Right now, on a shelf high in what is laughingly known as my office, sits a RAC Super HD CarCam awaiting the time I can get off my pert British butt and trial it. This dashcam has many excellent features that I have itemised below, for brevity, and I have no doubt it will do a good job.
In recent months I have road-tested a couple of these dashcams and now routinely use a RAC branded device myself, so I thought I would ask my car insurance provider how, if at all, such use would affect my premium, come the dreaded day. Their answer to my straightforward and simply worded question was obtuse.
They replied, and I quote in full, “Each new policy year is fully re-rated based on the rating factors for the previous year and so all information will be taken into account when we are calculating our price”. “Thanks”, I responded, “for stating the bleeding obvious; now how about answering my question”?
This of course is typical because how your insurance premium is calculated is often a mystery. I’m doubting that many diligent euro-elves are beavering away in basements calculating to the Nth degree your new premium based on your astrological signs and general goodness and well being. No, I suspect it is a postcode algorithm with a deducted percentage for good behaviour.
It does seem though that insurers are sitting up and taking notice of this newish phenomenon that is the dashcam. So should you when you consider that premium rates are again on the rise and no less a luminary than the boss of AA Insurance is on record as saying, “The days of cheap car insurance are over”.
The RAC estimate that approximately nine percent of UK motorists are now using this handy bits of kit. That is, they say, about 2.9m cars so equipped. We know that they are now becoming popular for shaming road hogs and other brainless types on four wheels and two. I have also heard of, ahem, some ‘home movies’ so recorded.
Because of their wide-angle nature they can take in a lot of the action and some newer models can shoot front and rear so that you can, literally, cover your motorised arse. Crucially though, they provide your evidence in the event of a shunt or, worse still, if you are subjected to attack by ‘cash-for-crash’ scammers who, as we know, are the scum of the earth.
Some insurance companies are quite upfront about it. They say they will knock off ten or fifteen percent if one of a wide selection of dashcams is used. RAC branded items fall into this bracket. That’s a good saving that could easily cover the cost of a camera in the first year.
My dashcam comes on with ignition but if you do forget to switch it on, or if it malfunctions, you won’t be penalised (they say!) but you will have less evidence to show you are the wronged party and you may get looked upon askance. These are car insurance companies we are dealing with here remember.
A good unit should be clear and resist vibration. It should record sound and vision, so be careful what you say. Downloading to a computer is easy and the resulting video can be edited, if it’s a over-long sequence. They can be wired in but it’s probably better to use the 12v socket to power up. If you want to use more than one device you can get multi-socket adaptors, so there’s really no excuse. I’ll advise about the new model in due course.
One day, my insurer will get back to me with a straight answer. Any obfuscation or general back-sliding from them will result in a comparison trawl and a terse farewell. These things cut both ways. We’ll see. Geoff Maxted