Safety Features That Can Lower Your Car Insurance Rates

With car insurance rates seemingly becoming more and more expensive, customers are looking to cut back on costs in any way they can. Adding safety features to your vehicle is one of many ways you can lower your premiums. After all, the safer your car is, the less risky you will be to insure. Below, we will introduce five safety features that are proven to not only make you safer behind the wheel, but to give you huge car insurance discounts as well.

"Airbag2" by DaimlerChrysler AG. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Airbag2” by DaimlerChrysler AG. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock brakes come standard with almost all new vehicles in the United States. Chances are you won’t have to get them installed after-market. Anti-lock braking systems, or ABS, help prevent your car from skidding by maintaining tracking between your car’s wheels and the road. These can help you immensely, especially in rainy or snowy conditions, as they will help your car stop even if the roads are less than ideal.

Like stated above, most vehicles today come equipped with ABS.  In fact, the federal government (as of 2012) requires all cars to include anti-lock brakes in all standard passenger vehicles. To make sure your car has this feature, look for a yellow light that flashes on your control panel when your car is started. If you can’t find it, please refer to your car’s instruction manual.

Most car insurance companies give discounts for having anti-lock brakes. Florida, New York, and New Jersey require all insurers to give discounts for this feature. GEICO and 21st Century are known to offer a 5% discount for having ABS. Allstate is known for offering a whopping 10% discount.

Air Bags

Like anti-lock brakes, air bags come standard in most vehicles. Starting in 1998, the federal government requires all light vehicles to have dual front airbags. If your vehicle is still without air bags, you are in the minority and should definitely consider getting them installed (or getting a new vehicle) for the added safety benefits and also for the insurance discounts.

Side air bags, specifically, have been shown to offer a huge benefit when it comes to preventing injury and/or death in an auto accident. According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, drivers that have “good” side impact protection are 70% less likely to die in a crash than drivers whose cars have “poor” ratings.

Because of the extra safety that comes with certain types of air bags, insurance companies give huge benefits for having them installed. GEICO offers 25% off medical payments for side air bags and as much as 40% for full front-seat air bags. Esurance offers up to 33% off medical payments depending on the type of airbag. State Farm also offers heavy discounts. To check which discounts you qualify for, speak with your car insurance agent.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic stability control systems are there to prevent your car from skidding out of control or rolling over. Starting in 2012, all vehicles are required to have this feature installed. Electronic stability control (ESC) is especially important for SUVs and other vehicles at high risk for rollovers.

ESC systems are computer controlled and use sensors to monitor how the vehicle turns and responds to steering. If your car starts moving in a different direction than the direction you are steering, the system will determine that you are losing control and will make appropriate adjustments. With this technology, ESC has prevented countless accidents and has even been called the “most important safety advance since the development of the safety belt.”

According to the Insurance Research Council, cars with ESC installed can expect to pay 15% less than cars without it when it comes to insurance claim payouts. Because of this, most insurers will give you a significant discount if your car has this feature installed.

Anti-Theft Systems

Anti-theft devices, such as alarms, navigation systems, lo-jack, etc., can prevent your car from being stolen. These features appeal to insurers because if your car gets stolen, the insurance company will be on the hook for thousands of dollars. Many insurance companies offer up to a 10-25% discounts to customers who have these preventative systems installed. Anything that makes your car a less likely target for thieves makes you a less risky investment, so if you have any of these features, call up your insurance agent and ask for your discount!

Daytime Running Lights

Daytime running lights, which automatically flick on once your car starts, makes your car more visible. It does not matter if it’s nighttime or daytime, these lights will automatically illuminate as long as your engine starts. It may seem counterintuitive or even wasteful to have lights turned on even when the sun is out, but these lights have been proven to increase your safety. They make your car more visible to other drivers and pedestrians at all hours of the day.

Automobile manufacturers began offering daytime running lights in 1995, and since then, they have grown increasingly popular. Nowadays, many cars come standard with this lighting, and in the European Union and Canada, this feature is required on all new vehicles.

Insurance companies have been known to offer small discounts for daytime running lights. GEICO, for example, offers a 1% discount if you have them installed. Next time you talk to your insurance company, be sure to inquire about this discount.

Final Note

Adding more safety features to your vehicle is never a bad thing. The safer you are on the road, the better. Insurance companies feel the same way. Depending on the state you live in and the insurance company you insure with, you could qualify for steep discounts if you install the safety features mentioned above. To take advantage of these money-saving deals, speak with your insurance agent today.

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