factor insurers use to assess your risk and set your premium. Some may even see the camera itself as a risk, as it could attract thieves.
When you get car insurance quotes with us, we don’t ask whether you have a dash cam. But even if you do use one, it’s a good idea to compare prices and find the best deal for your circumstances.
Find out about telematics car insurance – another way to use technology to prove you’re a safe driver and cut the cost of your insurance.
While dash cams come with many benefits, there are also some drawbacks worth considering:
While insurers will sometimes give you a discount for having a dash cam, it doesn’t always mean you’ll get the cheapest car insurance.
To get the best deal, you’ll need to shop around and compare prices. It’s also worth comparing policies with and without a dash cam, to see if there’s any difference in price.