They say that using a phone behind the wheel is dangerous. In this case, there’s an app that may just help keep your van insurance in check.
Dashcams are fast becoming the driver’s best friend. In the past, when an inconsiderate driver has tried to cut in in front of you, any claim has been based on hearsay.
It’s your word against theirs. If you win, you lose your no claims and face a steeper premium. If you lose, you end up paying for the damage the other driver caused, to boot.
The scenario can be exacerbated if a collision happens when you’re in slow, drifting traffic. You slam the brakes on so that the overtakee can nip in without making contact.
But before you know it, bang! The daydreamer behind you has ran into the back of you.
Meanwhile, the crazy who caused you to brake is oblivious, off in the third lane again and about to spoil someone else’s day.
Dash cam to the rescue
But, technology! It’s a grand thing. Take the case of Vidur Gupta. The 31-year old was filming his commute on his Smartphone. It wasn’t even a bespoke Dashcam.
He was in an accident on his way to work passing through Kensington. From nowhere, a driver cut across the front of his Astra, causing £1,000 worth of damage.
Even at the scene of the crash, the driver of the offending vehicle told Vidur straight. He was in no way going to admit responsibility for the crash.
Little did the chancer know that his wily adversary, wary of dangerous driving on his commute, had captured the whole scene.
Upon presenting the footage that the app captured, his insurer was able to refund Vidur’s £350 excess and restore his no claims bonus.
More than one incentive for filming the road ahead
Sales of bona fide dash cams have trebled in six months, based on RAC figures. Even if you’re fortunate enough to never have to submit footage to the police or your insurer, filming your journey could pay for itself.
Some insurers are offering discounts for drivers savvy enough to invest in a dashcam.
Not only do they help insurers defend legitimate claims, but they may also help prove intent. Drivers still cause accidents on purpose in crash-for-cash scams, driving insurance sky-high for the rest of us.
Softly, softly, catchee monkey
The fitting of the devices does come with a warning, echoed around motoring’s governing bodies. Given their prominent position, they are visible when your car is unattended.
If you’re using a smartphone app, you’ll more than likely take it with you when you leave the van. But if it’s a bespoke dashcam, your are warned to remove it from sight when you leave the vehicle.
There’s a similar warning about road rage. If you feel a driver may become aggressive if they’ve caused a crash, you’re as well not to mention that you have it all on film. At least not until a greater number of vehicles have them fitted than the 9% of those surveyed as at March this year.
Are there any free dash cams?
CamOnRoad is an Android dash cam available on Google Play. It’s free and offers GPS as well as video. On top of the footage you can store on your microSD card, all users receive 2GB of free cloud storage.
It’s also flexible enough to allow you to call (hands free, obviously) as it carries on recording your journey.
In all, the 2GB equates to 3 hours’ driving time, according to the developer. That’s more than enough for most people’s daily commute. If you’re making the rounds on your van, simply erase your incident-free video when you’re approaching your storage limit and start to record again.
Of the bespoke dash cams, you can pick them up for as little as £20 or pay as much as £200. It may be worth speaking to your insurer, to see if they recommend any models.
If your van insurance is high, it’s worth considering investing in either, an app or a bespoke dash cam. If, like Vidur, it protects your no claims and covers your excess, it will have paid for itself at the first time of asking. That, as they say, is a no-brainer.