Game Changer for Auto Claims?
Lately, my Facebook and YouTube feeds are consistently posting dash cam footage from all over the world. These videos usually show bizarre traffic accidents. In my work we have had only a few auto claim investigations thus far involving dash cam footage. I can tell you without any doubt, they make the investigation a lot simpler.
A dash cam is simply a camera mounted in your car. The unit is affixed to the windshield of a vehicle and is designed to record every minute of your drive time. Typically, they will be aimed forward, but many units are designed to provide both front and rear-view footage.
Who Needs a Dash Cam?
If you drive a car, there is no reason not to use a dash cam unless the cost to buy one have it installed is prohibitive. They are becoming more popular with all sorts of drivers to include commercial and personal motorists. A dash cam won’t prevent an accident from happening, but they can provide irrefutable evidence. This can ensure that your own auto insurance premiums are not affected by an accident caused by someone else. It can also prevent cases of fraud when staged accidents occur.
Dash Cam Configurations
The most common and least expensive dash cam model is a 1-channel, or single camera unit. This is designed to face forward and record what the driver sees through the windshield. These are useful in accident cases as they can provide evidence of who may have caused an accident. This is true whether the crash involves your own car, or even someone else’s if it occurred within the field of view.
A 2-channel dash cam with two lenses can be configured to provide a view through the windshield, and the second camera can be positioned to capture footage through the rear window, or from the rear bumper. This is helpful in rear-end collisions, and it can also capture accidents that happen between other vehicles.
Another option for a 2-channel dash cam is to fix the second camera to provide a view of the interior cabin area of the vehicle. This is particularly important for taxi drivers or anyone engaged in ride sharing.
Dash Cam Features
One of the most important things a dash cam does is record video. Accessing that video is extremely important, but video files take up a lot of memory. Most will record onto a memory card until the card is full, and then it will begin to record over the previous footage. This feature is known as loop recording. It allows for constant recording with little maintenance, but you do need to remember to remove the card if an accident occurs. This is important to preserve the captured footage. Most units will provide date and time stamps on the video recording.
GPS and Power options
Some units will have a built-in GPS feature. These units will not only record video, but they will also record your speed at any given time, and your location.
Most dash cams are designed to start automatically when the vehicle is powered on. Another interesting feature provided with some dash cams is a G-sensor, which is designed to record upon impact. This will turn the camera on, even if the car is unattended and not running. This feature is helpful to identify hit-and-run perpetrators.
If you choose a unit with a G-sensor, it is also a good idea to purchase one that has infrared light capabilities. This will allow for recording in darkness without the need for headlights.
Dash cam installation appears to be straightforward. Most are powered by a cigarette lighter outlet in your vehicle, but they can be wired to run from the batter power in the car even when the car is not powered on.
Based on our claim investigations thus far, a dash cam is a valuable tool to prevent fraudulent claims. I would recommend their use both to commercial and personal motorists.