You’ve probably seen YouTube clips of terrible driving in Russia or near misses on British roads, but did you know that recording your driving on a dash cam could help lower your insurance premium and help your claim in the event of a crash or accident?
In fact, some discounts may be equivalent to the cost of the camera, so it can pay for itself. And the video it takes can help protect your excess and no claims bonus.
Dashboard cameras, or dash cams for short, have become more sophisticated and prevalent in recent years. And now many insurers say they will use dash cam footage as evidence in the claims process.
Research in May 2015 by dash cam manufacturer Nextbase found that all 29 of the UK’s leading insurers it spoke to would consider using dash cam videos. It can benefit both the customer and insurance provider and some believe they encourage people to drive safer, which is why a few firms offer a discount if you have a dash cam.
Car insurance providers that offer dash cam discounts
- Swiftcover – 10% discount for new or renewing customers and 12.5% for customers with a Nextbase camera
- Adrian Flux – Up to 15% off policies for drivers with certain cameras, including the Road Angel Halo
- Axa – 10% for new and renewing policies, customers can have any camera
- RAC – £30 discount for new customers with an RAC dash cam. Not available on renewal
- Equity Redstar – According to Carcamerashop.co.uk, Equity offers a 10% discount to fleet insured policy holders
Other firms have said they are watching providers that offer a discount with interest, so it’s worth asking your insurer directly when you renew or take out a policy whether they will consider lowering your premium.
If you do agree to a discount some providers will get you to agree to send in footage whenever you have an accident, even if it implicates you in the claim.
Using dash cam videos as evidence for claims
Even if you can’t get money off your policy, dash cams can provide vital evidence if you have an accident. They can prove a crash was another driver’s fault, help speed up the the claims process and protect your excess and no-claims bonus.
Dash cams are also excellent tools in the growing battle against ‘crash for cash’ and ‘flash for cash’ insurance fraud.
Had a woman accuse me of "bumping her car" on Old Kent Road yesterday. I offered to show her video footage, she disappeared. Get a dashcam— Kevin Portch (@HeadlongCabbie) January 4, 2016
These scams involve someone causing an accident or flashing their lights at a driver to encourage them to make a maneuver that causes a collision and then blaming the victim so that they have to claim on their insurance.
This type of crime is often carried out by organised gangs and according to the Metropolitan Police crash for cash could be adding an extra £50 to £100 to people’s insurance premiums.
The Government also aims to cut down on false claims that are inflating car insurance premiums. Insurance officials recently said they will pass on savings from reforms to reduce false whiplash claims, which they believe cost the country £2bn a year and add £90 to the average motor insurance policy.
Chancellor George Osborne revealed in the Autumn Statement that the Government would end the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash injuries. Insurers Aviva and LV= have said they will pass on savings in full.
How the cameras work
Dash cams are stuck onto the windscreen and record on a continuous loop when your car is on. However, there are many models with a range of features. Most use GPS that will show your location and speed. All the videos and data can usually be downloaded to a computer, or is stored in the cloud, so you can then send it on to insurance companies.
It is important to get a camera that films in high definition so that you can read any number plates in the video.
More advanced cameras feature motion detectors that turn on when they spot any movement, even if when your car is parked. That can help if another driver bumps or scrapes you in a carpark.
Other useful features including having a night vision mode and a camera for the rear window so that any bumps from behind can also be captured.
You can get also get dash cam apps for your smartphone, but you have to make sure you won’t be breaking any laws by using your phone behind the wheel.
Other ways to get cheaper car insurance
We have negotiated fairer deals with insurers for our members who have specific car insurance needs, such as young drivers and smart car owners. If you have a suggestion for a car insurance group you can get in touch with us here, or see if any of our car insurance groups could help you get a cheaper premium.
There are other ways to get cheaper car insurance. First, see if any of our groups are relevant to you. We have negotiated discounts for our members to make sure they get a fairer premium.
Or you could look into having a black box fitted. The Association of British Insurers has said that motorists might be more likely to get a discount from their insurer when using a black box than when using a dash cam.
A black box will measure how you are driving, but there are limits to when you can drive and how many miles you can travel every month. And a black box will not be able to do as much to help you if you need to make a claim.
You can also use our guide to the top 10 car insurance providers to shop around for a better deal.