In Canada, the use of dash cams is becoming more and more common. One in ten drivers in Canada have installed a camera in their vehicles. While dash cams do not provide you with a specific discount on your car insurance, they can be useful and may save you money indirectly. Do you find yourself asking “should I buy a dash cam?” We’re here to help you decide whether one is right for you by examining the pros and cons of having a dash cam in your vehicle.
Pros of using a dash cam
Installing a dash cam can help you save money on your car insurance in a few unexpected ways, such as:
Dispute a driving ticket
When you get a ticket, it may increase the amount you pay for insurance. If you can dispute the ticket using dash cam footage, you may be able to get that ticket off your record and avoid an increase in your premiums.
Finding fault in an accident
Dash cams are also a useful tool that can help protect yourself against possible staged accidents and insurance fraud. It can capture footage of reckless drivers, speeders and drunk drivers.
Insurance fraud is becoming more and more of an issue in Ontario. Perpetrators stage accidents hoping that you are found at-fault so that they may gain monetary benefits. They include other drivers, cyclists or even pedestrians. Dash cam footage can help prove them wrong. An increase in fraudulent claims can also lead to higher premiums for everyone.
You can program it to record while you’re parked or when it senses motion. Some are equipped to run at all times. In case of theft, vandalism or a hit and run, this footage can potentially help trace a licence plate number, provide details for a police report or help you with your claim.
Becoming a better driver
If you’re asking yourself “Should I buy a dash cam?” the answer is, why not? You can use the footage to help improve your driving skills, or those of your newly-licensed driver. You can watch the recording back to see what you can do better in the future.
Interested in buying a dash cam? Have a look at the top 10 dash cams in Canada here.
If there is a debate as to who is at-fault in an accident, having a dash cam can help clear things up. Did you know that dash cam footage can act as an extra witness after an accident? It can prove who was involved, and it can also be used to prove who was at-fault. The unbiased footage can help your insurer determine if you are really at fault or not. Without it, you can be found partially to blame and will then have to split the cost of the damages.
More than a camera
Many models offer features like automatic motion detection, lane-change and collision notifications, integrated GPS systems and wide angle lenses. These simple cameras are turning into multifaceted high-tech devices. Newer dash cams also have integration with smart assistants, like Alexa, or support voice commands that let you tell the device to save a clip while you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Keeping our roads safe
If you suspect an impaired or dangerous driver on the highway, your dash cam can catch an image and/or footage of the offender. When it is safe to do so, you should pull over and call the police. In Ontario, it’s OPP. In other provinces, it’s 911. Tell police where you saw the driver, which direction they’re heading, and if possible, a good description of the vehicle and plate number. Leave your contact info with them and should they need your footage, they’ll know how to find you.
Cons of using a dash cam
While there are several benefits to installing a dash cam in your vehicle, there are also some downsides to it:
They can be distracting
Changing the camera’s setting while driving is dangerous and illegal. Some experts suggest avoiding this by installing it behind the rearview mirror.
Technology is attractive to thieves
As with GPS, smartphones or GoPro-like cameras, it’s not advisable to leave them out in plain sight in your unattended vehicle. Alternatively, you can consider purchasing one that records when the vehicle is off.
It can get damaged in a car accident
According to Intact.ca, If you get into an accident and your dash cam is damaged, your car insurance might cover it, depending on how your dash cam was installed and what province you live in. For example, in Ontario, a permanently-installed dash cam can be covered under your policy’s limit for after-market electronic equipment (this limit is usually $1,500).
Your damaged dash cam might also be covered as a personal belonging under your home or tenant insurance policy.
Cannot capture 360-degree footage
Although technology is improving, dash cams are not able to capture 360-degree video, as they are front-facing cameras. Therefore, it you are rear-ended by another car, it won’t be captured.
Dash cams will NOT lower insurance in Canada
There is no current insurance discount for having a dash cam installed in your car. It may, however, save you indirectly in the event of an accident, but it’s not a guarantee.
Some dash cam models can record audio or include a secondary camera for monitoring your car’s interior. Because the cameras are mounted inside your vehicle, this means they can record the conversations and actions of you and your passengers. It also means it can record you texting while driving or doing other things you shouldn’t do. While well-intentioned, this brushes up against privacy issues, especially if the dash cam you choose stores data via the cloud, rather than on an internal SD card. You’ll also be responsible for notifying your passengers of these features and asking for their consent.
So…should I buy a dash cam in Ontario?
While one in 10 drivers might not sound like much, it’s important to keep in mind that Canada has at least 35 million registered vehicles (official 2019 numbers from Canada’s national statistics office). That means that a minimum of 3,500,000 cars, trucks, and motorcycles, carry one of these devices. So, should you get a dash cam? Installing one can help cut down the incidence of fumbling for your phone to take pictures while driving. Distracted driving is dangerous in all forms. If you are thinking about having a dash cam installed in your vehicle, be sure to contact one of our isure representatives to discuss your options. We can also advise you regarding other options to find discounts on your car insurance.