UK car insurance scams lift dashcam sales
By Kara Gammell
February 2, 2015
When Samantha Dunne was hit in her car at an English roundabout, she struggled to prove she was not at fault. She ended up "thousands of pounds out of pocket" waiting for the claim to be settled.
"I had to pay the excess on the policy, buy a new car as my own was written off in the accident and I lost my nine-year no-claims bonus, which meant a hike in premiums," she said.
Determined not to find herself in the same position again, Dunne decided to take steps to protect herself.
"I bought a dashboard camera so that I could provide video footage if I was unlucky enough to have another accident," she says. "I wanted to be certain I could prove fault and avoid a lengthy claim process."
Dashboard cameras - or "dashcams" - are wired into your car and automatically turn on and start recording when the car is started. They come with built-in memory and record on a continuous loop, ensuring that you never miss an accident.
These gadgets were once found only in countries where unscrupulous driving practices are a more regular occurrence.
But with car insurance scams becoming more prevalent on British roads, a growing number of motorists are using such devices to protect themselves from fraudsters.
Market research company GFK says dashcam sales have increased by 918 per cent over the past 12 months.
The big driver behind this has been "crash for cash" scams. These include fraudsters disabling their own brake lights or "flashing" drivers to let them out of junctions before crashing into them, through to staged accidents and false witnesses.
In November, insurance giant Aviva reported that the level of organised fraud was already 21 per cent higher than in all of 2013. It said that more than 50 per cent of its fraudulent motor injury claims were made by organised gangs.
What do you need to know?
The most basic type is a single lens mounted on the front windscreen. Multiple-lens models have a lens on the back windscreen to monitor the road behind. Some come with a rear-facing lens for interior recording.
"The most important thing to bear in mind is image quality," says Which?. "If [it] isn't high enough, you might not be able to use your footage in the case of an accident to prove you're not to blame."