If you’re a fan of the show Cops, you know that dash cams can be quite entertaining, but there’s another reason why they are important.
Money expert Clark Howard is a big proponent of everyone having a dash cam.
Clark Howard: Here’s why you should have a dash cam
“Dash cams are a common thing in virtually every single car in a lot of countries in central and eastern Europe and routinely in vehicles in Asia. And now they’re growing in popularity by leaps and bounds in the United States,” Clark says.
Dash cams, which are cameras typically attached to your windshield, are no longer exclusive to police cruisers. Everyday citizens can own and mount them in their vehicles.
They usually come with an SD card that will cost you anywhere from $5 to $15. You can plug them into your USB port or cigarette lighter in your car.
Clark says he likes dash cams because they continuously loop-record video.
“The most sophisticated dash cams stamp real-time location and time data” into the video. “They also can tell when you’re in an accident and it can automatically create a permanent record of the crash,” Clark says.
3 instances where dash cams are invaluable
Three areas where dash cams can make all the difference in the world as if you’re involved in a crash, have an inexperienced driver in your home or if you’re afraid the mechanic is going to rip you off.
Let’s talk about each of these instances:
In car crashes
People’s recollections of an auto accident can vary tremendously, even if they’re trying to remember in good faith, Clark says. The dash cam video, on the other hand, will have all the facts.
If you’re in an accident and you claim you’re not at fault, dash cam video can prove it.
Clark says that if you’re in a crash, having a dash cam tell your story is far more valuable than relying on your memory — or that of another person.
“I look at them as ultra-cheap insurance,” Clark says.
“I particularly recommend these for people who have a tendency to drive more cautiously,” he says.
To aid parents
Many people use dash cams to monitor their teenage drivers.
“If you have a new driver in the house — a teenager — there are more expensive dash cams that monitor what your teen is doing behind the wheel as well as what’s going on around that vehicle,” Clark says.
To help you watch an unscrupulous mechanic
There are shade-tree mechanics, then there are shady mechanics. A dash cam can help you keep an eye on the latter.
Some people have set up dash cams to record how long it takes for their vehicle to be serviced, and you might be surprised with what they’ve learned.
According to TV news station KCRA, one customer in California who put a camera in his car caught a mechanic taking his vehicle out for a joy ride. Here’s footage:
As you can see, owning a dash cam can come in handy for a number of things that affect your wallet!
Where to buy dash cams
If you’re interested in purchasing a dash cam, Clark.com’s sister site ClarkDeals.com routinely has sales on dash cams.
More Clark.com stories you may like:
- How to buy a new car in 5 steps
- Buying gas from a station on this list is better for your car
- Best and worst auto insurance companies
Clark’s take: Why everyone should have a dash cam