Despite the government crack down on crash-for-cash scammers – who deliberately cause accidents and then make fraudulent claims for personal injuries – British drivers are still at risk from fraudsters on the road.
Around 500,000 insurance claims are made for whiplash every year, reports the BBC, with these pushing up insurance premiums by up to £90 annually. Many of these claims will be genuine, but a large proportion are thought to be fraudulent.
Crash-for-cash scammers typically cause collisions by swerving in front of innocent drivers and braking sharply, with the car behind unable to stop in time. As insurers assume that the car behind is normally at fault, scammers can then make bogus injury claims on the innocent driver’s insurance – unless they have good quality video evidence.
This is where dash cams come in. You may have seen numerous YouTube videos from Russia where drivers capture crazy antics on the road ahead of them; these are all filmed by dash cams – small cameras which fit to your windscreen or dash top.
These devices video the road ahead continuously. In the event of a collision you can show what actually happened, so you can prove you’re not to blame and protect your all-important no-claims bonus.
Depending on your insurer, you may also save money on insurance premiums. Insurance broker Adrian Flux offers dash cam users savings of up to 15 per cent, while Swiftcover gives discounts of up to 10 per cent, with the company claiming that the average driver would save about £33 per year.
Dash cams come in all shapes and sizes, varying from basic £15 models available on Amazon, to sophisticated £300 devices with front and rear facing cameras, GPS location tracking and motion detection, which automatically save moments of high g-forces, such as a collision, preventing this potentially crucial footage from being overwritten.
These cameras are designed to be as simple to use as possible. Once mounted most dash cams start automatically and record on a loop – as soon as the memory card fills up they start overwriting the oldest footage.
Not all models are worth having though. Some of the cheapest models provide extremely grainy footage and are practically unusable in darker conditions. If you need to identify a car by its number plate, you’ll struggle to make out the digits.
The best models can capture bright, detailed footage that should give you all the protection you need in the event of an accident though. Decent models are available from around £80. One model that has received good reviews is the Transcend DrivePro 200.
This compact device weighs in at £90 and gives a wide view of the road ahead with built-in wi-fi so you can transfer footage to your phone or computer easily.
If you have a little more to spend another model which has scored well in reviews is the NextBase In-Car Cam 402G. This dash cam costs around £140 and features GPS to track your route and motion detection which registers moments of heavy braking and any collisions, protecting these from being videoed over.
Dash cams might seem like an unnecessary expense, but they could more than pay their way if you’re unlucky enough to be caught up in a staged crash and are able to prove you’re not to blame with your video footage.
August 8, 2014