The average American spends 2-4% of their annual income on auto insurance. Therefore, many can benefit from the multiple policy discounts offered to safe drivers, good students, families who bundle coverage, and owners of newer cars with advanced safety features like motion sensors and smart airbags.
Notably, previously groundbreaking technologies like anti-theft devices, GPS tracking, anti-lock braking, and much more have become commonplace and advanced with every year’s new line of cars. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, high-tech safety features have reduced serious car crashes by 49%, leading car insurance companies to pay significantly less in claims and charge lower premiums on compliant vehicles.
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Understanding How Insurers Assess Risk
When setting policy premiums, insurance companies determine their risk of paying a claim by calculating each driver’s personal details, including:
- Marital status
- Credit Score
- Residential address
- Violation and accident history
Additionally, insurers consider all relevant information about the vehicles you own and regularly operate. Typically, these companies will offer premium discounts for drivers of cars with advanced safety features proven to reduce the likelihood of an accident and affiliated insurance claim. Even when drivers crash these cars, technologies like automatic emergency braking and smart airbags can mitigate the severity of vehicular damage and bodily injury, reducing the insurer’s obligatory payout.
Safety Features That May Lower Your Premium
Advanced safety features that trigger insurance discounts include:
- Anti-lock brakes: These pump automatically during sudden stops to prevent skidding.
- Airbags: While first introduced in the 1970s, airbag systems can now include inflatable seatbelts, side airbags, pedestrian airbags, and smart airbags that deploy with appropriate force, reducing the severity of injuries and medical claims.
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC): ESC automatically activates wheel brakes individually to correct steering direction in slippery conditions.
- Adaptive headlights: Adaptive headlights use sensors and swivel to follow your turning radius, minimizing the likelihood of hitting crossing animals and pedestrians or driving off the road at night. Owners of such vehicles can receive a 2-10% insurance discount.
- Automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warnings: These systems sense and automatically stop cars from impending forward collisions under 40 MPH.
- Blind spot detection and lane departure warnings: Each has significantly lessened collision rates by notifying drivers of adjacent cars and accidental drifting.
- Backup cameras and parking sensors: Along with parking sensors, which audibly warn drivers of nearby obstacles, rear-view cameras have widely reduced minor parking accidents since becoming mandatory in 2018.
- Telematics and driver monitoring systems: Telematics devices allow insurers to monitor customer habits and reward safe and infrequent drivers with relative discounts.
- Other features: Tire pressure monitoring, adaptive cruise control, GPS tracking, and anti-theft devices further reduce the likelihood and magnitude of insurance claims.
How to Get a Discount on Your Car Insurance
You must directly inform your insurer of your car’s safety features to ensure you receive the applicable discounts on your insurance contract. Regularly review your policy agreement and ask your insurance agent about safety discounts you might not know about. Likewise, if you drive irregularly, explain your low usage or request a telematics monitoring device to prove your reliability and safe driving habits.
If your current insurer does not offer favorable discounts, request and compare multiple quotes from competing companies. All insurance carriers determine risk according to unique formulas, leaving some to provide higher savings incentives on certain features over others. Take the time to find an affordable policy that best matches your vehicle’s safety information and personal needs.
Balancing the Cost
While cars with advanced safety features can trigger lower insurance premiums, these vehicles typically cost significantly more than used cars or benchmark contemporary models with fewer technological enhancements. Likewise, due to the high price of manufacturing parts, repair expenses generally skew higher for vehicles with advanced computers and electronic systems.
For example, whereas a standard windshield typically costs around $200, replacing and recalibrating collision sensors and cameras on a modernized windshield can cost drivers upwards of $2,000 for an entirely new fixture. Regardless, these advanced technologies can prevent serious harm to friends and family members in otherwise fatal car accidents, providing an invaluable return on your investments.
Stay Informed About Possible Discounts on Your Insurance
As car safety features continue to progress, stay informed about new technologies and their effect on the insurance industry. All in all, purchasing a vehicle with advanced controls and collision sensors can not only protect yourself and your family from harm but potentially save you money on auto insurance premiums.
If you cannot afford a modern car, remember that many older models still include now-standardized technologies like backup cameras, side airbags, GPS tracking, and anti-theft devices that offer relative protection and insurance incentives. To maximize potential savings, shop around, compare insurers, and take advantage of supplemental discounts by bundling coverage, increasing your deductible, or enrolling in a policy with telematics monitoring.