Dash cams have become increasingly popular in recent years and have gained something of a reputation as an excellent tool for vehicle safety. Since the camera constantly records, it is often able to capture car accidents and the immediate aftermath. In cases of hit-and-run accidents or accidents where fault is difficult to determine, it stands to reason that having a vehicle record can be very helpful to the police and insurance agencies. However, as if often the case, the situation is not always cut and dried. There are some instances where having a dash cam can help you in the event of a car accident, but many others where it may make no difference at all. Make sure you know what a dash cam can really do before you invest in one.

Insurance Discounts

A few insurance providers in the UK have started offering small discounts on auto insurance for vehicles equipped with dash cams. However, this is not the case for any insurance providers in the US and does not seem likely to change any time soon. US insurance providers are much more likely to offer discounts for things that have been proven, such as clean driving records. Don’t expect to see money back from your insurance company for having a dash cam in the near future.

Insurance Claims

There are some situations in which having a dash cam can help you if you are in an accident. In the case of an accident that turns into a dispute, it’s always better to have more evidence of what happened than less, and that is where dash cam footage can pay off. However, cams don’t always provide a clear picture of what happened, so they may not instantly clear up the issue.

Privacy Laws

Operating a dash cam that films the street around your vehicle is legal in the United States. However, if your dash cam picks up picture or sound inside the vehicle the legal issue becomes more complicated. Some states have laws that require all parties in a private conversation be informed if they are being recorded, which means that the operator of the vehicle needs to tell everyone that gets into his or her car that the dash cam is filming. It’s always best to check which local privacy laws might apply to your usage of dash cams.

What’s the Bottom Line?

While dash cams are not a perfect solution to any and all vehicle accident disputes, they can prove useful in some situations. There are also very few drawbacks to having one, and many units are quite affordable. Investing in a dash cam can’t hurt, and, as they become more common, they may start to play a larger role in accident litigation and vehicle safety, so it never hurts to get in on the ground floor.

While the benefits of dash cams are clear, their value as a tool to help you after an accident shouldn’t be overstated. However, if you feel safer with one, there are few real downsides to investing in a dash cam.