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Dash cam car insurance

Will purchasing a dashboard camera save you money on your car insurance?

published: 10 November 2020
Read time: 5 minutes

Our guide explains the benefits of dash cams, how they can help when making a car insurance claim and whether having one can even lower your premiums

What is a dash cam?

A dash cam is an in-car camera that records audio and video footage of your journey. It provides a driver-eye view from the front – and sometimes rear – of your car.

They are becoming increasingly popular with drivers, and as such are becoming more affordable.

Some higher spec cars even have built-in dash cams. Manufacturers such as Tesla, BMW and Subaru have cameras that help with functions such as lane assisted driving and reversing, but these can also automatically record footage from an incident.

Man driving car with dash cam

What are the benefits of having a dash cam?

There are more benefits to having a dash cam than you might think.

  • Having proof of accidents. The footage can be used to show you were not at fault for an accident and quickly establish who caused the crash or bump, saving both time and money.

  • Saving money and protecting your no claims bonus. If you have the evidence on video, you can avoid paying the excess for an incident that wasn’t your fault, or it can be reimbursed later.  It can also mean protecting your no claims bonus, which often takes years to build up.

  • Helping uncover fraudulent claims. ‘Cash for crash’ cases are where another driver might instigate a collision and try to pin the blame on you. They have been on the rise for the past few years.

  • A reminder to drive more carefully. It means you’re likely to be kinder to your car and safer on the road, reducing the chances of an accident and an insurance claim. This is backed up by research from the RAC.

  • Allows you to forward footage to authorities. Aggrieved drivers can send video files to the relevant authorities through the National Dash Cam Safety Portal. This means you can take action against suspected dangerous drivers, even if they don’t stop to exchange details. Some individual police forces also have websites where you can upload footage.

  • GPS tracking. Location sensors within the dash cam will pinpoint where and when an accident took place, show your route and speed you were travelling. It can also help authorities find your vehicle if you break down or you’re involved in an accident.

  • Footage is stored. The recording will be on an SD card that can be downloaded to a computer for safekeeping. When the card is full, some dash cams will also automatically save moments of high G-force, such as the moment a collision took place.

  • Works even when parked. If your dash cam has a parking mode, it will automatically start recording if it senses a collision when you're parked.

  • Clear footage. If you have a 1080p screen, it’s equivalent to Full HD and will provide a clear, sharp picture.

Are dash cams legal in the UK?

Yes, as long as your camera does not block your view of the road, there are no rules preventing you having and using a dash cam in the UK.

Can dash cam footage be used in court in the UK?

Yes, dash cam footage can be used in court in the UK.

Am I entitled to a dash cam car insurance discount?

A handful of insurance providers such as Adrian Flux and MyFirstUK offer discounts on car insurance for those with dash cams.

But you need to look closely at the terms and conditions – and make sure you have an insurance-approved dash cam. For example, only certain types of dash cams qualify, or the discount may only apply for drivers under a certain age.

Many other insurers are yet to be persuaded that they should offer lower premiums, although they do point out the benefits of a dash cam for providing evidence to clear up claims.  

How easy is it to fit a dash cam?

Most dash cams are easy to fit. The simplest type works by having a rubber suction cup that you stick to your windscreen, with the dash cam powered through your car’s USB charger or cigarette lighter port.

It will then start recording when you turn the ignition on and stop when you turn it off. Higher range vehicles may have automatic dash cams already built-in or other cameras that effectively perform the same function.

Can I use dash cam footage to support my insurance claim?

Yes. It is increasingly common for insurers to accept dash cam footage to help provide evidence of what happened in an incident rather than relying on word of mouth from those involved.

How much do dash cams cost?

They don’t have to be expensive, but what you save in pounds you’ll probably lose in quality of the recording.

You can pick up a cheap dash cam for as little as £20, but the footage is likely to be inconsistent. A standard dash cam will probably start at around £50, but higher-end models can be towards £300 or even more.

It’s also worth checking what technology your car already has. If you have a modern vehicle with built-in cameras these may already be functioning as a de facto camera in case of an accident.

Are there any disadvantages in having a dash cam?

While there aren’t many disadvantages to having a dash cam, there are a couple of things to consider.

  • Distraction. Being incorrectly positioned on the windscreen or your dashboard a dash cam could create a small blind spot or just simply catch your eye to take your attention off the road.

  • Theft. Unless you hide the dash cam away after every journey, given its location on the dashboard it will be within line of sight for opportunist thieves.

  • Invasion of privacy. This is a contentious area as footage can be used in court and to help with insurance claims. But be wary of inflaming situations through social media. Others may not take kindly to having themselves and their driving posted all over the internet. It could also jeopardise a court case if evidence you want to rely on, you’ve first make public for others to comment.

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