5 Benefits of Owning a Dash Cam — and 4 Downsides

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Woman behind steering wheel of a car looking at the road with a passenger view of the dashboard and driving route on GPS
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More people are equipping their cars with dashboard cameras (dash cams), for a variety of reasons these days.

The market for these technology tools was at about $3.7 billion in 2022, according to an analysis from Grand View Research. The company expects more growth by 2030 as more people add dash cams to vehicles for safety and insurance reasons.

Could getting a dash cam help you lower costs and improve your car safety? Are there downsides you’re not prepared for? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of owning a dash cam.

1. Safety benefits

Dash cam closeup photo of installation with camera lens on car dashboard over windshield
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Some dash cams offer safety features that can be useful if your car doesn’t already have them.

For example, some dash cams offer collision warnings and parking help. This can increase your ability to drive safely and avoid fender benders.

2. Proving insurance claims

Two drivers examine damage after a car accident.
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Having a dash cam can help you prove insurance claims. Evidence offered by a dash cam might be the difference between having the other driver’s insurance cover your costs and being stuck with the bill.

3. Theft and vandalism deterrent

Car thief
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Car theft and vandalism can be caught by a dash cam, increasing odds you might recover your property.

Additionally, if the dash cam is highly visible, it can deter would-be thieves and vandals altogether, much the way some law enforcement agencies believe that a doorbell camera can help deter crime in a neighborhood.

4. Safer teen drivers

African American teen driving with his father.
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If your teen is getting ready to start driving, a dash cam might make them safer. According to research by Driver Technologies Inc., drivers with a dash cam were 11 times less likely to speed and four times less likely to run stoplights.

If you’re concerned about how a student driver might behave, letting them know the dash cam is installed and recording their driving could help.

5. Record better memories

Blue Ridge Parkway
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Don’t forget some of the fun aspects of having a dash cam. You can get great footage of a road trip, capturing the scenery while you drive.

Additionally, sometimes having a dash cam helps you capture surprising moments, such as when dash cam footage caught a meteor. You don’t have to pull over and fumble for your smartphone to capture memories from the road.

Potential downsides

Unhappy female driver
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While there are some advantages to having a dash cam, it’s important to consider some downsides before you purchase and install a device that could potentially spy on you.

1. Privacy concerns

Woman holding up hands to stop
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Dash cams might capture images, video and audio of passengers without their consent. It’s important to understand your state’s privacy and dash cam laws if you use one. Additionally, if the dash cam transmits data, there might be a chance that your own privacy could be violated.

2. Proving insurance claims

Upset man by smashed car.
Tom Wang / Shutterstock.com

Remember: Proving fault goes both ways. During an insurance investigation, your dash cam footage could be used to show that you (or your insurer) should pay the claim.

If that happens, you could see your premiums rise. That’s an ongoing cost, and you should weigh the possibility of it happening before getting excited about the dash cam.

3. Cost

Upset man with empty wallet
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Don’t forget that you have to buy the unit. Depending on what you want it to record or whether you want collision help, you could pay up to $700 or more. Even if you get a less expensive dash cam (some can be less than $100), don’t forget that there might be other up-front costs, such as buying the mount for your car or getting a memory card.

4. Subscription fees

Upset man worriedabout bills
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Depending on the dash cam you get or the service you want, there might be ongoing costs in the form of subscription fees. If the dash cam makes use of cloud storage, you might need to make sure you have those costs covered as well.

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