It should come as no surprise that dash cams are becoming more and more popular amongst Australians. Almost every other night we are seeing shocking dash cam footage recorded here and around the world on the news.
While there is no substantial data on the number of Australian drivers using dash cams, Australians take out the 4th spot in terms of visitors to a dash cam forum called Dash Cam Talk.
What is a dash cam?A dash cam is a small camera that is attached your vehicle’s dashboard by Velcro or suction pads. The camera records footage through the front windscreen.
Why do people use them?Apart from using the cameras to record a road trip or the unexpected, the most common reason is to record potential motor vehicle accidents to use in an insurance claim.
Many motorists purchase and install dash cams in their cars gives them peace of mind as they may be useful to hold others on the road accountable in case of a motor vehicle accident.
In fact, according to the owner of Dash Cam Owners Australia, the main reason Australians purchase and install dash cams is,
“To prove fault in the event of an accident. With Police no longer attending minor collisions it is generally up to the involved parties to plead their case to insurance. A dash cam removes the he-said she-said and provides an invaluable record of the events that transpired”
So, can dash cam footage be used in insurance claims?Yes. Insurance companies will accept photo and video evidence recording of the accident and the aftermath. Although it is important to keep in mind that this will only make up part of their investigation and will not necessarily be the definitive piece of evidence. This is because dash cam footage only shows one perspective and does not always show the lead up to the accident. It is also important to keep in mind the quality of camera you purchase as grainy or low resolution footage can affect how the footage is interpreted by insurance companies.
Interestingly, insurance companies in the UK are offering discounted policies to customers that have dash cams installed. While nothing like this currently exists in Australia, it does demonstrate a sign of the times and the value of dash cams in some accidents.
Things to keep in mind
- Some states and territories in Australia have laws against recording audio. Check which laws apply to you before installing, or purchase a video only dash cam instead.
- Dash cams are positioned on your windscreen, make sure you place it where it will not impact your view.
- Stay vigilant on the roads and don’t treat the dash cam as an additional safety measure.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: July 14, 2016.