Simon Cohen was inside his house in Toronto, his car parked on the street, when another vehicle came along and took off the driver’s side mirror and dented his front fender. That driver got out to inspect the damage done to their own vehicle, and then took off. Fortunately, for Cohen, the entire thing was captured by his dashcam.
Cohen loaded the footage onto a USB and took it to a collision reporting centre and, while the licence plate was too dirty for police to make out the number, they were able to determine that the vehicle was a grey Chevrolet Impala. And, because the driver had gotten out to look at their own damage before fleeing the scene, the police were able to identify them as the guilty party.
Cohen then took all of this information to his insurance company, which waived his deductible.
There’s currently no insurance premium discount for owning a dashcam but they can be incredibly helpful when it comes to determining fault in motor vehicle accidents.
“We receive many videos from clients and it has been helpful, especially on the commercial side, in determining exactly what happened,” Debbie Arnold of Sound Insurance, told Driving.ca
“It is a great protection against fraud for a client … i.e. someone backs into them but says that they were rear-ended (a really common staged collision scenario). The client submits a video and we in turn submit it to the insurer when we report the claim.”
Police will now often request dashcam footage from the public when people’s dashcams capture reckless drivers on the road or hit and runs.
And while the cameras aren’t cheap — Cohen’s model, a Vantrue T2, is $209 — they certainly cost less than the deductible on most auto insurance policies, which are typically around $1,000 to $2,000.
Cohen’s dashcam had what’s called a “sentry” mode — also known as standby mode. Most dashcams with this feature will sense movement, noise, or motion, and then start recording.
This, Driving.ca says, is a critical feature to look for when buying a dashcam.
Dashcams like Cohen’s typically use your car’s power source through the OBDII port. This is a different port than what your cell phone runs off of, so the car’s battery won’t drain the same way and the dashcam can stay on for much longer. Most dashcams have a voltage regulator, too, that shuts off before it drains the vehicle’s battery.
Driving.ca says dashcams like Cohen’s can last for about seven to 10 days before they shut off.