Insurance companies don’t currently offer a discount for installing a dash cam. But depending on what the dash cam records, it could be immensely helpful in helping you prove fault in a collision, or even getting you out of certain traffic tickets.
More and more Canadians are installing dash cams in their cars. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 10% of Canadian motorists now have one. These little devices can record video of everything that happens around you as you drive. It’s not hard to imagine how this could help you if you get stopped by the police or get in an accident.
Right now there’s no insurance discount for having a dash cam installed in your car, but with these devices becoming more prevalent, it’s not inconceivable that discounts could be on the way soon.
Until then, if you do install one of these cameras, it could capture lots of useful stuff:
A dash cam could be a great investment. But before you rush out and buy one, remember that if the camera captures footage that shows you in a bad light, it could also be used as evidence against you.
If your dash cam is able to capture footage that proves you were not at fault for an accident, that could save you $1,200 to as much as $24,000 on your insurance premiums over the next 6 years.
Whenever you get an at-fault accident on your record, unless you have claims forgiveness, it can increase your premium by 20 to 200%. Given that the average annual auto insurance premium in Ontario is about $2,000, that first at-fault could cost you an extra $400-4,000 a year for the next 6 years. If it’s the second at-fault within 6 years, your premiums could triple. So yeah, a dash cam could save you some serious dough.
If your dash cam gets you off a ticket, the story could be very similar, although most tickets only affect your insurance for 3 years. In terms of monitoring your kids’ driving, this won’t directly save you money, but just the knowledge that someone is watching could positively affect the way they drive, reducing the risk of a ticket, or God forbid an accident. And then yes, you are once again into thousands of dollars in savings.
Your camera could also capture someone trying to break into your car, vandalize it, or stage an accident to collect on an insurance windfall. As mentioned above, your dash cam could potentially save you from an at-fault accident on your record in this last case. But it could also help your insurance company and the police catch the perpetrators of a theft, vandalism or fraud, and save the insurance system on the whole tens of thousands of dollars. Sadly, you won’t get a direct reward for this, but fighting insurance fraud and car theft is a great way to keep rates down for everyone.
The short answer is yes, dash cams are legal in every part of Canada. It gets a little more complicated if you get a camera that records audio inside the car, which many do. If you have such a camera installed and you are transporting passengers, you are legally obligated to get their consent to record their voices. The easy solution is to turn off the sound recording, and capture only video.
There are hundreds of different dash cams available in Canada. The quality and features vary quite a bit.
Here’s a few things to consider:
If your dash cam is damaged or destroyed in an accident, or stolen out of your vehicle, there are several instances where it would be covered under your auto or home insurance. If it’s a unit that is factory installed in the car, most auto insurance policies (collision and comprehensive) would cover it under a $1,500 limit for electronic equipment. If it’s a unit that can be easily removed, it would likely be covered under your home insurance, subject to a deductible.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments below! Mitchell & Whale is a fast-growing insurance brokerage in Ontario, striving to make insurance _not suck_ one customer at a time. Give us a call today to discuss any of your insurance needs at 1.800.731.2228.