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With more motorists turning to in-car cameras for electronic surveillance on the road, we show you what to look out for when buying one.

Category: Car Ownership Advice

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Accidents can happen, no matter how much effort we put into avoiding them. All it takes is for another motorist to make
a careless error, and even the most skilled and careful driver
can end up in a fender-bender. 

After the Motor Claims Framework was introduced in 2008, all policy holders must report every accident, regardless of the severity, to their insurer

Minor mishaps used to be less stressful. If the incident left the vehicles in question with minor scratches or small dents, the matter could be quickly (and privately) settled if one party compensated the other. You only needed to inform your insurer if the damage was bad.

But things changed. In 2008, the General Insurance
Association of Singapore (GIA) introduced the Motor Claims Framework (MCF), which requires all policyholders to report every accident - no matter how minor - to their insurer.

This regulation came about as a result of the growing number of drivers who would later file exaggerated claims for 'grievous injuries' sustained in accidents.

To cope with the higher payouts that were affecting their bottom line, insurance firms started charging steeper premiums to all motorists - even those who had never made a claim weren't spared. 

For protection, drivers began installing in-car cameras in their vehicles, using the recorded footage (which is typically stored on SD or micro SD cards) to combat fraudulent claims filed against them by unscrupulous parties. 
The popularity of in-car cameras also took off following that infamous Ferrari accident - which was captured by a taxi's in-car recorder - at the junction of Victoria Street and Rochor Road last year. 

Also, in-car cameras have been a great aid to authorities in nabbing errant drivers. One such example is the 'Honda Civic road bully' case, where the driver was caught driving recklessly on two videos.  

In the 'Honda Civic road bully' case, authorities used video footages to help nab the culprit

Here are some handy tips to help you decide which camera to purchase:

Tip 1: Pixels Matter

The first and most important consideration when it comes to choosing an in-car camera is its resolution, which is expressed in terms of the number of pixels per square inch. A device with a 1080i format is definitely better than one only capable of 720i, because having more pixels per square inch means clearer videos. 

It would be best, however, to opt for a High-Definition (HD) camera, which has a resolution of 1080p. The difference between 1080i and 1080p lies in their playback - the 'i' rating in the former refers to interlaced video, while the 'p' in the latter refers to progressive scan.
Torque The article first appeared in the March 2013 issue of Torque. Log on to their website to subscribe.
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