Dash cams are definitely not just novelty recording items. They are exceedingly valuable tools for drivers in several potentially stressful or dangerous situations.
Having reliable, high-resolution footage of all incidents that may occur on the road can be an absolute game-changer. Especially when filing an insurance claim, or dealing with other disgruntled motorists.
Relying on eyewitness testimonies to support your claim can be problematic. The memories of eyewitnesses are hardly ever 100% accurate or congruent with one another. A dash cam is the only failsafe way to ensure that you have hard evidence that backs up your claim or testimony.
Prevent Unfair Rate Increases
A frustrating side-effect of any road accident—minor or major—is the inevitable hike in car insurance premiums once the proverbial smoke has cleared.
Even if you’re involved in an incident that is entirely out of your control and you react safely and sensibly, your insurance company will probably raise your rates.
With a reliable dash cam, your defense against behavior like this is ironclad. If you can prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the accident was not because of negligence on your part, your insurance company will have a much harder time justifying a rate increase.
Back-Up Claims with Hard Evidence
Dealing with insurance claims can be a lengthy and time-consuming experience. Arriving at an indisputable conclusion often involves weeks, if not months, of waiting for insurance companies to compare and corroborate eyewitness accounts, patchy CCTV footage, and grainy mobile phone pictures.
Dash cam footage is far more reliable for several reasons.
First, a dash cam records in perpetuity, meaning that the footage will always capture the entirety of any incident from start to finish, with no gaps in between.
Second, dash cam footage is impartial. When dealing with contested insurance claims, eyewitnesses can easily alter their stories to absolve themselves, their friends, or loved ones from responsibility. This can make it much harder to arrive at an acceptable conclusion.
Third, dash cam footage is generally high quality. Without a dash cam, any footage of a motor vehicle incident is likely to come from nearby CCTV cameras or the mobile phone recordings of bystanders. There is no guarantee that footage of this kind will be high resolution, include audio, or capture the salient moments of the incident.
A high-quality dash cam helps you rest assured that any video evidence you submit will be clear and leave little room for interpretation.
Shield Against Insurance Fraud
Dash cam footage also safeguards against insurance fraud. Unfortunately, insurance fraud is something that many of us do not consider as a possibility until it happens to us, or someone we care about.
The reality is that it happens, and perpetrators rely on carefully engineered circumstances that allow them to frame events in a biased way.
Before dash cams, there was very little you could do to avoid getting taken advantage of by opportunistic fraudsters. Now, however, dash cams are capturing damning evidence that not only protects would-be victims from insurance fraud but also provides courts with evidence that helps bring fraudsters to justice.
Capture Hit-and-Run Incidents
There is very little more infuriating than returning to your car after a good day out to find it dented (or worse) with no information about how the damage occurred.
Unfortunately, many motorists will take the opportunity to avoid implicating themselves in an accident when there are no other witnesses. However, if you can produce video evidence of the incident, it suddenly becomes very easy for the police and your insurance company to track down the perpetrator. You can then hold them legally and financially accountable for their actions.
Protect Against Negligent or Unlawful Police Practices
Dealing with the police in any circumstance, whether at a routine checkpoint or a serious crime scene, can be extremely stressful. Discrimination and corruption within the police force have become major concerns amongst many vulnerable citizens who have realized that not every uniformed public protector has their best interests at heart.
Unfortunately, there are those few who will use their status and knowledge of the law to take advantage of vulnerable civilians. The likelihood of getting caught in this kind of situation, however, decreases dramatically when a member of the police force knows that their words and actions are recorded.
If you can prove to a court that you followed lawful procedure, co-operated with the officer in question, and remained within your rights as a citizen, then a corrupt or prejudiced police officer will have a much harder time bending the rules to favor themselves in any kind of dispute.
If they know that you have a dash cam running, they are much less likely to even attempt any unlawful behavior. Asking for bribes, engaging in excessive force, intimidating motorists, making false claims, or admitting false evidence is far less likely in the presence of a dashcam.
Isn’t This Kind of Equipment Expensive?
Fortunately, because of their rise in popularity over the past few years, dash cams have become increasingly affordable. Like with any other product, you will find items on both ends of the quality/affordability spectrum the more you look. However, nowadays, it is not difficult to find a decent dash cam for $50-100.
If you want a top-of-the-range camera with all the bells and whistles, the price is likely to go up. But the cheaper ones are certainly good enough for capturing everyday footage.
There are many kinds of dash cams on the market, and while affordability is an important factor, it may be advisable to look into buying one that records high-quality audio as well as front and back camera footage. Capturing conversation and video from multiple angles can make all the difference in a tricky case where evidence is scarce.
Dash cams, like car insurance, are there for a rainy day—they are an excellent safety net and a relatively cheap investment. Having one won’t break the bank, but not having one might.