Dash Cameras – Focussed on reducing crime or hyped-up gadget?
By Melanie Wooding Jones – Redbourn Auto Solutions, caring for you and your car
In-car cameras recording everything seem to be the way forward for unequivocal evidence for insurance claims or claims identifying dangerous drivers or scams.
So, is this gadget the latest must have, or something we can all live without?
Are they legal?
The short answer is yes! Dash cams, helmet cams and bike cams are all considered legal on UK roads. They are easy to fit with no special permissions to be sought and some may see them as a necessity in litigation when disputes arise.
However, drivers should exercise caution when using them abroad as some countries still view them as a significant invasion of privacy.
If the car is not solely for your own personal use, then you need to make others aware that a dash cam has been fitted ie, taxi drivers, car sharing, company cars, driving instructors, etc.
Dash cam footage is recognised and regularly used through the UK justice system. They have even been used to report pot holes and help get a parking fine refunded.
Does it affect my insurance premium?
It makes sense that if a piece of equipment can identify culpability and resolve disputes swiftly, then an insurer will support their usage!
Many of the large insurers offer 10-20% discount dependent on the insurer and model you install. Understandably, they will ensure you are using them properly. They may insist on professional fitting, recording every journey and be able to provide footage whenever a request is made.
It can even improve your driving! Because of the continual monitoring, drivers become more conscious of any adverse habits they have inadvertently obtained and adjust their driving accordingly.
What are the downsides?
Whilst it is easy to focus on capturing others mishaps, it is also recording your own mishaps, so it can also work against you. They can also be considered an obstruction in the windscreen, so need to be placed sensibly and lawfully.
Insurers are well known for avoiding payment where they can, so if any of their stipulations have been breached, don’t expect a pay out!
Which Dash Cam?
If, on balance, you have decided that a dash cam is a good idea, you’ll be left with a wide selection, so how do you choose the right one for you?
The first thing to consider is how much of the vehicle you want to protect…
- Front Facing
These are the most common forms of dash cam as they are affordable and easy to install. The majority will fix straight into your 12v socket and record the view ahead.
- Dual Facing – front and rear
These will record what happens in front and behind you, but is usually more complex to fit the two lenses into the front and rear. Some need professional fitting and likely to be more expensive than a single lens.
The next most important thing to consider is the quality of the picture followed by the additional capabilities that will personalise the system to your needs:
- Video Capture
Dash cams vary in the quality of how detailed and clear the picture is. Purchase the wrong one and the footage may not be good enough to determine exactly what happened. Look for one with a high resolution (1,920×1,080 pixels as a minimum).
Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/dash-cams/article/top-dash-cams – Which?
- Night time recording
If you conduct a lot of night time driving, it is worth ensuring the camera is good during more difficult visual conditions.
This will help you track your route, where you are and how fast you are travelling. Invaluable information in determining what happened in a crash.
- Anti-Glare polarising filter
This helps reduce windscreen reflections and headlight glare.
- G Force sensor
Dash cams record on a continuous loop, which means when the SD card is full, they record over previous footage. A G-force sensor measures the crash impact and protects the footage automatically.
- Wi-Fi connectivity
Will enable you to download your footage onto an alternative storage.
- Parking mode
This will automatically record if your car is subjected to a collision. Useful for identifying cause of parking bumps and scratches.
- SD Cards
Most of the cameras will come with one, but double check and purchase one that is compatible and recommended by the manufacturer. There is little point spending out on a quality camera for the footage to be stored on inferior storage.
Can it be fitted yourself and if you would prefer the wires to be stored neatly away, it may require more caballing, so look for one with a range to suit your vehicle.
Some allow connectivity via an app to your smart phone or directly via wi-fi to your device allowing for easier review. Some also allow you to see in real time.
Some insurers insist on certain brands, with the majority featuring (and some insisting on) Nextbase as their favoured brand. The consumer organisation, Which?, rigorously test products and their recommendations are highly regarded. It is no surprise that their in-depth findings concur with the insurance companies. No matter which top recommendations you review – The Independent, AutoExpress or TechAdvisor, Nextbase seems to always comes out on top.
Identify the camera that best suits your needs and do your homework to find the best deal for your pocket.
So, would you want one?
The evidence is resoundingly compelling!
It reduces your insurance: According to the Association of British Insurers, the average car insurance premium for comprehensive cover is £485 (Jan 2018). Apply a discount of 10-20% and you could save £48.00-96.00, dependent on your premium.
It’s the eyes and ears of the law: It supports justice whether a parking fine, motoring offence, dangerous driving, cash for crash scams or submitting pot hole claims!
Cost: It doesn’t have to be expensive, and the more technology improves, the more affordable it will become.
So, if you have the funds to put one on your dashboard and have the confidence in your own driving, then why not consider one.