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Is it worth getting a dash cam

Dash cams have long been popular in Russia - where road scams are ever prevalent – but it looks like they are starting to take off over here too. In fact, consumer research company GFK has reported that dash cam sales have increased by 918% in the last year.

But what does this technology have to offer the UK? Aren’t our roads scam free? And will they even affect insurance premiums? Let’s find out…

What are they?

They are a fixed lens digital camera and microphone that record footage and sound to a media card. The unit is typical mounted on the dashboard with a suction cup. They get power from either your standard 12 volt plug (cigarette lighter), or by being directly wired to an accessory circuit.

So, a standard video camera, then? Not quite. A GoPro would save your journey in one long file. But that file could get corrupted, or the memory card could run out before you reach your destination. This is where the beauty of dash cams lies. They make sure that you never miss an accident by chopping the recordings up into small chunks. When the memory card gets full, it simply deletes the oldest file, thus making room for a new file. This means it can constantly record and never run out of space.

Plenty of dash cams on the market also allow you to lock and protect certain files, so that you can review them. Some even do this automatically if they detect a sudden change in speed, e.g. an accident or emergency stop. Pretty nifty!

How much do they cost?

As with most technology, you can pay a little or a lot. You could pick up a budget model for around £20 or splash out on a £300 version with all the mod cons; it depends on what you want. Make sure whichever model you opt for records a decent quality in all weather conditions. Blurry footage is unlikely to be accepted as evidence.

What’s the point?

It’s all well and good in Russia where crash for cash incidents are ten a penny, but is there any point in good old blighty? You might be surprised to learn around 30,000 such incidents happen on UK roads every year, according to the Insurance Fraud Bureau. This costs insurers around £350 million and pushes the average premium up by around £44.

Late last year Aviva reported that organised car fraud was already 21% higher in 2014 than in the whole of 2013. They reported that over 50% of fraudulent motor injury claims were being made by organised gangs. These well organised scams could be adding up to £100 to annual premiums, according to the Metropolitan Police.

So, as you can see, protecting yourself from such scams would be beneficial. But will a dash cam help?

Is a dash cam the answer?

Dash cams record any accidents and can help determine who is at fault. They provide peace of mind for many, so if that is important to you, we think it could be a wise investment. Do remember that if the police get involved and somebody has been inured they have the right to seize your footage and use it as evidence.

As well as offering peace of mind and evidence should an accident occur, you may also benefit from cheaper premium costs. For example, Swiftcover offer up to 12.5% if you install their recommended model. 

published: 28/04/2015 10:16:56

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