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An Explanation of How Safety Equipment Works with Car Insurance Discounts
Driving a car that has certain pieces of safety equipment is one of the fastest and easiest ways of getting a discount on your car insurance – primarily because each one reduces the odds that you’ll be in some kind of collision.
There are two types of safety equipment that your insurance company will take into account.
Passive Safety Equipment cover things like automatic seat belts, airbags, and any other features that are innate to the vehicle’s operations. These are seen as more valuable because they require little or no effort from the driver, decreasing the chances that they won’t be used.
Active Safety Features require some kind of action from the driver to use. This includes headlights that must be turned on manually, rear-view cameras, and everything else a driver needs to look at and respond to.
- Anti-Lock Braking Systems: These systems have significantly improved since the technology was first creates, and many of the systems are now mostly or entirely electronic. The more advanced the system is, the more likely it is that you’ll qualify for a discount on your premiums.
- Daytime Running Lights: Having the vehicle’s lights be on during the day makes you easier to see and reduces the odds you’ll be in a collision. In all honesty, the lights really aren’t for you – they’re for everyone else. New types of lights are also relevant, especially those that turn with the vehicle and adjust themselves based on your speed – and insurance companies will take notice of this.
- Blind-Spot Detection: We’ve yet to figure out a way to perfectly see all sides of the vehicle – though you can bet that auto companies are still looking for a way to do that. In the meantime, a blind-spot detection system flashes a warning whenever something’s in an area you probably can’t see – and that could help prevent you from running straight into them!
- Lane Departure Warning Systems: In a similar vein, we’ve all zoned out a bit when driving long distances. That’s not entirely your fault – driving can be hypnotizing, and LDWSs can let you know when you’re drifting too far to the side. This is the same reason that the edges of freeways often have bumps and grooves – a quick warning can wake you up and put you back on track.
- Rear-View Cameras: In 2014, a law was passed making it a requirement for all cars and light-duty trucks to have rear-view cameras by the 2019 model year. While these will be increasingly common – and perhaps factored into your insurance company’s offer – they’re not yet universal and need to be mentioned.
- Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems: These are effectively universal in all vehicles from 2008 on, simply because knowing when the pressure is getting low is so helpful for preventing blowouts and other problems.
Other relevant safety functions include anti-theft and vehicle-recovery systems, emergency response systems (somewhat less meaningful for insurance, which prefers to entirely avoid emergencies rather than respond to them), and anything else your owner’s manual lists.
Should You Mention These To Your Insurance Company?
Yes. If your insurance company has not already spoken to you about your vehicle’s safety systems, then they may not know which features are on the car… and you won’t be getting every possible discount. It doesn’t matter how universal you think the system is, or how small and irrelevant it might be – write it down and talk to your agent about it.
Besides, there’s another benefit to this – talking with your agent helps you know what the features are… and someday, that knowledge could save your life.
The Vehicles With The Highest Safety Ratings
New vehicles come out very frequently, so this list is never static. However, the following recent vehicles have achieved excellent overall ratings – and you can find more information on the safety ratings for various models at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping improve overall highway safety.
Note: Not all safety features come standard – check the features before buying.
- 2015 Lexus CT 200h
- 2015 Mazda 3
- 2015 Subaru Crosstrek
- 2015 Subaru Impreza
- 2015 Toyota Prius
- 2015 Acura TLX
- 2015 Audi A3
- 2015 BMW 2 series
- 2015 Chrysler 200
- 2015 Infiniti Q50
- 2015-16 Mazda 6 four-door sedan
- 2015 Subaru Legacy
- 2015 Subaru Outback
- 2015 Toyota Camry
- 2015 Toyota Prius v
- 2015 Volvo S60
- 2015 Volvo V60
- 2015 Acura RLX
- 2016 Audi A6
- 2015 Hyundai Genesis
- 2015 Infiniti Q70
- 2015 Lexus RC
- 2015 Mercedes E class
- 2015 Volvo S80
- 2015 Honda CR-V
- 2015-16 Mazda CX-5 four-door SUV
- 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander
- 2015 Subaru Forester
- 2015 Acura MDX
- 2015 Audi Q5
- 2015 Lexus NX
- 2015 Mercedes M class
- 2015 Nissan Murano
- 2015 Toyota Highlander
- 2015 Volvo XC60
- 2015 Toyota Sienna