Does a dash cam reduce your car insurance?

Installing a dash cam could prove you weren't to blame in an insurance claim, and could have other benefits too.

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Around a quarter of UK drivers have a dash cam installed in their vehicle. If you’ve been thinking of getting one, a question you may have is whether a dash cam can reduce your car insurance premiums. In this guide, we give the low down on the insurance and other benefits of installing a dash cam, as well as the things you need to consider before shelling out.

What is a dash cam?

Dash cam is short for “dashboard camera”. A dash cam is a video camera that’s mounted in your car to record the area around your car – in particular the road in front of your car as you’re driving.

The footage that dash cams capture can be particularly valuable when it comes to making an insurance claim. It can help to prove who was at fault in an accident, for example. Dash cams can also be of use in police crime investigations, for example by helping to identify dangerous drivers.

How do dash cams work?

You can get 2 main types of dash cam:

  • Front-facing dash cams. These are fitted to the front windscreen and record the road ahead.
  • Front-and-rear dash cams. As well as the front-facing camera, these also have a camera that faces the other way, to record the road behind your car. Some rear dash cams can also record the interior of a vehicle; these are more commonly used by professional drivers, such as taxi drivers.

The footage from a dash cam is usually recorded onto a memory card, which can be removed so that the recordings can be transferred to your computer (and submitted to your insurer or the police if necessary). When the memory card is full, most dash cams will automatically overwrite the oldest data with newer footage. So you don’t need to worry about your dash cam stopping working.

In some cases, rather than a memory card the dash cam will transmit data to a cloud server.

How much do dash cams cost?

How long is a piece of string? You can get basic dash cams for as little as £20 or £30. If you go for this option, expect extremely stripped-back features. The highest-end dash cams, that come with all the bells and whistles you could hope for, could set you back more than £500.

Regardless of the price point you go for, check reviews of dash cams before you buy to make sure the quality of the footage is up to scratch. There’s no point in investing even a modest sum in a dash cam that produces footage that’s too blurred or grainy to be of much use in a claim.

Can installing a dash cam get me a discount on my car insurance?

There’s an argument that having a dash cam in your car will encourage you to drive more safely. After all, if your car is able to record evidence of who is at fault in a crash, you’re going to want to take extra precautions to make sure that it isn’t you.

And, presumably, the evidence that car insurance pen-pushers have at their disposal backs this theory up. Many providers will ask if you have a dash cam installed when you run quotes with them. If you do, you might find it shaves some money off your quoted premium.

Which car insurers offer dash cam discounts?

The number of insurers that offer dash cam discounts, and how much discount you’ll get, is changing all the time. And, more to the point, just because an insurer offers a dash cam discount won’t necessarily make them better value for your circumstances than an insurer with no dash cam discount.

So, rather than attempting to list insurers that offer a discount here, we recommend you use a price comparison site to find the best deal for you whether you have a dash cam or not. If you’re curious to see if and how much difference a dash cam could make to your premiums, simply do what we did in our example, below, and run the search twice; once with, and once without, a dash cam.

How much can having a dash cam save on my car insurance?

As with pretty much every factor that affects how car insurance is calculated, the amount you can save by having a dash cam installed will vary.

To give you an indication, we used a popular price comparison site to run quotes for a fictional driver, Alex, with and without a dash cam. 31-year-old teacher Alex lives in south London and drives a Vauxhall Corsa, putting in annual mileage of around 5,000 miles.

Without a dash cam, the average of Alex’s top 5 cheapest quotes was £1,009. With a dash cam, it was £976. The 1-year saving (£33) wouldn’t be enough to buy Alex a top-end dash cam, but it could be enough to cover the cost of a more basic model.

What are the other benefits of getting a dash cam?

As well as potentially bringing down your insurance premiums, there are a number of other benefits to installing a dash cam. These include:

  • Having a dash cam in your car helps prove who was a fault if you are involved in an accident. Assuming you were not at fault, this could protect your no claims discount. Without this evidence, and if the other driver does not admit liability, the incident could be ruled a 50/50 (or “knock-for-knock”) decision. In this case, you would be held partially at fault, which would affect your no-claims bonus unless you have paid to protect it.
  • Providing dash cam evidence can speed up how long a claim takes to be settled.
  • It helps minimise the risk of you falling foul of a type of scam known as “crash-for-cash claims”. This is where fraudsters deliberately cause accidents, and then try to claim an insurance pay-out for “injuries” they say they’ve sustained.
  • Some dash cams have sensors that detect motion while your car is stationary and trigger the camera to start recording. This gives you a better chance of catching someone trying to break in, or scraping your parked car.
  • If your dash cam has a GPS tracker built in, this can help emergency services find you if you have an accident.

Are there any downsides to getting a dash cam?

There are a few things to be aware of if you’re thinking about buying a dash cam, other than the obvious downside of the cost of buying one.

If you have a high-end model, it could in itself attract thieves if left on display. So you will need to weigh this up against the potential benefits of it filming any attempted car break-ins (if it has this functionality).

You’ll also need to be careful about exactly how and where it’s installed. A badly-placed dash cam could obstruct your view when driving. Blinds spots can increase your risk of accidents, and a significant windscreen obstruction is a driving offence.

Last but not least, if you tell an insurer you have a dash cam, you are likely to be required to submit footage if you’re involved in an accident. This will obviously work in your favour if it proves you weren’t at fault in an incident. But if you were driving sloppily, it could also prove the opposite.

How are dash cams used in car insurance claims?

Danny Butler

Finder insurance expert Danny Butler answers

Insurers can use dash cam footage to help them work out who is at fault in a claim where two or more drivers are involved. It’s pretty common following an accident for nobody to admit liability. And, particularly if there were no independent witnesses, it isn’t always possible to prove who was actually at fault. It’s simply one person’s word against the other. In such instances, claims will often be settled on a 50/50 basis. This means that, officially (even if you disagree in reality), both parties are attributed part of the blame, and their two insurers share the cost of putting things right. You’ll need to pay an excess towards the cost of the claim, and it could affect your no-claims bonus.

If you are confident that you weren’t in the wrong, this can be galling. Clear footage from a dash can can provide evidence that proves conclusively who was to blame for an accident. If it shows the other driver was at fault, their insurer will have to pay out for both claims. You won’t have to pay an excess, and your no claims bonus shouldn’t be affected.

Bear in mind when choosing and positioning a dash cam that the footage quality needs to be good enough quality to clearly show details of the incident. Ideally it should show the other car’s number plate.

How do I send my insurer dash cam evidence to support my claim?

The first thing you’ll usually need to do is transfer the footage from your dash cam to your computer. The instructions for your particular model of dash cam will explain how to do this.

The method of then sending dash cam footage may vary between insurers. Many will provide a link to their website to upload the footage, along with any other evidence. Others might accept footage via email (you may need to edit the video to the clip that shows the incident, in order to keep the file size down), or even on a memory stick by post.

If you want to send footage to the police, you can use the National Dash Cam Safety Portal, a website set up by dash cam manufacturer Nextbase. This lets you upload footage from any brand of dash cam directly to the relevant police force.

What other ways are there to save on my car insurance?

  • Tweak your excess. Your excess is the amount you need to pay towards any claim. Opting for a higher voluntary excess can cut your premium. Just don’t set it so high that you can’t afford to pay it if you need to claim.
  • Avoid paying monthly. Paying the full year up front, if you can, will avoid the interest that most insurers apply to monthly instalment payments.
  • Add an experienced named driver. Adding a lower-risk, experienced named driver to your policy could cut insurance costs, especially if you’re a young, inexperienced driver.
  • Maintain your no-claims discount. Every year that you drive safely and avoid needing to claim will increase the no-claims discount on the following year’s premiums.
  • Avoid cosmetic modifications. A bespoke paint job or a pumped up engine is likely to drive premiums up.
  • Consider telematics insurance. This uses a small device – a “black box” – installed in your car to track your driving habits. If you drive carefully, this should result in lower premiums.
  • Compare insurance prices annually. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Always shop around rather than just renewing with the same insurer. Even if you decide to stick with the same insurer, you can try using your research to haggle for a better deal.

Pros and cons of getting a dash cam

Pros

  • May get you a discount on your car insurance premiums
  • Can provide evidence that you weren’t at fault in a car insurance claim
  • Can speed up how long it takes for a claim to be settled.

Cons

  • Not all car insurers offer dash cam discounts
  • A poorly-fitted dash cam could risk obstructing your view
  • If you were at fault in an incident, you’ll still have to submit the dash cam footage to your insurer.

Bottom line

Installing a dash cam could get you a car insurance discount with many insurers. Over a few years, depending on the discount and the cost of the model you buy, this alone could justify the up-front cost. Just as importantly, a dash cam could capture vital evidence to prove that you weren’t at fault in an incident. If you’re a good, careful driver, this could be an invaluable asset. Just bear in mind that if you’ve told your insurer you have a dash cam you’ll likely be required to submit footage even if you were to blame.

Frequently asked questions

*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (Mar ’24). 51% of car insurance customers could save £539.54
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Ceri Stanaway is a researcher, writer and editor with more than 15 years’ experience, including a long stint at independent publisher Which?. She’s helped people find the best products and services, and avoid the pitfalls, across topics ranging from broadband to insurance. Outside of work, you can often find her sampling the fares in local cafes. See full bio

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