The use of vehicle ‘dash cams’ is now pretty widespread, and the costs of buying and running the systems has fallen, yet many insurers and fleet operators are still missing a trick and are yet to catch on to the benefits. A decent camera can now be bought ‘off the shelf’ for under £100, but are these camera’s up to scratch for a business operating a fleet? Mathew Rowles from Malago Insurance Brokers and Phil Murphy from Wise Procurement look at the options available.
Mathew Rowles – Malago Insurance Brokers Ltd
Malago like to look at things very differently when it comes to arranging insurance for their customers. With Fleet cover, the trick to lower premiums is to lower claims costs. We feel that dash cams play a useful part with this for little investment – quite simply they can prove what actually happened in the event of an accident so this can prevent cost incurring disputes and will help combat fraud.
We’ve got our hands on the latest and very popular Nextbase 412 GW camera which we’ve been testing. You can pick one up for about £100 – £120 and we think it’s a nifty piece of kit for what it costs.
The camera fits nicely behind the rear-view mirror so the driver hardly notices it there. It’s probably worth an additional investment to get it professionally fitted so that it frees up your power socket and you don’t have any unsightly wires. The camera boasts Quad HD 1440P recording and, I have to say, the image quality is impressive both on the cameras own screen or on a PC. The 140 degree wide angle lens gives you great area coverage and the GPS fitted is able to log your location and MPH. You can view footage from the camera via a smartphone app with the cameras WIFI although Nextbase admit there is still some development to do with the app. Footage is recorded to an SD card in small clips – you should get around 4 hours footage with a 32gb card and the camera should protect any clips where it senses an impact to prevent it being recorded over (we haven’t tested this bit!).
We are impressed with the Nextbase unit – but is it man enough for a big fleet operator?
Phil Murphy – Wise Procurement
Wise Procurement are independent vehicle technology consultants, so we deal with a wide range of camera solutions for fleets of various sizes. When vehicle cameras first started to appear in the UK there were only SD card cameras available. This was fine if you just wanted to be able to download footage after a collision, but they did have their limitations. SD Cards are the cheapest way of storing data but they are prone to becoming corrupted, meaning they may have stopped recording without you knowing it. The manufacturers advise that you should remove and reformat the SD cards every 2 – 6 weeks, this is fine if you just have one or two vehicles, but it’s not practical if you have many more than that. Also, if a fleet is having lots of ‘fault’ accidents, then seeing the footage after the event is helpful from a training/disciplinary point of view, but cameras should really be used as a vital tool in preventing collisions happening in the first place.
3G ‘Instant Notification’ Cameras.
Modern fleets are now adopting 3G vehicle Cameras. These cameras have a sim card included and will email footage to the fleet operator in the event of any harsh driving incidents. This means if a driver is constantly harsh braking or tailgating for instance, you will be able to remotely view the clips as they happen. This allows you to contact the driver in question to make sure they immediately stop these poor driving behaviours, therefore reducing the risk of them having the next fault accident. Prevention, rather than cure is the way to reduce insurance premiums in the long run.
3G cameras also use SD Cards to store the captured footage, however the SD cards are monitored remotely and will alert you if a card needs reformatting or replacing. This is ideal if you are a fleet operator with more than a few vehicles, especially if you have vehicles that are often away from your office for long periods of time. Most 3G Cameras systems also offer live tracking and reporting, some also have driver league tables and driver coaching tools. The price based on a three year lease would be under £20 per vehicle, per month, but there is the option to purchase the cameras if that is preferable.
We have looked at SD Card cameras and 3G ‘Instant Notification’ Cameras, the choice of what is right for you is dependent on your fleet size and budget. If you just want to get a camera for your own vehicle or for a small, manageable fleet to provide evidence in the event of a collision, then the Nextbase 412 GW could be a great option for you. However, if you are looking at introducing cameras to your fleet to improve your claims history, to actively improve driver behaviour and to ultimately reduce your fleet insurance costs, then a 3G camera solution would be a better choice for you.
To discuss your fleet insurance and to find out how investing in camera technology could reduce your premiums, contact Mathew on 01278 227775 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in discussing vehicle camera solutions and would like free and independent advice, please contact Phil on 02921 900 000 or email email@example.com to arrange a discovery call.