Dashcams 101: Pros, Cons, and Costs
Many drivers in cities throughout Ontario have been using these high-tech add-ons to provide evidence for insurance claims, stop vandals in their tracks, and track down drivers who might have left the scene of an accident.
As car technologies grow increasingly sophisticated, you may be wondering if a dashcam is right for you. We address the pros, cons, and costs of dashcams.
- If you’re involved in an accident, dashcam footage can provide an objective account of “what really happened” on the road, potentially saving you from being liable for expenses you’re not responsible for. Accidents can happen anytime, and relying on witnesses or another party involved won’t always leave you with an accurate account.
- Staged accidents are a common insurance scam, orchestrated by criminals who plan on claiming false injuries to get benefits from insurance companies. A dashcam is one way you can avoid being a victim of a staged accident.
- While most hope to protect themselves on the road, many use dashcams to protect against mishaps once their vehicle is parked. If you’re concerned about vandals or theft, a dashcam can provide valuable footage to bring to the police or your insurer. Dashcams with parking protection will automatically engage parking mode when they detect that the ignition has been turned off. This means the camera will only record when it detects movement around the vehicle.
- Dashcams can be used to monitor driving skills. If you are a new driver or if you’re sharing your vehicle with one, watching dashcam footage can help drivers catch their problems and improve driving skills, from three point turns to parallel parking techniques.
- You may not be able to use your smart phone to take photos and videos while you’re driving, but you can certainly capture what might be happening around you with a dashcam. For cottagers who may want to capture wildlife on the road or any other unexpected sights on your road trip, a dashcam can document those memories.
- Dashcams shouldn’t be used if they are a distraction. According to CAA spokesperson, Kristine D’Arbelles, “If it’s just sitting there, and just recording, you don’t have to touch it, then it’s fine. If all of a sudden you have to fiddle with it while you’re driving and moving it around…then that becomes an issue because that could become an added distraction behind the wheel and could actually cause an accident instead of actually trying to prevent one.”
- Some US states have laws against recording someone without their consent. Be sure you know the laws of the state you’re in before you use your dashcam in the States.
- Older cameras may not have loop recording (which means they automatically start writing over old data when memory is full), and will suddenly stop recording when storage is full.
Dashcams can range from $50 – $400, with higher-cost models including extra features like GPS tracking and WiFi connectivity. Most standard models fall around $150.00 and include automatic start and stop recording, automatic looping and ability to record both front and rear of the vehicle. Do your research to find a model that fits your needs.
While dashcams can offer drivers extra peace of mind, they’re no substitute for an insurance policy. If you have any questions about dashcams and your policy, contact your insurance representative.