Amazing Safety Features, But Will They Save You Money On Car Insurance?
In today’s world of revolutionary technology there’re all sorts of high-tech safety features available on the latest model vehicles being currently being offered at your local dealer showrooms. But, do they qualify you for additional safety equipment discounts on your car insurance premiums? Sadly, the answer is probably not!
While there’s no doubt that these awesome new safety upgrades can give you a safer ride, with features such as rear-view cameras, adaptive cruise control which monitors the speed and conditions of the traffic around you and automatically adjusts the brakes and speed to maintain safe distances from the car in front of you, to the collision avoidance sensors that recognize hazardous conditions in example approaching the car ahead of you too rapidly and applying the brakes or taking protective actions if your car begins skidding, or how about lane departure warnings if you should begin drifting out of your lane, awesome right. Perhaps the only thing safer is the cars that do the driving for you!
But, unfortunately all the bells and whistles won’t help lower your insurance rates in most cases. Typically insurance companies don’t pass along any safety feature discounts to their customers until after years of analyzing insurance claims data proves that the safety technology has in fact reduced the number of insurance claims filed.
Which Safety Features Will Save You Money On Your Insurance Premiums?
There’s no sure answer to this question, as insurance companies vary from one to another, so you’ll have to check with each company you get quotes on auto insurance from.
Below is a list of safety features that most likely will qualify for a premium discount:
- Anti-lock Brakes – Anti-lock brakes first appeared in the 1970’s primarily on the higher priced vehicles, by the end of the 80’s anti-lock brakes were now seen on most all models. Then the federal government stepped in and required auto manufacturers to include anti-lock brakes as “standard equipment” on all passenger cars from the model year 2012 and beyond. The discount from insurers varies from state to state and one insurer to another; comparison shopping is the key here.
- Air Bags – Since 1999 frontal and side impact air bags have been required as “standard equipment” on nearly all passenger motor vehicles since model year 1999 going forward. Although some models feature inflatable safety belts and/or rear-window curtain type air bags for rear passenger protection, these type air bags aren’t required by the federal government as a required “standard equipment” feature. In general, in terms of discounts in premium costs for air bags the rule of thumb is the more air bags you have in your vehicle, the bigger your discount will be. However, once again discounts vary from one insurer to another, so be sure to comparison shop.
- Automatic Daytime Running Lights – These are lights that automatically come on and off when the car is started and turned off, and are believed to help reduce daytime front end and front-corner collisions. Since 1995, most manufacturers are making this a standard feature on many of their models, but it isn’t a requirement (so far) as “standard equipment” by the federal government. Insurers (only some) may offer a nominal discount for automatic daytime running lights, check with your prospective insurers because every little discount helps, even if it’s only 1%.
- Electronic Stability Control Systems – In 2012, and all models going forward, the federal government began requiring on all automobiles, minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks, electronic stability control systems as “standard equipment.” This safety feature utilizes sensors and a computer system to help prevent driver’s vehicles from skidding out of control and flipping over when the driver encounters slippery roads and are forced to make hard to steer turns in these hazardous conditions. The computer observes how the vehicle is responding to the steering hazard(s) and automatically applies breaking pressure to maintain control over the vehicle and prevent rolling. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute the insurance claims payouts for collision coverage were reduced about 15 percent for vehicles that had electronic stability control systems, as opposed to those that didn’t have the computer sensors. Insurers that offer a discount for having this safety feature typically offer a discount in your collision coverage costs, check with your insurers.
- Automatic Seat Belts – From the year 1990 and forward, the federal government required as “standard equipment” air bags or automatic seat belt restraints on all passenger motor vehicles. The automatic seat belt restraints, which fastened automatically when the vehicle was started or the door closed, was primarily phased out in 1998 by manufacturers as they made air bags the replacement for automatic seat belts. However, if your car does have automatic seat belts, insurers typically will allow the identical discount for automatic seat belts as they do for the more modern replacement, air bags.
As to whether or not safety features are a good investment, well that’s a very subjective question. In terms of getting a good return on your investment on the initial cost of the latest technology in safety upgrades the answer is probably not, that’s because it may be many years, if ever, the federal government includes them as mandatory “standard equipment” which means the price of these upgrades will be added to the sticker price of your vehicle.
But, when it comes to money well spent, some would say what better way to invest your money than doing all you can to ensure you and your loved ones safety … priceless. At the end of the day the choice is yours, and don’t forget to ask for all the discounts offered that you qualify for from each insurer you get quotes from and then compare!