Dashcams and car insurance

Know the benefits of having a dashcam even though insurers may not offer a car insurance discount.

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Most insurance companies don’t offer a discount for dashcams. But a camera could record the facts of an accident, saving you from a premium surcharge if you were deemed at-fault. Consider a telematics device instead if you’re going for a safe driver discount.

Do insurance companies offer a dashcam discount?

A dash camera is a small camera that connects to your 12V accessory socket and continuously records the surroundings of your vehicle. In an accident, you can hit the “save footage” button and transfer the file to your computer. Your car insurer and the police may use the footage to determine the timeline of events leading to a crash and to determine blame.

Many drivers have dashcams these days, but using them won’t necessarily get you an insurance discount. However, you could benefit from a dashcam in several ways:

  • Filing a claim. A camera might capture accident details that pinpoint who’s at-fault or the amount of damage caused. However, this may be less helpful in states with no-fault laws.
  • Proving fraud. You could provide visible proof of staged accidents, helping companies fight insurance fraud.
  • Avoiding rate hikes. If a dashcam proves your innocence for a claim, you could save yourself from an increase on your premium or losing your no-claims bonus.
  • Asking for a discount. While most insurers don’t advertise dashcam discounts, you could ask for one due to the added safety against fraud and theft.
  • Improving your driving: If you know you have a watchful eye over your driving at all times, it may cause you to drive in a more cautious and defensive manner. Studies have shown this to be true with similar telematics devices.
  • Keeping tabs on other drivers. If you have a teenager that uses your car, for example, a dash camera can provide a record to make sure they’re driving carefully.
  • Watching over your parked car. Some dash cameras have motion detection that enables them to record when your car is switched off.This way, if someone comes along and damages your car or unsuccessfully tries to break in, you’ll have footage of the event, including the person’s identity.

What is a telematics discount?

Telematics devices still provide proof of your driving habits, but insurance companies use them differently. For one, the device doesn’t gather video, rather it monitors your speed, mileage, braking and number of trips to give insurers more information about your driving.

Using a telematics device can lead to a personalized assessment of risk, plus suggestions for improving safety. Many companies also offer a safe driver discount just for signing up for the program. If you’re using a pay-as-you-go insurance, the device also helps you pay only for the miles you drive.

How much can I save with a dashcam discount?

While insurance companies don’t offer official dashcam discounts, you might save money if the camera proves you’re not at fault for an accident. A standard at-fault accident could increase your rate around 30%, and serious accidents where bodily injuries or DUIs are involved could hike a premium above 50%.

The US is lagging behind other countries where dashcams can net you discounts of 10% or more. No major car insurer offers discounts yet, but that could soon change. The popularity of telematics devices have increased in the past few years alone, and dashcams and their related discounts could be soon to follow.

Ask an expert: How can a dashcam save me money?

Farmers Insurance

Steve Pritchard

Founder of Cuuver.com, UK insurance website

These small cameras record incidents which occur on the road while you drive, which you can provide as evidence in the event of a crash you’re needing to claim on. So, if you haven’t already, invest in a dashcam.

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How do I submit dashcam footage?

Typically you can send a copy of the video recording to your insurer on a USB drive, CD or upload link. Keep the dashcam and the original video with you.

Which dashcam should I get?

The best dashcam in a claim would be one that records from multiple angles, or one dashcam in the front and one in the back. The most common crashes are rear-end and t-bone angles, where a standard dashcam may not capture the incident. For full coverage, it’s best to look at models with a 360-degree view or install multiple cameras.

Fancier models include multiple lenses, to give a view of the passenger cabin as well as through the windscreen. They may also have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity and 360 views.

When selecting a dashcam, look for models with GPS which stamp the speed, location and direction of travel on to the video file. Also, make sure you spend time looking at video samples on YouTube, both during the day and at night. Cameras with a wide dynamic range will be able to adapt to differing light levels to film usable footage. 4K cameras or those with a resolution of 1,080P HD provide the most detailed videos.

Don’t forget to grab a good quality SD card that is compatible with your dash camera. The higher the MB/s writing standard, the less likely the camera will drop critical frames and the higher the storage capacity, the more footage you can record. 4K is best for digital enlargement of licence plates.

You can get a dashcam from $30-50 for a basic model on up to $300 or more for a high-end camera.

Is a dashcam worth it?

A dashcam could save your skin after an accident, but not everyone will benefit from video monitoring. Factors to consider about getting a dashcam:

  • You may not get an insurance discount. You may not see savings on your premium from your insurance company.
  • You live in a no-fault state. Companies in no-fault states don’t investigate who’s at fault in an accident, making a dashcam less worthwhile.
  • You don’t drive that often. The less you drive, the less chance you’ll need proof of what happened in an accident.
  • You’re not guaranteed savings. You may not need proof if you’re not involved in an accident, and dashcams can range from $50 to $300.

Bottom line

Dashcams may prove your innocence after a car accident or fraudulent claim, but insurers don’t usually offer discounts for having one. Instead, you can shop multiple providers to see what other discounts you might qualify for.

Frequently asked questions about dashcam discounts

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