A dashboard camera, or dash cam, is a video camera that you mount on your dashboard or windscreen to record the road while you’re driving.
They've become increasingly popular with motorists and offer a lot of benefits, including car insurance discounts with some insurers.
One of the biggest benefits of dash cams is that their evidence can help combat crime including crash-for-cash scams, and hit-and-run drivers who have their licence plates caught on camera.
This evidence could help to reduce fraud and speed up insurance claims. This means you can prove incidents weren’t your fault and keep your no-claims discount.
Some dash cams can even record thefts and vandalism in an empty car, but this will depend on the set-up you have. Most only record when the engine’s running, although cameras working on motion detection are available.
Dash cams also encourage good driving from both you - as you know your actions are being recorded - and other motorists, who are aware of the increasing number of cameras on the road.
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 set at around 10-20%, while Surething even offers a free dash cam with its policy as standard.
Don’t be swayed by discounts 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 is required and whether it has to be professionally fitted. You might find that the initial investment in the camera 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.
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 protect your no-claims bonus, you won’t have to pay an excess and it’ll keep your premium down when you come to 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 be revealed by the camera footage.
Offering discounts for the use of a dashboard camera is still a fairly new practice.
The terms and conditions surrounding dash cams can complicate the insurance buying process as well.
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.