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Are Dashcams Worth It to Have in 2019?

Dashcams are becoming better than ever. When once you had bulky cameras to record what happens while you are driving, now they have been transformed into something thinner, more compact, and are of an even higher quality.

They have also become cheaper. Competition does that; the choices are almost countless. It’s as if there is no reason not to buy them anymore, or at least that is what dashcam owner slash friends or online reviewers will try to tell you.

You may already know which direction we’ll sway, given the nature of the website. But really, we want you to come to a decision on your own. We’ll lay out the advantages on this article, as well as list the things that might keep you from buying and installing your very own dashcam.

So, let’s get down to the question that is really bogging your mind: are dashcams worth it?

The pros

Added security

This is perhaps the most common point tossed by supporters of the dashcam, and they are not wrong. Sometimes, you just never know when an accident will strike, and you will be glad when a dashcam is around for documentation. 

Some are also equipped to run even when the vehicle is resting, which means that you can catch vandals or thieves with your dashcam working overnight. These often discreet gadgets (which at least allays worries of theft) are powered by your car’s electrical system and can be prompted to record once it detects movement. When filing a police report, the footage taken by your dashcam can be considered evidence, although this is not always a given.

Insurance claims

You can say that this is an extension of our previous point. In instances such as road collisions, all parties, including yourself, may claim innocence. Not all bystanders who serve as witnesses are reliable as well, as proven by many studies. However, with a dashcam, you have a third party, unbiased source of evidence if it really was not your fault. It is the same way with photos that are often required by insurance companies for auto claims, except the specifications aren’t really laid out clearly when it comes to videos. 

A witness for events both in and out of the vehicle

We have already pointed out that the dashcam is an unbiased observer when it comes to accidents, theft and vandalism. But did you know that it can also provide evidence of what is happening inside the car? 

When something untoward happens, it is not always happening outside of your ride. Sometimes, accidents, theft and vandalism can happen in it too — and a recording of these can be very valuable for those offering rideshares. Complaints can be contested if you have been rated unfairly. Passengers can also be more cautious as they know that their bad behavior can be documented. Be aware though that most states and countries have laws against recording audio as it could be classified as wiretapping. 

Capture interesting videos

This is a very, very minor point, but not one we would immediately dismiss as unimportant. Dashcams are not built for entertainment, but that does not mean you cannot have any fun using it! Funny clips, weird events, beautiful roads and sights are just among the many you can capture with the often HD-capable dashcams.

The cons

May violate local laws depending on your location

Using a dashcam has plenty of advantages, as we have already detailed. But that does not mean you can just proceed to buy and install one on your car. It would be wise to check with state regulations first or else risk wasting your money. 

Many states have rules regarding mounted devices that can obstruct the view of the driver, but the severity of these are a case-by-case basis. Some prohibit anything to be positioned on the windshield, others forbid the presence of such devices in the car completely. It would not hurt to also do your research in case you are planning on crossing borders.

Your recordings should also follow what is lawful. In many states, you are not permitted to take any footage with sounds on. If you do, you must inform everyone with you in the car first and even seek their permission. The number of people who must agree also depends on the state or country.

Dashcams would not improve driving and can decrease awareness

Unlike radar detectors, dashcams are designed mainly for security instead of making you more conscientious of your driving. In fact, it is easy to be distracted by the latter, which is why positioning is important. 

It should not get in the way of your view, but it is also useful to keep it within reach. One cannot really afford to configure the dashcam while driving without taking away some of the attention that should supposedly go on the road. This is remedied by some through installing the dashcam somewhere on the dashboard. Directly below the rearview mirror can also be ideal (again, check with your local laws).

You will need more than one device for complete monitoring

So far, we still have no dashcams that are capable of a 360-degree coverage. We are close to some manufacturers achieving this, but as of this writing, nothing is tangible yet. If you want complete protection offered by a dashcam, you’ll have to spare a few more dollars for an extra. There may be choices for every budget, but we’re not sure everyone would be keen on buying a second device.

Insurance premium is not universal yet

European dashcam owners have it better than their North American counterparts. If you’ve heard from buddies across the pond that you’ll be offered insurance discounts if you have a dashcam installed, then you are bound for disappointment. Companies justify this by arguing that a possession of the device offers little to nothing in improving your driving, so a discount should not be due.

How much is a dashcam?

You may have noticed that price was not really mentioned in either pros or cons. If you are wondering whether you can squeeze in a dashcam purchase, then you’ll be happy to know that there is an option for every budget. You will just have to consider which features are necessary. Others have GPS, wide angles, lane change notifications besides the already granted collision and motion sensors. Some can even be hardwired to your car.

The prices for dashcams fall in between $50 to $500 — generally, the dashcams become more expensive with higher quality of videos and more features.

Are dashcams worth it?

We’ll say that yes, it is worth it. 

If you have the means then it would not hurt to have one, right? They are still not made necessary yet in today’s standards, but we sure would feel more secure with one monitoring our vehicles. 

William

This article is written by William Johnson, the founder of RRD. William is passionate about radar detectors. His interest in reviewing and testing radar detectors from different brands started nearly 10 years ago, when his own radar detector then (a cheap and brand-less detector he bought online) failed to detect and radar gun nearby.
William

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