Can Airbags Lower Your Auto Insurance Rates?

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Certain safety features can lower insurance premiums. But does having airbags really lead to lower insurance premiums?

Do car insurance companies reward you for having airbags? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about the connection between insurance premiums and airbags.

Can Airbags Lower Your Auto Insurance Rates?

Yes, Airbags Can Lead to Lower Insurance Premiums

Inflatable airbags for drivers and passengers have been required on all new vehicles since 1999.  However, to this day, many insurance companies continue to give discounts for airbags.

Some of these discounts are provided indirectly. A car with a better safety rating, for example, will have lower insurance costs than a car with a poorer safety rating – and airbags are a big part of a strong safety rating.

Other airbag discounts are direct: some insurance companies will give discounts of 2% to 10% for side airbags, for example. Others give discounts of up to 30% for curtain bags, driver seat airbags, seat belt inflatables, and other airbags in non-standard locations.

No car insurance companies give significant discounts for having the legally required airbags in the driver and front passenger seats. However, discounts may be available for airbags in non-standard locations in the vehicle.

Overall, you can expect to save a little bit of money on car insurance just for having the legally-required airbags – including the driver and front passenger airbags. You can save even more money, however, for having non-standard airbags in places where they’re not legally required – but still proven to prevent injury. Airbag discounts can be anywhere from 2% to 30%.

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Why Do Car Insurance Companies Give Discounts for Airbags?

Car insurance companies give discounts for airbags and other safety features for good reason: they reduce the risk of serious injury.

Let’s say you’re on a family vacation driving through the mountains. A deer jumps in front of your SUV. You swerve to avoid it, causing your SUV to roll down the bank.  Your kids in the back avoid injury because of the rear passenger airbags. You avoid chest injuries because of the seat-belt inflatables. Everyone is relatively unscathed because of airbags and other safety features. Instead of the insurance company having to pay, say $100,000 to cover the medical bills of everyone’s injuries, the insurance company doesn’t even have to cover a hospital visit.

This is an extreme case, and airbags don’t 100% prevent injury in all situations. However, airbags do have a proven ability to reduce the risk of injury, which is why they are legally required on all new vehicles.

Other Safety Features Can Reduce Insurance Premiums Even Further

Airbags are one of several safety features linked with reduced car insurance premiums. Other safety features that can lower insurance premiums include:

In some states, insurance companies are actually required to give discounts for certain safety features. Anti-lock brakes have been available on vehicles since the 1970s, for example, but only became mandatory as standard equipment on vehicles in 2012 in the United States. Certain states require insurance companies to provide discounts of 5% to 10% for anti-lock brakes.

What About Discounts for Modern Safety Features?

Today’s vehicles have moved far beyond airbags and anti-lock brakes. Modern vehicles now have lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems, or even completely autonomous driving capabilities.

These features may be linked with reduced accident risk. However, no major insurance company currently offers a discount for these modern safety features.

Of course, these new vehicle safety features can still reduce insurance premiums indirectly. If they help you avoid one accident, for example, then you can avoid paying higher insurance premiums for years into the future.

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Final Word

Airbags have been legally required on vehicles in the United States since 1999. Today, most insurance companies don’t offer significant discounts just for having driver and front passenger airbags. However, discounts are more common for side airbags, seat belt inflatables, curtain bags, driver seat airbags, and other non-standard airbags. Certain insurance companies offer discounts as high as 30% for these airbags.

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