Can Anti-Lock Brakes Lower 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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Anti-lock brakes have been a required standard feature on all new cars since 2000. But do insurance companies give you a discount for having an anti-lock braking system (ABS)? Do anti-lock brakes really lower insurance rates?

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about anti-lock brakes and car insurance discounts.

anti-lock brake car insurance discount

Some Car Insurance Companies Give a Small Discount for Anti-Lock Brakes

You may be able to get a small discount on car insurance with anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock brakes are a proven way to reduce the risk of a collision. A car with anti-lock brakes is less likely to be involved in a crash than a car without anti-lock brakes, all other things being equal.

Don’t expect to get a big discount with anti-lock brakes. The United States has required anti-lock brakes on all new cars since September 1, 2001. It’s been a standard feature on all new vehicles for twenty years.

Today, it’s rare to find a car without anti-lock brakes. However, if you do own an older vehicle, you may pay higher car insurance rates because your car does not have anti-lock brakes.

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How Big is the Car Insurance Discount for Anti-Lock Brakes?

Generally, you can expect to save somewhere between 3% and 10% with anti-lock brakes.

Because virtually all cars qualify for this discount, you’re unlikely to notice this discount when comparing car insurance rates between companies.

However, if you’re trying to buy car insurance for an older vehicle, you might notice premiums are slightly higher than they would be for a newer vehicle: the insurance company is charging you a 3% to 10% premium because you don’t have anti-lock brakes.

Is It Worth It to Add Anti-Lock Brakes to My Vehicle?

Some people pay to add anti-lock brakes to a vehicle. Anti-lock brakes make a vehicle safer. They enhance your car’s ability to brake.

Generally, however, it’s not a good investment to add anti-lock brakes exclusively for the insurance discount. Adding ABS to an older vehicle can cost up to $5,000.

At that price, it makes sense to buy a new vehicle that already has anti-lock brakes. However, if you’re particularly attached to an older vehicle, or plan to keep an older vehicle for a long period of time, then anti-lock brakes may be worth an investment (assuming you’re investing in your own safety and not planning on getting an ROI with car insurance savings).

How Do I Know If My Car Has Anti-Lock Brakes?

Any new car sold in the United States after September 2000 has anti-lock brakes as a standard feature.

However, if you want to double-check to make sure, then we recommend checking your owner’s manual.

Or, look at your dashboard when you start your car. You should see a yellow ABS indicator light up. This indicator will also appear when your ABS is activated – like when you slam down on the brakes on a slippery road.

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Types of Anti-Lock Braking Systems

There are two main types of anti-lock braking systems:

Four-Wheel: Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are used in most cars and minivans.

Back Wheel: Back wheel anti-lock brakes can be found in certain pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Generally, most vehicles sold today have four-wheel ABS systems. Studies have shown that four-wheel ABS systems are safer. Because of this, your insurance company may offer a steeper discount for four-wheel anti-lock brakes.

How Do Anti-Lock Brakes Work?

Anti-lock brakes first appeared on cars in the 1960s. Because of anti-lock brakes, your vehicle’s brakes will not lock up even when you slam on the brakes.

Holding down your vehicle’s brake pedal causes an excessive amount of brake fluid to be sent to the brakes, forcing them to lock up. Then, you lose control of your car.

Without anti-lock brakes, you would brake more efficiently by ‘pumping’ the brake – slamming your foot on the brake repeatedly to come to a stop.

However, many people forget about this ‘pumping’ rule in a scary situation – say, when their vehicle is rushing towards a brick wall or sliding off a cliff edge.

Anti-lock brakes avoid this problem. They let you enjoy the benefits of pumping the brakes without actually pumping the brakes yourself. You can slam your foot down on the brake pedal, and your anti-lock brake system will pump the brakes for you. Your anti-lock brakes also regulate the amount of brake fluid sent to your wheels, preventing them from locking up.

Ultimately, with anti-lock brakes, you have more control over your vehicle when braking.

Final Word

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are a standard feature on all new vehicles – and they’ve been a standard feature since September 2000. Insurance companies generally offer a discount for anti-lock brakes, and most cars on the road easily qualify for this discount.

Compare car insurance quotes today to ensure you’re paying the cheapest possible rates for car insurance on your vehicle with anti-lock brakes.

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