You may have noticed in recent years that people have begun to install cameras inside their cars. At first blush, these gadgets, which can cost as little as S$30 and as much as around S$1,000 plus the price of installation, may seem like just another method of parting you from your hard-earned cash. However, our team at ValuePenguin think they are a smart investment that can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in the long run. In the following guide, we'll walk you through a list of reasons why installing an in-car camera, also known as a dashboard camera or "dashcam," is well worth the cost.
1. Save on your car insurance premiums
One of the most direct ways you can personally benefit from installing an in-car camera is by potentially saving on your car insurance premiums. Some insurers will offer a discount on their premiums to new or renewing customers who have a camera installed. DirectAsia, for example, will discount your premium by 4% for having a dashcam installed in your car; United Motor Insurance's Unidrive plan offers a discount as well. Given that the average cost of car insurance is about S$1,819 a year for a male driver in his 30s, this translates to about S$73 of savings every year, which can more than offset the cost of the dashcam over time. This is a win-win not only for you, but also for participating insurance companies, who can use video footage captured by the camera to cut costs by speeding up the claims process. For further ways you may be able to get discounts on your car insurance, please read our guide.
2. Protect against break-ins, vandalism or damage
Installing an in-car camera can also help to protect you and your car against break-ins, theft, vandalism and damage. If you get a camera that runs 24 hours a day instead of just when the car is running, it can record on video anything that happens to your car while you leave it unattended. If somebody vandalizes or breaks into your car, you can show the recording to authorities to help them track down the the perpetrator. Dashboard cameras also help to protect you from unfortunate events like these by deterring would-be troublemakers who may be less likely to attempt a crime if they know they're being watched. Fortunately, many of these 24-hour cameras only record when they detect motion, so you don't have to worry about spending big on keeping your camera powered.
3. Safeguard against legal liability in case of accidents
Whenever you get into a car accident, the insurance companies representing the parties involved have to come to a determination of which party is most at fault. Even if the accident wasn't your fault, without visual evidence of what happened, it can be hard to make a very persuasive case to the other party's insurer that you are not at-fault. If you have an in-car camera, however, your insurer will have video evidence of what happened that can help to prove your case, get the other party's insurer to agree to compensate you for your losses and help to keep your premium from rising as a result of the accident. In such a situation, having a dashboard camera installed could save you a lot of money, especially if you only have only some form of third party insurance.
If you have an old used car or are no longer financing your car, you may have third party insurance. In this case, if you are determined to be at-fault for the accident, your insurance company will only pay for third party damages and you'll have to bear the cost of repairs for your car and any other expenses yourself, costing you tens of thousands of dollars.
4. Preserve your No Claim discount
Related to the previous point, in-car cameras are also a good investment as they can help you protect your No Claim Discount in the event of an accident. After a car accident, if you are determined to bear over 20% of the blame for the accident, your NCD may drop as much as 30%. If your NCD was 30% or up, you'll have to accrue 3 more accident-free years of driving before you can get it back up to where it was before the accident. In the meantime, you'll have to pay more on your car insurance premiums each year. By reducing ambiguity over what exactly happened to cause the accident, in-car cameras can help to improve the chances your car accident won't damage your NCD. In such a situation, just having a dashcam could save you hundreds of dollars.
5. Help keep the roads safe
Finally, by installing an in-car camera, you can help to keep Singapore's roads safe for everyone. If you encounter a speeding or reckless driver on the road, your camera will have a recording of all the information the Singapore Traffic Police will need to identify the driver and make sure his dangerous behavior is stopped before it causes someone to get hurt. As more car-owners opt to install cameras in their cars, this could have the combined effect both of significantly deterring reckless driving and quickly taking dangerous drivers off the road in Singapore. Indeed, the Singapore Police's Assistant Commissioner and commander of Traffic Police Sam Tee himself suggested in 2016 that increased use of in-car cameras to report traffic violations could be a contributing factor toward the improvement of overall road safety in recent years.
This article was first published on Value Penguin.