When you’re buying van insurance, it’s to make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident. Your insurance company will deal with any claims that may arise – and more and more, insurance companies are able to use dashcam footage to investigate the circumstance of any collision.
Dashcams can help provide peace of mind at what would otherwise be a troubling time. They start at less than the price of a tank of diesel, and go up to several hundred euro. So what’s the difference between cheap ones and expensive ones? What should you look out for when buying a dashcam? Let us guide you through it….
What to consider when buying a dashcam
There are several key points to look out for when buying a dashcam:
- Video quality. Full HD is now commonplace, so make sure the unit is 1080p. It doesn’t add significantly to the price, and is far better than having grainy, low-res footage.
- Viewing angle. Many cheaper dashcams are built with cars in mind. As vans generally have a larger windscreen, it’s better to go for a bigger viewing angle. 140° should be the minimum.
- Shock sensor & auto-store. Put simply, this means the camera will automatically detect any impact, and will store the footage leading up to it. Pay attention to the timeframe of the footage it will store. More versatile cameras will allow you to set this yourself. Cheaper versions may have a fixed timeframe of 15 seconds or 30 seconds (recommended).
- Auto-loop. This is where old footage is automatically overwritten if nothing untoward occurs. It’s a very handy feature as it means you don’t have to manually delete unwated footage yourself.
- Ease of installation. Cheaper cameras tend to be basically ‘plug and play’ – plug the cable into the cigarette lighter, stick the camera to the windscreen or top of the dashboard, and away you go. More expensive options may be hardwired and require professional installation. Think about how permanent a feature the dashcam will be – and also, how long you’ll have the van!
- Mounting options. Basically, where can your dashcam go? Options include sitting on top of the dashboard, stuck to the windscreen with suction holders, or clipped to your rear view mirror. Generally speaking, the rear view mirror option is best. The camera itself sees more, and it doesn’t sit in your line of sight. Remember to ask about this when buying a dashcam.
- Length of cable. If choosing a ‘plug and play’ dashcam, to mount it to your mirror, get one with a longer cable. This will allow you to loop it around the windscreen, instead of having a wire dangling in your field of vision.
- Single lens or double lens. Basically, a single lens camera will record what’s in front of your van. A double lens normally means a second camera device for the back of your vehicle, to record what happens behind too. These generally need to be hardwired, and are obviously more expensive. Remember too that a rear view camera isn’t really an option if your van doesn’t have glass in its back doors anyway!
Optional extras when buying a dashcam
The items above are all things you’ll need to consider when buying a dashcam. Now we move on to some optional extras:
- GPS. This will pinpoint the exact location and time of any collision or other incident. More importantly, it will also give an accurate record of the speed you were travelling at. This can make all the difference in any claim or investigation.
- Parking mode. A dashcam with parking mode will continue to operate in the background while your van is parked. This means it can capture and automatically store footage of anything that may hit your parked vehicle. It’s a low power function, so it doesn’t unduly run down your van’s battery while the ignition is off.
- Live feed. Some dashcams have a small screen that show what it is recording. They’re useful to make sure the camera is lined up properly, and also if you wish to easily play back a certain incident. This is not an essential feature though, so consider if it is worth the extra cost.
- Wifi & Bluetooth capability. Some dashcams allow you to use wifi and/or Bluetooth to transfer footage to other devices. This is obviously very useful – but again, it can add to the cost.
Benefits of buying a dashcam
Benefits of buying a dashcam include:
- Footage provides evidence in the event of an accident.
- They can help cut down on insurance fraud – e.g. if somebody deliberately drives into you, and then claims you were at fault.
- They allow you to monitor how other people drive when using your van. This can be important if you manage a fleet, and are responsible for fleet insurance.
- You can identify and report bad drivers if you see irresponsible and/or dangerous behaviour on the roads.
So, thinking of buying a dashcam? We hope you find our guide useful – and we hope you think of us again when you’re next taking out van insurance.
We deal with all the major insurance providers in Ireland to get you the best quote. We regularly deliver savings of 25% or more.
Other benefits of choosing us for your van insurance include:
- Windscreen cover *
- Breakdown/Roadside assistance *
- Legal expenses cover *
- Cover for driving other commercial vehicles *
- Mirror No Claims Bonus from your commercial vehicles or private car, to help save you even more
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- Contents cover available
- Open Driving cover available
- Irish-based contact centre to deal with your policy and answer any questions
- Low price and excellent customer service guarantee
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