Can a car dash cam help with insurance claims?

You’ve been in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault. But can you prove that? 

When it comes to accidents on the road, who’s to blame isn’t always clear. And even if you know it wasn’t your fault, proving that can sometimes be difficult when it’s your word against someone else’s.

That’s one of the reasons why dash cams are becoming increasingly popular. They’re able to provide a clear and unbiased record of just what happened in an accident. Making it easier to determine liability and saving drivers time, hassle and money.

What is a dash cam? 

A dash cam is a camera fixed to the dashboard or windscreen of a vehicle. It automatically turns on when you start your car and continuously records everything that takes place on the road. 

The footage is stored on an internal micro SD card. Standard dash cams usually operate by overwriting the oldest footage, once the card is full. The recorded footage is time-stamped in a tamperproof way, making it an excellent ‘witness’ to any road traffic incident. Only you have access to the footage. And it’s easy for you to share it if needed, for example with the police or your insurance company. 

Depending on the type of dash cam you opt for, there are also other added features to choose from. For example, some models will protect your car even while it’s parked — turning on automatically if an impact is detected. 

Do I need a front and rear dash cam?

When picking the best dash cam for your purposes you have two choices:

  • A single front dash cam — this records everything that happens on the road in front of you. 
  • Front and rear dash cam — this will record the view both in front and behind your car.

Having just a front dash cam is cheaper, but it won’t capture any incidents that happen behind your car, such as someone running into the back of you.

How much do they cost?

Dash cams can range in price from £20 to over £300, with a standard model costing around £50. When it comes to a dash cam’s effectiveness, it’s all about the footage. There’s no point saving on the initial cost if the footage is such poor quality you can’t make out a number plate. 

Are dash cams legal?

Dash cams are legal to use in the UK.

However, it’s essential that you make sure your dash cam is fitted correctly and does not obscure your view of the road. 

Dash cams are now regularly used by police and the footage they capture can be, and often is, used as evidence when taking drivers to court. 

Advantages of a dash cam for insurance claims

Dash cam footage is now accepted by a growing number of insurers — including us — as evidence in claims. 

So, how can dash cams help when making a claim?

Prove you weren’t to blame. When settling motor insurance disputes, it isn’t always possible to sufficiently prove if someone is liable or not. When this happens claims will often be settled on a 50/50 basis, which means both parties accept some of the blame. This can be particularly frustrating for drivers who know they weren’t in the wrong but there simply isn’t enough evidence to show this.

According to James Bolderston, from Aviva’s general insurance claims team, common scenarios where liability can be difficult to determine include: colliding when changing lanes on a road or roundabout, and someone rolling back into your car when you’re waiting to pull out at a junction or roundabout.

In these cases, it’s often one person’s word against another. James explains: “If there’s no witnesses, it’s a ‘he moved into me, no – he moved into me’ situation. 

“However, using dash cam footage we can normally come to a conclusive decision over who’s liable in these situations.”

Save time and money and protect your no claim discount. Being able to provide dash cam footage could speed up the time it takes to settle your claim. 

It can also help you avoid paying for an incident you didn’t cause. If you’re found to be at fault, to any degree, you could find yourself having to pay your excess and lose any no claim discount. Claims can also negatively affect your premium when it’s time to renew. As James warns: “The impact to a policy holder of a 50/50 claim is exactly the same as a claim that’s 100% their fault.”

Help yourself… and someone else too. Having a dash cam could not only benefit you, but other drivers too. James comments: “What we’re starting to see more and more is witnesses [to a road traffic incident] who have dash cams. If people are stopping there’s a chance they may have caught footage of the incident as well.” 

Combat ‘cash for crash’ criminals and other fraud. So-called ‘crash for cash’ cases have been on the rise in recent years. Often these involve another driver braking suddenly on purpose in front of you, so that you crash into the back of them. They then claim against you. 

With dash cam footage it’s easier to prove that you, not they, were the victims. James says: “In these situations, without any independent proof [that the braking was intentional to cause an accident] we can put across our concerns to the third-party insurer and we can investigate. But dash cam footage really, really helps with incidents like this and with tackling other fraud”.

Case study: Customer’s dash cam helps their claim

Ben 1 was following a van along a quiet road when he decided to overtake it. His front facing dash cam then caught the moment the van driver swerved across the centre line and collided with the front of his car. 

According to James, without the dash cam footage Ben could easily have been forced to accept some of the blame. He explains: “The most likely defence in this situation is: ‘he collided with me while overtaking’. And the damage [caused to Ben’s car] would match up with that scenario. In the absence of independent evidence, we could have been looking to settle as a 50/50.”

However, Ben’s dash cam footage was able to clearly show that he had no liability.

James adds: “This is a good example of where a dash cam was able to secure us a 100% non-fault.”

Things to consider before fitting a dash cam

There are a few things to take into consideration if you decide to buy a dash cam.

  • Invasion of privacy — Think carefully before uploading dash cam footage to the internet hoping to get likes. This is particularly important if there’s a chance the footage might be used in court as evidence, as you could jeopardise your case.
  • Incorrectly placed — If they aren’t correctly placed dash cams could act as a distraction or cause a blind spot. If you’re in an accident caused by a misplaced dash cam you would be liable.
  • Theft — As dash cams are normally fixed to the dashboard or windscreen, they’re in plain sight and can act as a lure for thieves. 

How to claim with us using dash cam footage

When you make a claim, you’ll be asked if you have dash cam footage.

If the answer is yes, you’ll be sent a link to a secure website where you can quickly and easily upload your footage.

And it’s as simple as that! We’ll take it from there.