Should I have a dashboard camera fitted in my lease car?
Dashboard cameras, otherwise known as Dash Cams are wired into your car. They are front facing through the windscreen. Designed to start recording as soon as the engine is started. Clever stuff. Dash cams have an inbuilt memory and record on a continuous loop so all of your driving is recorded. They are designed to prove what happens during a car accident and to enable the insurance companies to prove who is at fault. The rise in popularity of the dash cam has been attributed to the increase in insurance scams in the UK. In fact, figures from market research company GFK show that dashcam sales have increased by 918% over the last 12 months. In this article, we look at the perks and drawbacks of a dashboard camera. We’ll also look to answer the question ‘Should I have a dashboard camera fitted in my lease car?’
A likely story
An article in The Guardian tells the story of Samantha Dunne whose car was hit when she was driving on a roundabout. It details how Samantha struggled to prove that she was not at fault which led to a lengthy claim process that saw her thousands of pounds out of pocket. Samantha tells The Guardian
“I had to pay the excess on the policy, buy a new car as my own was written off in the accident and I lost my nine-year no-claims bonus, which meant a hike in premiums,”.
The story goes on to say that Samantha was determined not to find herself in the same position again so she decided to take steps to protect herself by deciding to buy a dashboard camera. Samantha said
“I bought a dashboard camera so that I could provide video footage if I was unlucky enough to have another accident. I wanted to be certain I could prove who was at fault and avoid another lengthy claim process.”
We can all sympathise with Samantha here and it’s easy to see why Dash-Cams have risen in popularity. It’s a driver’s worst nightmare to be involved in an accident that is not your fault and to not be compensated for your financial or medical losses.
What insurance scams are on the increase?
The driving force behind the increase in dash cam sales are the nicknamed “crash for cash” scams. This could be someone tampering with and disabling their own breaks. Or it could be malicious acts such as flashing another road user out of a side road and then crashing into them. Equally, staged accidents and false witnesses are all being used to scam insurance companies.
Why is this a problem?
Aviva, the insurance company reported in 2014 that organised fraud had increased by 21% on the previous year. It also noted that fraudulent gangs accounted for 50% of their fraudulent claims. This is a big problem for honest motorists as the London Metropolitan Police claim that these scammers could be increasing our insurance premiums by around £50-£100 per year!
Cue the dash cam. The most conclusive way to prove who is at fault during a car accident.
Are there any other reasons I should fit a dash cam on my lease car?
Yes, definitely! Some insurance companies will give you a decent discount (anywhere from 10% to 15%) on your annual premium if you install one of their approved dash cams. You may be able to get similar savings by shopping around but this is a sure fire way to secure some money off.
Which dash cam should I choose?
Basic models of dash cam have a simple lens mounted onto the front windscreen which records the road ahead. This is good enough for front impact accidents. For a more comprehensive overview of your vehicle, multiple lens models record from a front and rear camera at the same time. Monitoring the road ahead and behind.
When choosing a dash cam the most important consideration should be on image quality. There is no point having one installed if the footage isn’t clear enough to use as proof. Next on the list should be the SD memory card capacity.
If you’re looking to purchase a dash cam that’s a bit above the basics, it’s worth finding one that includes GPS functionality to pinpoint locations and a G-Force sensor. The G-Force sensor detects excessive and unexpected force. Monitoring a collision or sudden braking to guarantee that the footage is recorded and saved to the camera in a secure way.
Are there any disadvantages to having a dash cam?
While dash cams are completely legal. There have been some questions surrounding people’s legal privacy. While in public there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the eyes of the law. However, if your dash cam records audio you would be legally required to inform your passengers at the start of your trip.
Some of the better dash cam units can be costly. Anything upward of £130 for the more expensive versions.
Other than that, we can’t see any downsides to protecting yourself and your lease car with a dash cam.
Are there any other pros to having a dash cam?
Well, a final pro is that your dash cam will record any scenic journeys which you can watch back and enjoy. Not only that, a funny pedestrian video could be the next YouTube viral video. Some dash cams link to your smartphone. This allows you to download your videos and manage them on the go. You’ll also have the peace of mind of knowing that if you are involved in an accident you will be able to evidence your innocence.
A few dash cams to choose from
Here are some of the best dash cams on the market today.
The Nextbase 512G:
An excellent all-rounder the Nextbase 512G records in 1080p crisp video recording 30 frames per second. The camera boasts a wide dynamic range which records sharp footage of night-time driving too. The Nextbase really has thought of everything down to the finer details of an integrated anti-glare filter which reduces windscreen glare. Costing £130 it’s not a budget dash cam but offers excellent value for money and really does the job well.
Garmin dash cam 55:
The SatNav giant Garmin has developed a good value dash cam with stunning video quality. You can quickly sync videos to your smartphone via Wi-Fi using the Garmin app. Not only that, the 3.7-megapixel camera allows you to take photos of the scene too. Very handy. Excellent premium features include lane departure and forward-collision warnings in the event that you swerve out of your lane or drive too closely to the car in front. Costing £150 we think it’s well worth the price tag.
We hope you’ve found this round up about dash cams useful. Anything that allows you to protect yourself and your lease car in the event of an accident can only be a positive thing. The insurance benefits of a dash cam speak for themselves.