No one offers a car insurance discount for having a dash camera placed in your vehicle. However, I wouldn’t let that dissuade you from buying a dash camera if you can afford it.

Basic dash cams go for about $100. It’s possible they could save you much more than that.

Do insurance companies give discounts for dash cameras?

Car insurance companies tend to extend discounts after an item shows to save it saves them money.  For example, vehicles with airbags normally get a discount because years of data showed that airbags 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.

While dash cameras cannot 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 start to offer a discount.

Reasons to buy a dash camera

Even without a discount, I believe placing a dash camera is still a good idea.  A dash camera can help improve driving skills and perhaps prove your side of a claim. Here are five situations where having a dash camera would be worth the cost.

  • You’re in an auto accident – If you have a dash camera, you’ll have an actual recording of what happened. This can help settle any dispute you and another driver may have regarding the fault.  You can hand over to the car insurance company a recording of what occurred to take away the guesswork of a claims investigator.  This should mean a quicker resolution to your claim.
  • Parking accidents – Many dash cameras on the market offer an option to place the camera on standby and let it turn on if it feels motion in or around the car.  This means if someone hits your vehicle while it’s unattended the dash camera may be able to identify the culprit.  You can show the police the footage and see if the at-fault party can be tracked.
  • Insurance fraud – A legit accident is one thing, but staged accidents or having a pedestrian purposely run into your car are a couple of popular forms of insurance fraud.  While hard to prove, having dash camera footage can save your day. The dash cam recording can be shown to law enforcement who then can see what caused you to have the accident.  This can get you out of a bad situation and be enough proof to get the responsible individuals charged with a crime.  Without such proof, insurance claims could be paid out to the fraudsters, and in turn, your car insurance rates would rise.
  • Review driving habits – With a dash camera you can sit down and evaluate how good of a driver you are.  Looking for ways to improve is always good and may keep you out of accidents or from receiving tickets. Remember, motorists with clean driving records receive lower car insurance rates. Also, if you have teen drivers in your household, you can view the dash camera footage with them and see where they still need coaching.  This can help your young drivers stop bad driving behaviors before they become bad habits.
  • Capture unexpected events – Fraud is so rampant in some parts of the world, like Russia, that it’s common for many drivers to have a dash camera installed.  An unanticipated byproduct is unexpected events being captured on film that may have otherwise been missed. Whether it’s a meteor falling to earth, a car catching fire, or deer running out in front of you, you can capture a surprising act on camera.  And maybe if it’s amazing enough, you can sell the footage to a news station and make back the money you spent on your dash camera.

Other ways to save on car insurance

If you don’t mind putting your driving behavior under a microscope, you could try a pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) plan that multiple car insurance companies offer.

With a PAYD plan, you typically plug a telematics device into your vehicle and your driving behavior — such as speed, acceleration, braking events, and hours of operation — is looked at by the car insurance company to determine if you’re eligible for a discount. If you are, it can be substantial – more than 40% with some insurers.

If you’re not really into being monitored that closely by a car insurance carrier, then the best way to save is to compare car insurance rates. 

— Penny Gusner contributed to this story.

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Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.