Among the many aspects insurance companies consider when building your car insurance policy are the age of your vehicle and its safety features. That’s because safety features – even older ones like anti-lock brakes – reduces your accident potential. And that means greater savings – for you and your insurance company.
The safety features that insurers often provide discounts for include anti-lock brakes, airbags, daytime running lights, tire pressure monitoring, and electronic stability control, among others.
Anti-Lock Brakes – Although the majority of the cars sold today come standard with anti-lock brakes, they still garner a discount from most insurance companies. If you’re not sure if your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, consult your owner’s manual.
Airbags – Airbags have been standard in new vehicles since 1999 but they still qualify for an insurance discount – and for good reason. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, airbags saved more than 28,000 lives in by January 2009.
Daytime Running Lights – Although they are a required standard safety feature in Canada and the European Union, daytime running lights are not required in the U.S. Because insurance companies look at data that points to anywhere from a 7-12 percent decline in crashes thanks to daytime running lights, having them will get you a nice insurance discount.
Tire Pressure Monitoring – Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) let you know when your tires are underinflated. This is important because underinflated tires cause accidents. In fact, the National Highway Safety Administration says that vehicles with underinflated tires are three times more likely to be involved in an accident.
A relatively new feature, tire pressure monitoring systems are not standard, but many new vehicles sold today do have them. To see if your vehicle does, consult your owner’s manual.
Electronic Stability Control – Electronic Stability Control (ESC) uses sensors and the car’s central computer to detect reduced traction and loss of steering control. Then, ESC manually applies the brakes and helps steer the vehicle based on driver intention.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that ESC can prevent one-third of fatal crashes and reduce rollovers by 80%, which is a big reason insurance companies offer a discount for vehicles with ESC.
Among the newer safety features on insurer’s radars are blind spot indicators, anti-sleep alarms and lane detection monitoring systems. If your car has any of these new safety features, make sure and ask your insurance company if they mean additional discounts. Note that many insurance companies use “rating symbols” that take these safety features into account without requiring proof from you.
This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.