Dash cams and car insurance: why you should install a dash cam

March is Fraud Prevention Month. Fight scams with dash cams!

A vehicle is a big investment, so it makes sense that you’d want to protect it in as many ways as you can. A dash cam can be a great way to monitor what goes on around your vehicle. Installing one could help you prove who is at fault in the event of a collision (leading to an easier insurance), deter theft or property damage, and it could even help you become a better driver.

Wondering whether to install a dash cam and how it might affect your car insurance? We’ve got the answers to your questions.

What’s the point of a dash cam?

Dash cams can record the front and back of your vehicle while you’re on the road, which can be incredibly helpful in speeding up a claim investigation in the event of an accident. But some dash cams can also record footage of the interior and exterior of your car while it’s parked. Having a dash cam running 24/7 can deter potential thieves and capture detailed images of their face if you need to make a police report or initiate a claim.

Can installing a dash cam lower the cost of your insurance?

While most insurance companies in Canada don’t offer a discount for installing a dash cam, a dash cam can indirectly affect your premium in a few ways. Here’s how a dash cam could help prevent increases to your insurance premium:

  1. Dash cam footage can help determine who was at fault for a collision. After an accident, dash cam footage can act as an extra witness. It can prove who was involved, and it can also be used to prove who was at fault. Since an at-fault collision could lead to an increase in your car insurance premium (even under a no-fault car insurance system), using dash cam footage to prove that you weren’t at fault could help you avoid a premium increase.
  2. Dash cam footage can help catch fraudsters. Fraudsters are pretty good at making it look like a collision was someone else’s fault, but dash cam footage can help prove them wrong — which can help you avoid adding an at-fault collision to your record. An increase in fraudulent claims can also lead to higher premiums for everyone who has insurance, so anything we can do to limit fraud could help keep those increases at bay.
  3. Dash cam footage can help you become a better driver. If you had a close call and you’re wondering what you could do differently next time you hit the road, reviewing your dash cam footage could help. In a time when car insurance rates are on the rise, keeping a clean driving record is one thing you can do to help keep your costs down.

Does car insurance cover your dash cam if it gets damaged?

If you get into an accident and your dash cam takes a beating, your car insurance might cover it, depending on how your dash cam was installed and what province you live in. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Ontario: A permanently installed dash cam could be covered under your policy’s limit for after-market electronic equipment (this limit is usually $1,500) — so long as you’re properly insured against the opens a pop-up with definition of peril that caused the damage or loss. However, the electronic accessories and equipment limit of $1,500 won’t apply to factory installed dash cams because they’re included in your vehicle’s original purchase price.
  • Quebec: Your car insurance will only cover your dash cam if it is permanently attached to your vehicle or if it can only be used with your car

In other cases, your dash cam might be covered as a personal belonging under your home or tenant insurance policy. When your personal belongings are damaged in a car accident, your insurer will usually look at your home and car insurance coverage and determine what should be covered under each.

Contact your licensed car insurance broker or your insurer if you want to find out whether your own car insurance policy will cover your dash cam in the event of a collision.

Can you use your phone as a dash cam?

Yes — if you want to use your smartphone as a dash cam, you can probably find an app designed to do just that. But remember, you’ll still need to follow the rules of the road, so try to set up hands-free Bluetooth calling to avoid using your phone while in your vehicle. Here are some tips for turning your phone into a dash cam:

  1. Secure your phone in a stand that doesn’t block your view while you’re driving
  2. Get the camera rolling before you leave your parking spot — you shouldn’t be touching your phone at all while you drive
  3. Consider getting a bigger memory card, as your phone might not be able to store as much video as a standalone dash cam
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