Car dash cams have captured some jaw-dropping footage on Canadian roads: near misses, collisions, road rage and examples of bad driving, to name just a few. There is no shortage of videos. But for drivers with a dash cam in their car, it's often more than just another gadget to film your drive and catch other drivers behaving poorly. It's viewed as an added security feature that leads many people to wonder: does having a dash cam in your car help lower your auto insurance rates?
Are there auto insurance discounts if your car is equipped with a dash cam?
Currently, there is no auto insurance discount in Canada for having a dash cam installed in your car. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped many Canadian drivers from getting them. According to a recent Kanetix.ca survey, one in 10 drivers (nine per cent) already drive a car equipped with a dashboard camera and more than one-quarter (26 per cent) said that while they don't currently have a dash cam in their car, they think it's a good idea.
It's also an idea that isn't cost prohibitive. Dash cams typically range in price from about $100 to as much as $500, but for many drivers, they're well worth the investment.
Reasonable doubt: The benefits of dash cams
Although there is no car insurance discounts for dash cams in Canada, the good news is that a dash cam may be able to help you keep your car insurance rates low. The footage could go a long way in the insurance claims process should it prove you were not at fault for a collision that you would otherwise be found to have caused. Many collisions come down to one person's word against another's and with dash cam footage, it's easier to identify — and prove — what truly took place.
Additionally, a dash cam can also provide reliable details about the circumstances of a crash. Were there passengers in the car? Where were they seated? Those are details that, during a stressful time, may be easy to overlook or forgotten after the fact. Dash cams can also come in handy if the other driver decides to flee, as there's a good chance the licence plate number and description of the vehicle would be caught on tape.
"Many collisions come down to one person's word against another's and with dash cam footage, it's easier to identify — and prove — what truly took place."
Finally, dash cams can record more than just your drive into the office, it can also keep an eye on your car when it's parked. There are dash cams available that have a parking mode that records when the vehicle is not in use, giving you footage if someone vandalizes your car or tries to steal it.
Dash cams and distracted driving
If you have a dash cam, or plan to get one, it's important to set it and forget it. Install the dash cam in a location that does not obstruct your line of sight while driving and keep your eyes and hands off it too. They last thing you want to do is run the risk of getting a ticket for distracted driving, which in Ontario, comes with a hefty fine of at least $490. Besides, the whole point of having a dash cam is to provide added security and protection in the event of a collision, not cause one.
The future of dash cams
With 35 per cent of Canadian drivers either already having a dash cam in their car, or thinking it's a good idea, the popularity of dash cams cannot be denied. And if one day it's proven that a dash cam can lessen the likelihood of insurance scams, deter theft and improve road safety, perhaps then one day they'll be standard in new vehicles, just like rear backup cameras. Only time will tell.
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