Sales of ‘dash cams’ are up 918% as car insurers say they will accept footage as evidence when drivers make claims.
Leading car insurers have said they will accept dashboard-mounted video camera footage as evidence to be used in the event of a claim.
Dash cams, which are small, forward-facing cameras placed on a car’s windscreen, can be helpful when trying to prove liability if a motorist is involved in an accident. They cost from £50 and require no professional installation. Until now the stance insurers take regarding the use of dash cam footage has been unclear.
But now Nextbase, a car parts chain and manufacturer of dash cams, said it had contacted 29 major British car insurers and received confirmation from each one that they would accept dash cam evidence in the event of a claim. Nextbase said that insurers were beginning to realise the benefits of dash cam use, thanks in part to their role in fighting “crash for cash” fraud, which costs the insurance industry an estimated £1bn each year.
The dash cam footage can also make the claims process more efficient, “as a video is more reliable than human witnesses,” a spokesman for Nextbase said, “which also reduces the cost of the claims process for the company.”
According to GfK, a market research company, dash cams have become increasingly popular in the UK with sales increasing by 918% since last year. This is partly due to a number of high street stores, such as Halfords and Maplin, widely stocking the cameras, the firm said.
Richard Browning, director at Nextbase, said:
“It’s not hard to see why dash cams are so popular with insurers – they act as an independent witness for drivers, who can use footage to demonstrate that they’re in the right should they be involved in the event of a non-fault accident or even attempted fraud. They give insurers the opportunity to make huge cost savings, and could help to end cash-for-crash fraud.”
Drivers who use a dash cam could be in line for discounts of up to 12.5% on their premiums. Insurer Swiftcover.com said that any new customer who purchases a Nextbase In Car Camera (costing from £49 to £150) would save an average of £54 per policy. Customers using another brand of dash cam or one bought elsewhere receive 10% off their premiums with Swiftcover.
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, was slightly less enthusiastic, asserting the devices could be “brilliant” in some circumstances but offered a “very one-sided view”. He said:
“They wouldn’t necessarily capture the cyclist on the left-hand side, or the cat on the road…Human witnesses present at the time of the incident remain the most important evidence to support an insurance claim…Having a dash cam fitted to the windscreen could also increase the potential for car theft.”