A dash cam, as the name suggests, is a camera mounted in a vehicle with the purpose of recording all events in its view, from a high-speed crash to a fraudulent pedestrian looking for a fake insurance claim; you’ll be sure to have hard evidence to get the facts straight.
But with all this being said, is it worth the expense, and are there any drawbacks of dash cam ownership?
Are Dash Cams Worth It? 5 Benefits – Explained
The big plus with good quality dash cams, such as a Proof dash cam, can act as a silent witness of accidents and break-ins. In jurisdictions where dash cams are permitted, a good high-quality video and audio recording of an accident or event can record with great accuracy the full details of whatever took place. Other benefits could include, but not be limited to;
- First-hand evidence of a collision or road rage incident and assist in proving fault. A dash cam can be a lifesaver in some instances, providing proof positive of who is to blame in a road incident
- Can help law enforcement in car-crash fraud.
- Help contest traffic violations such as speeding tickets or wildlife near collisions that can cause car damage when swerving to avoid.
- A dash cam can protect against false accusations involving a road rage incident, drunk drivers, and insurance fraud.
With today’s high cost of auto insurance, dash cam footage can provide sufficient evidence that proves innocence in the event of a traffic infraction where there are no witnesses. This fact alone can be a money saver and can more than offset the cost of a good, high-quality unit.
Having a dash cam installed in your vehicle is not a substitute for auto insurance on your vehicle; however, it can provide a higher degree of peace of mind in the event there is a disagreement over the cause of an accident, including fraudulent crashes.
Dash cam videos are still a bit of a grey area when it comes to evidence in proving or disproving blame in the event of a traffic accident in a court of law. However, when it comes down to apportioning blame to support an insurance claim, you could be proven the innocent party with video footage from your dash cam.
Insurance companies mostly regard photos of an accident as good evidence, but how useful video footage is can depend on the quality of the footage and the expertise of the insurance adjuster reviewing your claim, whether he or she has background experience in analyzing video footage. Remember, a dash cam is not 100% proof of guilt or innocence. That is up to the analysis of the insurance adjuster.
Some Drawbacks of a Dash Cam
Dash cams can act as a distraction for some drivers, generally younger, less experienced drivers. Usually, this involves fiddling with the camera while driving and not paying 100 percent attention to the road ahead. This is dangerous and can lead to an accident.
The use of a dash cam is still over-regulated in the USA, with a number of states still banning having a dash cam on a windshield mount.
Depending on the jurisdiction, not all dash cam videos may be accepted by a court.
While a dash cam can be used to challenge a traffic infraction, such as a speeding ticket, it can also be used by officialdom as evidence of a traffic violation.
If your dash cam footage does show you were not to blame in an accident, for example, it’s not a guarantee that it would be admitted into court to support your innocence.
Why get a Dash Cam?
A dash cam brand such as Proof Dash Cam provides front and rear view cameras with full HD video footage and real-time alert notification with Impact notification technology
Usually, your dash cam is powered by your vehicle’s ignition system. In this way, it turns on and records everything in its line of sight when the vehicle is started and turns off when the vehicle is shut down. However, a driver can turn the dash cam off when required.
Most dash cams can be wired and programmed to be active 24/7, therefore powered from the fuse panel independent of the ignition system. This is an advantage in the case of a vehicle break-in and enter, vandalism, and hit and run with the dash cam being activated by a motion detector. This type of hook-up to your vehicle’s electrical system can help identify a possible suspect or capture a license plate and vehicle details in a hit-and-run when the vehicle is parked. The addition of continuous dash cam loop recording features ensures that whatever incident occurs, it’ll be captured by the dash cam whenever it happens, regardless of whether the SD card is full.
If you are on a tight budget, the cost of a dash cam may be off-putting if you are in the habit of purchasing top-of-line products. There are cheaper units on the market, but cheaper may mean unreliable, and when you need this vital footage, you don’t want it to be unreliable.
A dash cam is not just a camera that records the road ahead of your vehicle. More sophisticated models, such as the Proof brand dash cam, have additional features such as wide-angle lenses, collision and lane-change advisories, and motion detection systems, as well as a built-in GPS function.
Your dash cam can also be a part of the family entertainment system by recording road trips, unexpected wildlife encounters, and weather phenomena such as hailstorms, lightning, and rainbows.
Just like your cell phone, your dash cam has to be hands-free. Like a mobile phone, it is illegal for a driver to handle, adjust or play around with a dash cam in most jurisdictions.
For this reason, it is a good idea to have your dash cam installed behind the rearview mirror to avoid the temptation of interacting with it. Or, have it installed on the passenger side of your dashboard, out of hand’s reach.
Summarizing Dash Cam Benefits
Insurance companies in countries such as South Korea, Russia, the UK, and some other countries have begun providing discounts on insurance rates for vehicle owners who install a dash cam.
This is not happening yet in North America, but it has been a subject of discussion amongst some insurance companies that provide auto insurance coverage.
As technology in dash cams becomes more sophisticated and jurisdictions loosen up on restrictions and costs come down, coupled with insurance company discounts, dash cams will become more mainstream with the added advantage of perhaps becoming more permissible for use in settling accident claims.
A dash cam can provide police with evidence for tracking down hit-and-run accident perpetrators and positive proof of someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as;
- Exposing fraudulent care crash insurance claims
- Recording the interesting portions of a vacation road trip
- Car theft deterrent
- A dash cam recording to contest a speeding ticket or some other traffic violation
Also, dash cams that come with a wide-angle view can provide evidence of video footage of cyclists, pedestrians, and E-scooter or E-bike riders riding in a manner that could endanger others.
Finally, when you break down the pros and cons of purchasing and installing a dash cam, the pros far outweigh the cons.