One of the UK's biggest car insurers is offering customers a 10% discount if they have a dashcam fitted. Will more insurers follow? We find out.
Drivers who fit cameras to their dashboards could save themselves a lot of money and hassle.
There has been a rise in the popularity of dashcams in the UK over recent years, with many motorists seeing them as a good way to help prove their innocence in road accidents.
And for the first time, a major car insurer is now offering customers discounts on their car insurance premiums if they have a dashcam installed.
Swiftcover offers 10% discount
Swiftcover says that it will cut prices by 10%, because it thinks dashcam users are likely to be "more careful on the road".
Spokesman Roman Bryl explains: "We believe that by using a dashcam and being able to accurately and quickly establish who was at fault, we will save money.
"Therefore motorists will significantly benefit from lower premiums and more responsible driving."
A survey carried out by camera manufacturer Nextbase found that half of people thought driving standards would improve if dashcams were widely fitted.
Its research also found that almost 40% of motorists would feel safer driving with a camera on board.
Help catching dodgy drivers
Retailer Halfords is now selling Nextbase cameras - they cost between £70 and £150 - with a free subscription to an online service called Police Witness.
This helps motorists take action against suspected dangerous or careless drivers by making it easier to forward their footage to the relevant authorities.
Geoff Rolls is a psychologist from the University of Southampton.
He says: "Traffic accidents happen so quickly and cause such stress that it's highly likely the recollections of the people involved will be sketchy, even without taking into account the fact that people naturally interpret things to their own advantage.
"Dashcams provide a solution to this problem, and can even discourage dangerous or inconsiderate driving by making motorists accountable for their actions."
Could camera footage be used against you?
In the Nextbase survey, six in 10 said they would fit a camera if it entitled them to a discount on their insurance.
Ian Crowder is a spokesperson for the AA motoring organisation.
He says: "I think other insurers will be looking for demonstrable claims experience improvements through their use before offering discounts.
"Another issue is that the camera can be switched on or off by the user and while it might well prove fault of a third party, a camera could equally demonstrate your own driving transgressions."
Dashcams similar to telematics 'black box' devices
Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at Confused.com, adds that insurers may view dashcams in the same way as telematics or black box devices, which record the likes of speed, braking and cornering.
"If a customer is willing to have their driving recorded, then it demonstrates to an insurer they regard themselves as a more accomplished driver," she says.
"But there are lots of dashcams available, with varied picture quality, and the insurers who are now offering discounts will only do so based on the higher-quality, and therefore more expensive, cameras."
So do other firms plan to follow Swiftcover's lead? Rival insurers appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
Will other insurers offer dashcam discounts?
- Matt Patterson, head of liability claims at Admiral insurance, says: "We'll watch the Swiftcover initiative with interest to see if the discount is sustained over the years or if it's just a temporary marketing gimmick. Dashcams can help clear up who's to blame for a crash and that can save time and money, but, in our view, not in enough instances to justify a big discount."
- A spokeswoman for More Than says: "At the moment, discounts aren’t provided for drivers who have cameras but this is something that could change in the future, and this sort of benefit may be developed with telematics technology."
- Andrew Lowe at esure adds: "Dashcams go some way to reducing risks on the road and providing piece of mind for honest drivers. They allow insurers to agree liability of claims and settle them quicker, as well as help to prevent fraud."
- A spokeswoman for LV= says that the firm is not planning any dashcam discount at present.
What do you think?
Would cheaper car insurance for drivers with dashcams fitted tempt you to go with a particular provider?
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