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Dash cams: Are they worth it?

You have probably seen jaw-dropping footage of collisions, near misses, bad driving, or road rage captured by dashboard cameras (or dash cams) circulating online. However, for 10% of Canadian drivers with dash cams installed in their vehicles, they are more than just nifty gadgets to record driving fails1. While insurance providers generally do not offer discounts for drivers with dash cams, they can help you avoid insurance rate increases by providing indisputable evidence. Here is what you need to know if you are considering investing in a dash cam.

What is a dash cam?

This device monitors what happens around your vehicle. It is mounted in the front of the vehicle, commonly on the dashboard, to record widescreen footage. Not all models offer a 360-degree view – there are options to record in more than one direction with front, rear, and side cameras. Some models include other safety features like automatic motion detection, lane-change and collision notifications, integrated GPS, and wide-angle lenses. Obviously, the price depends on the features, but dash cams can range from $50 to $500.

Dash cams are legal in Canada, but it is always advisable to confirm where you live. Roads and highways are considered public property, so it is legal to film. Keep in mind that your view should never be obstructed, and your dash cam cannot block your windshield.

What are the benefits of a dash cam?

Added security
Dash cams are synced to your ignition and turn on and off with your vehicle. Some devices are equipped to run all the time or can be programmed to record while parked (also known as parking mode) or when they sense motion. These settings can benefit your case in a theft, vandalism, or hit-and-run situation.

Smoother claims process
An at-fault collision can increase your insurance premium. Even if both drivers claim no fault, you could be partly liable for someone else’s reckless driving. If you have a dash cam, you can use unbiased footage to help determine who was indeed at fault.

Dispute traffic tickets
Receiving a ticket for a traffic violation can increase your insurance premium, especially considering the severity of the violation and if you already have other violations on your record. Your dash cam footage could help you dispute a ticket if it was issued in error and remove it from your record – avoiding a fine and an increase in your premium.

Catch incidents of fraud
Incidents of fraud, like staged accidents by other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, are an unfortunate reality. Dash cams can protect you from being a victim of fraud by revealing the true story of what happened. Not only will you avoid adding anything to your record, but catching the fraudster in their lie could help others and reduce the overall number of fraudulent claims.

Improve your driving
Whether you are a new driver still learning to drive or a seasoned driver with years of experience, there is always room for improvement. By reviewing your dash cam footage, you can identify skills you need to improve and understand how you can do better in the future. Remember, it pays to be a safe driver. Many insurance providers will offer discounts for drivers with a clean driving record and no traffic violations in the last three years.

What are the drawbacks of a dash cam?

While there are many pros to installing a dash cam, there are a couple of cons to consider. Firstly, dash cams can be distracting – 1 in 5 road fatalities is caused by distracted driving1. To avoid this, it is highly recommended to mount your dash cam on top of your dashboard. Secondly, dash cams increase your risk of theft. Any technology left in plain sight in your unattended vehicle is tempting for thieves. Alternatively, you can purchase a model with parking mode that records when your vehicle is off.

If you are thinking of installing a dash cam and have more questions about your existing coverage, speak with an OTIP insurance broker at 1-833-494-0089. If you want a quote for auto insurance, call 1-833-615-9326 today.

  1. ThinkInsure

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