Recording road incidents and moving violations can bring peace of mind. Installing a basic dash camera — a recording device that continuously stores footage from your dash — costs about $50 to $100 but can ensure your vehicle is covered after a car accident, break-in or vandalism.
According to an article by Yale University, high-stress events, such as a car accident, can create difficulties in recalling exact details. Dash cam footage can provide an objective account, which increases insurance claims processes and decreases disputes.
Keep reading to learn about dash cam benefits, car insurance discounts and reasons to install one.
Is there an insurance discount for dash cams?
Car insurance discounts for dash cams are not currently offered. While dash cameras can’t reduce accidents, in time — if the cameras start to help make claims work easier and resolve disputes more quickly — car insurance companies may notice and begin to offer a discount.
Car insurance companies often create discounts after an item shows it saves them money. For example, vehicles with airbags usually get a discount because years of data showed that they helped reduce injuries and saved the car insurance company money in medical claims.
Anti-theft devices are shown to deter thieves, so you can receive a discount on your comprehensive coverage — the portion of a policy that pays for the theft of your vehicle — when using such a device with your car.
Here are four reasons to use dash cams
A dash camera can help improve driving skills and visually support your side of an insurance claim resulting from accidents, fraud, vandalism or other road perils. When you can objectively watch your or your teens’ driving, you can find ways to improve your skills and increase your safe driving capabilities.
The following reasons demonstrate why having a dash camera might be worth installing in your vehicle.
1. Video footage shows evidence of accidents, theft, vandalism and other perils
In recent years, installing a dash cam in a personal vehicle has become more popular. This has been fueled by a need for added vehicle and personal security and wanting to have documented evidence. As a driver, you may experience perils on the road — a deer darting onto the highway, a mudslide or flood, falling tree branches or fire — and hit-and-runs, collisions and pedestrian accidents.
You may also experience someone breaking into or stealing your vehicle, and having these incidents recorded can help you provide documented video proof to support your insurance claim.
2. Review footage to improve your driving skills
Being a good driver means reflecting on your driving skills, strengths and areas you may need practice. Perhaps you’re not the best at entirely stopping at stop signs or maybe you’re talking on the phone, even hands-free, while driving. With a dash camera, you can watch recordings, see your daily driving behaviors and find ways to improve.
Remember, if you remain ticket-, accident- and violation-free for a certain period, you may be eligible for a good driver discount through your car insurance company, saving you 10% to 30% on your premium.
3. Monitors the driving behavior of young/teen drivers
While a basic dash camera only records forward-facing incidents, more advanced dash cams can also record and monitor the vehicle’s interior. This type of dash cam can help parents review footage and driving behaviors with their young driver and provide constructive feedback.
By discussing what the footage shows, young drivers can improve their driving behaviors and avoid forming reckless and distracted behaviors.
New drivers are among some of the most dangerous drivers on the road and face a higher rate of accidents, making finding car insurance for teens challenging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the top contributing risk factors included inexperience, nighttime and weekend driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving, speeding and driving under the influence.
In 2020, about 2,800 teens in the U.S. ages 13-19 were killed, and about 227,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Monitoring your young drivers’ behaviors via a dash cam could protect them and ensure they are more educated and safer drivers.
4. Fight insurance fraud
The Insurance Information Institute states insurance fraud is a deliberate deception against an insurance company for financial gain. In a 2022 study by The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF), auto theft insurance fraud can cost U.S. consumers an estimated $7.4 billion annually.
A dash camera can help protect you and your insurance company from fraud, such as staged accidents, vehicle theft and exaggerated accidents and damage. By having a recording of the event, law enforcement and insurance companies can determine fault and potential fraud. This proof can help stop a fraud attempt and save you from an increase in your premium.
Frequently asked questions: Dash cams and car insurance
While there might not be an insurance discount for dash cams, installing one still has many benefits. Review the following frequently asked questions when considering if a dash cam is right for you.
How much do dash cams cost?
Dash cams range from $50 to $400, based on the capabilities and functions you’re looking for. A basic dash cam model may be best if you’re interested in simply recording the road in front of you. If you’re seeking a dash cam for monitoring your teen driver, you may need to shell out a few hundred for more advanced features, including dual-recording capabilities.
When purchasing one, ensure it includes the following features:
- Easy installation or mounting options
- G-sensor to lock and protect footage automatically
- GPS to capture location and traveling speed
- High quality video (1080P or higher)
- Loop recording temperature protection
- Shareable access through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
- Wide-angle view to record most of the road
Are dash cams worth it?
When considering if a dash cam is worth the cost, reviewing your needs and goals is essential. The benefits of installing one include additional vehicle security, peace of mind protection and video evidence.
A basic model at a minimal cost can provide footage of potential accidents, attempted fraud, road perils and a breakdown of what occurred during a moving violation.
A more pricey dash cam model can offer opportunities to review interior and exterior driving behaviors and improve road response times, distracted driving habits and education for inexperienced drivers. Additionally, all models can create a memory record of a summer road trip or scenic shots of an ocean highway.
Are there any downsides to installing a dash cam?
As with any device in a vehicle, a dash camera could be distracting. While it may sit mounted on your dashboard and not require manual use, knowing it’s there and seeing it recording can pique your curiosity. This can create a road hazard, especially if you’re taking your attention away from the road to adjust your dash cam.
Additionally, while dash cams are allowed in all states in the country, there can be some rules around placement and secret recordings.
Is dash cam footage admissible in court?
Dash cam footage is admissible in court. As long as the footage is relevant to the case, recordings can be used as evidence. However, there are some factors to remember about the captured footage and the law.
Generally, footage must be recorded outside of private property, all passengers on interior footage must consent before recording and audio recordings are generally not admissible in court. Some states may also have other laws surrounding dash cam use, so checking into your state’s guidelines is advisable.
Resources & Methodology
- BlackboxMyCar. “A guide to dash cam laws in every US state.” Accessed June 2023.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Teen drivers and passengers: Get the facts.” Accessed June 2023.
- Cobra. “How much is a dash cam?” Accessed June 2023.
- Insurance Information Institute. “Background on: Insurance fraud.” Accessed June 2023.
- Insurance Information Institute. “What is covered by collision and comprehensive auto insurance?” Accessed June 2023.
- Lovett Law. “Should you turn over dash cam footage?” Accessed June 2023.
- Yale University. “Installing a dash cam could help with accident claims and road safety.” Accessed June 2023.
- Insurance Fraud. “The impact of insurance fraud on u.s. economy.” Accessed June 2023.
Why you can trust CarInsurance.com
The CarInsurance.com editorial team bases its reporting on data it commissioned Quadrant Information Services to gather on average auto insurance rates for more than 34K ZIP codes across the United States.
Typically, averages are based on rates for a single, 40-year-old male, with no violations who commutes 12 miles to work each day and has a full-coverage policy with limits of 100/300/100 and a $500 deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage.