Can A Dash Cam Get You A Discount On Your Auto Insurance?

Browse through the latest viral videos and you're bound to stumble upon dash cam footage of all types. Once commonplace in Europe and other countries, consumer-grade dash cams are making inroads into the U.S. market, especially as more people see the benefits of having one installed in their vehicle.

If you're thinking about putting a dash cam in your vehicle or already have one installed, you may be wondering if your insurance provider will give you a discount on your premiums. The following offers some interesting information on how insurance companies are treating dash cams and the footage they capture.

Not Yet, But Soon

While auto insurance providers in other countries offer discounts for having a dash cam installed in insured vehicles, major U.S.-based insurance providers have yet to offer similar discounts. Unfortunately, it may take a while for insurers to consider rolling out programs that let dash cam users benefit directly from lowered insurance premiums.

When new driver-aiding technologies appear on the horizon, auto insurance providers typically extend discounts after gathering enough data to assess their effectiveness and, more importantly, their impact on the insurance company's bottom line. For instance, auto insurers rolled out discounts for vehicles equipped with air bags after studying years of data that provide their effectiveness in reducing injuries and preventing driver deaths.

Although dash cams don't automatically improve driving or driver safety, they may still have a tangible positive impact on your driving. As Penny Gusner points out, dash cams give drivers an opportunity to review their own driving habits and make changes that eventually make them safer drivers. In addition, drivers who are aware that their driving habits are being recorded may take greater care when driving. Insurance companies may take these factors into account as they decide whether to roll out discounts for dash cam users.

You Still May Benefit Indirectly

Although direct discounts don't exist for dash cam users just yet, you still may be able to use yours to indirectly reduce your insurance rates. For instance, dash cams can be instrumental in uncovering and eventually deterring insurance fraud. Staged accidents such as the infamous "swoop and squat" tactic cost insurance providers as much as $7.7 billion in excess payments in 2012, according to recent data gathered by the Insurance Research Council.

When properly installed, dash cams also provide a relatively reliable account of auto accidents from start to finish. In cases where eyewitness testimony is unreliable or even nonexistent, the footage retrieved from a dash cam could help firmly establish the facts of the case, resulting in a favorable and more accurate judgement those involved in the accident. The accurate and reliable footage offered by dash cams may even play a role in reducing overall insurance claim costs, resulting in lowered insurance premiums for all drivers in the long run.

Dash cams can also provide a measure of theft deterrence, which could also result in lowered insurance premiums across the board. Many dash cam models are designed to turn on the moment your car is perceived to be in motion or otherwise disturbed. If a thief gets behind the wheel of your dash cam-equipped car, you may be able to gain footage of where it goes and, in some cases, get a snapshot of the person responsible.

Other Discounts May Be Available

You might not be able to receive a discount for having a dash cam installed in your vehicle, but you can benefit from numerous other discounts offered by your car insurance provider. For instance, you can receive a "safe driver" discount simply by staying accident-free and ticket-free for certain period of time. It's a good idea to ask your insurance provider about other discounts you can possibly benefit from in lieu of a dash cam discount.