Many motorists are now investing in dashboard cameras to better protect themselves from scams. The machines could soon become an even more common sight on UK roads as vehicle insurers have begun offering a discount to those who use them.
British insurer, Swiftcover.com, claims it's customers will benefit from an initial saving of 10% at £33 a year, with further money to be saved if the footage captured helps prove the driver was not responsible in the case of a collision. Younger drivers are particularly likely to benefit from insurance discounts, with Swiftcover.com claiming that a 20 year-old student from Buckinghamshire could save around £94 with a camera installed. A 67 year-old retiree from Kent would save a more modest £18.
Drivers would have to purchase and install their own dashboard camera, which typically range from £20 to £300. However, the potential saving of hundreds of pounds by avoiding an excess penalty and loss of no claims bonus, makes it an appealing proposition.
Dashboard cameras are a particularly popular fixture in cars abroad, particularly in Russia, with dashboard cameras now becoming popular in the UK due to drivers wanting to protect themselves from dangerous drivers and the menace of 'crash for cash' scams. Footage from the devices have been used not only to prove that they were innocent in the case of an accident but also brought numerous convictions against dangerous drivers by using the video recordings as evidence.
The 'crash for cash' scam involves one car carrying multiple passengers that brakes suddenly to cause the car behind to collide. The passengers in the front vehicle then claim for whiplash injuries. A new "flash for cash" scam involves motorists flashing their lights to let another car out of a junction and then driving into them.
Roman Bryl, product manager at Swiftcover.com, commented, “We believe that by using a dash-cam and being able to accurately and quickly establish who was at fault, we will save money and therefore motorists will significantly benefit from lower premiums and more responsible driving.”
Drivers looking to save further cash on their car insurance may also consider so-called 'black box' insurance schemes, which use telematics devices to monitor a motorist's driving behaviour, with discounts awarded for safe driving.
RAC Insurance director, Kerry Michael, commented, “Our research shows more than a third of motorists are considering fitting a dashboard-mounted accident camera in their vehicles due to the UK’s burgeoning ‘crash for cash’ culture. As long as they are used correctly they are a valuable record of the circumstances that occurred around an accident and as such can help to reduce the cost of personal injury claims which, in turn, will ultimately reduce the cost of insurance. Used in conjunction with a telematics ‘black box’ to gain a very accurate information of driver behaviour they can also help customers and insurers to deal with claims more quickly which is good for everybody.”
The RAC also plans to launch it's own dashboard camera in June and plans to offer telematic 'black boxes' that connect to a mobile app to their 2million members to record their driving behaviour.