Does a dash cam reduce your car insurance? The answer isn’t always ‘yes’, but more insurance companies are starting to give better deals to drivers with dash cams.
And even if you don’t secure a dash cam discount, having a camera rolling could help you prove your innocence if you’re involved in an accident - so it’s definitely something to consider.
Dash cams are ‘dashboard cameras’ attached to the front interior of your car. They record what’s happening on the road while you drive, with the best dash cams also tracking GPS location. There are loads of makes and models on the market, from cheap and basic to high tech and expensive.
Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular with UK drivers, with one survey suggesting one-in-five people have one, and another 30% plan on getting one soon. That means nearly half of all UK drivers could have a dash cam in the next few years.
Whichever spec you choose, you’ll need to decide between a solely front-filming model (these are the most common), or a version which also films the rear. These are more expensive and usually need to be fitted professionally, but they have the added advantage of capturing incidents from behind, instead of just on the road in front of you.
A lot of dash cams are simple enough to install yourself, plugging straight into your car’s power source on the front console. That means you don’t have to remember to charge them or turn them on every time you start your car.
More and more cars – especially higher-end models – are starting to come with built-in dash cams.
Most insurance companies welcome dash cam footage to help settle claims. This is probably the main benefit to having one: if you’re an innocent driver caught in an accident, dash cam footage could help you.
It could also help prevent you from being a victim of insurance fraud. If someone causes an accident and denies it, or tries to carry out a ‘crash for cash’ scam (in other words, a staged accident), you have video footage showing what really happened.
Be warned, though. Lots of insurance companies have strict rules about what dash cam footage they’ll accept. Some only consider footage if the camera has been installed by a professional. Others go even further and insist that it’s done by one of their preferred suppliers.
Some insurance companies have started giving drivers a dash cam insurance discount. Most dash cam discounts range between 10 and 15%. Some insurers offer up to 30% off, but only when you buy a specific make of dash cam.
Having a dash cam means you’re happy to have your driving filmed – and this makes you less risky in the eyes of many insurers. That can translate into cheaper car insurance in some cases.
A lot of insurance companies, however, don’t yet offer a standard discount for dash cams and prefer to negotiate on a case-by-case basis - so make sure you shop around.
Prices can range from as much as £2,000 for a high spec front and rear filming system, to as little as £20 for a basic front filming option.
Beware of the cheapest makes, however, as they can produce grainy, low-quality footage that some insurance companies might not accept as part of any insurance claim.
You also want to make sure the dash cam you buy has good night vision for recording in low light. A wide-angle lens is also important, so you can film as much of the road as possible
You don’t need to spend anywhere near £2,000 to get a good quality dash cam. There are great options in the £100 to £200 range.
A popular option is the Nextbase 332GW front-facing dash cam with wide angle lens, night vision, GPS and Bluetooth, for just over £100. It was rated as a Which? Best Buy in 2019. Nextbase also offers a slightly cheaper model for around £80.
A reasonably priced and popular front and rear-filming option is the ThiEYE Carview3. This comes with a few different options for rear installation and some nice extras like a parking monitor and reversing aid system, all for around £150.
If size is a concern, Garmin does a mini key-sized dash cam with HD recording and wide-angle lens for under £100. This also has a nice feature that automatically stores footage whenever its G sensor detects you’ve been in an accident.
Don’t be tempted to save money by using your mobile phone or GoPro camera in place of a proper dash cam. Not only can these pose a safety hazard while driving, but many insurance companies won’t accept this kind of footage.
There are a few small risks to consider.
Having a dash cam could put you at greater risk of a break-in as thieves might want to steal it.
If it isn’t installed properly, it could also be a dangerous distraction while driving. Make sure your dash cam is attached securely to your windscreen behind the rear-view mirror, so you – and the camera – have a clear view of the road. The power cable must be neatly tucked out of the way and fastened down, too.
Some people don’t feel comfortable about dash cams simply because they see the constant filming as an invasion of their privacy. That comes down to personal choice.
If your main reason for getting a dash cam is to pay less for insurance, you could be disappointed. Not all insurance companies offer dash cam discounts, so you should first check with your provider before you go out and buy one.
If you’re a young driver with high insurance costs, however, it may be worth looking into.
Above all, however, having a dash cam can give you peace of mind that all road incidents and accidents will be recorded - and that alone might make it worth the investment.