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A welcome spy in the cab?

Sadly, many motorists will have experienced an accident that was not their fault and yet ended up losing their no-claims bonus. There are certain accidents where the insurance industry is able to find fault relatively easily, such as a rear end shunt, but for many more it is far harder to determine who is to blame. Unless there is a witness, or maybe more than one, it is often just your word against the other driver.

Sadly, many motorists will have experienced an accident that was not their fault and yet ended up losing their no-claims bonus. There are certain accidents where the insurance industry is able to find fault relatively easily, such as a rear end shunt, but for many more it is far harder to determine who is to blame. Unless there is a witness, or maybe more than one, it is often just your word against the other driver. Sometimes police investigators can determine who was at fault from evidence at the scene but these occasions are relatively rare. Far more often, the respective insurance companies just decide to share the blame and the costs. That can leave innocent motorists raging and it can also leave them with increased premiums through no fault of their own. In the haulage industry the stakes are even higher, with huge insurance premiums and costly vehicles. The lorry drivers have worked out a solution, though and it is one that could soon be widely adopted by motorists.

Haulage companies are increasingly using on-board video cameras to fight against fraudulent insurance claims. These cameras are discreetly attached to the windscreen and constantly film the road ahead through a 170 degree lens. In the event of an accident, the footage can be presented as evidence, to counter false accusations and present a clear picture of what actually occurred. The camera units have already been hugely effective, with just one provider claiming that their system has saved insurers £20 million by reducing fraudulent claims. The systems have also been used in taxis, with group insurance director of the Markerstudy Group, Gary Humphreys, saying: "We've seen the benefits that in-car cameras can bring, particularly for taxi drivers, in helping to protect against false insurance claims, proving fault following an accident and reducing the cost of premiums. We also offer a policy to private fleets, meaning we can give competitive quotes to those who otherwise would be paying high premiums. We've had such success with these cameras we're looking into introducing it to private car, commercial vehicle and motorcycle customers."

Private motorists are increasingly being targeted by scam artists who lure them into accidents in order to claim the insurance money. Tricks include flashing headlamps at drivers who would normally not have the right of way, to encourage them to pull out. The scammer then deliberately collides with the car, denies flashing his lights and points to the right of way. Other scammers remove brake lights to encourage rear end collisions. Scams like these would easily be uncovered by the cameras, eliminating the false claims.

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