Can dash-cams help stop crash scams?

Car insurance fraud is adding around £50 to the price of every car insurance premium, and the problem of organised car insurance crime is costing the industry £392million a year, with as many as one-in-seven personal injury claims thought to be connected to a ‘crash-for-cash’ scam. So is it time for honest motorists to take matters into their own hands and install a dashboard camera to record any incidents?
dashcam

Is it time for dash-cams?

Dash-cams are simply, as the name suggests, dashboard-mounted cameras that continually record the scene ahead while the vehicle is in motion and so can instantly clear up any confusion as to who was at fault in the event of a claim. Even if you’re rear-ended by a crash scammer, having a record of your position, the traffic conditions in front of you and your speed (or absence of it) will be useful. Who knows, simply indicating that you have a functioning dash-cam might be enough to knock back the would-be crook when he gets out of his car, nursing his (brass) neck and berating you for grievously wounding the four or five mates he’s crammed into his hatchback.

Near misdemeanours

This technology is being used by an increasing number of motorists to record evidence of all sorts of motoring misdemeanours, from clashes with cyclists to crashes with other cars, and by haulage firms to improve driver behaviour and even curb the transportation of illegal stowaways. And as my article Crash for cash caught on camera highlighted back in October, the technology can be used to quickly and effectively clear up any confusion surrounding a crash for cash claim or even a dispute over who was at fault in an accident. Research from SmartWitness, a dash-cam manufacturer, has shown that insurers have found that just 2% of incidents recorded on its cameras result in disputed claims, against an industry norm of 40% for all motor claims. And some insurers are prepared to reward dash-cam owners with a reduction in premiums. Some SmartWitness owners have experienced savings of up to 20% on their annual policy price, while swiftcover has become the first major UK insurer to offer a 10% discount for dash-cam users, which will result in an average initial saving of £33 – about half the price of an entry-level device.

Dash-cams in action

Although having each and every journey recorded may seem a bit ‘Big Brother’, there’s no doubt dash-cams, along with telematics technology, can be a great weapon in the war against insurance fraud. And if you’re still unsure as to how effective dashcams can be, here’s some footage captured by them, predominantly in Russia where their use is most widespread…

Driver plunges into lake

(and remains remarkably calm)

Two children hit by car

(thankfully, the kids aren’t injured, but this video’s still pretty intense!)

Russian meteor explosion

(from various angles, so widespread is dash-cam use in Russia)

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