Safety Features in Cars – Do They Impact Insurance Rates?

Rearview backup camera in vehicle

Many drivers look for ways to keep their auto insurance rates low. Oftentimes, car owners believe that certain safety features will help to reduce their insurance rate.

Before you worry about lane departure systems and back-up cameras, understand that insurance rates depend on so much more than how safe your vehicle is. Factors such as whether these products actually reduce accidents and injury, and how much they cost to repair, influence insurance rates across the nation.

You’re better off investing in safety features for your own safety rather than the impact it will have on your insurance rates. However, there are a couple of features you can ensure your car has in order to potentially reduce your rate.

Keep reading to find out how safety features in cars impact insurance rates and what you can do to possibly lower your premiums:

Will Safety Features Guarantee Me a Reduced Rate?

The truth is, insurance companies are primarily concerned with the basic safety features that come standard on most newer vehicles, such as:

  • Seatbelts
  • Airbags
  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Electronic stability control
  • Daytime running lights

While these may seem like common sense features, they can be advantageous for you if you are looking to purchase a new car. Having these features in place can help save you money on your auto insurance.

Ultimately, whether or not you receive a discount for advanced safety features is at the discretion of the insurer. There are no safety features, other than the basics mentioned above, that can guarantee you a reduced rate.

Every insurance company operates differently, so it’s important to speak to an experienced broker to find out if they take into account any specific safety features when calculating your rate.

Why Aren’t Insurance Companies Giving Discounts for Advanced Safety Features?

Advanced technology is expensive to fix. For example, a bumper repair used to be relatively cheap. Now, with technology such as back-up cameras and sensors stored, the cost to replace a bumper has skyrocketed. Not only does the physical technology need to be replaced, but additional labor is needed to recalibrate sensors with the vehicle’s on-board computer. When calculating insurance rates, companies need to look at how effective this technology is to prevent accidents versus the cost of covering the repairs.

Another issue with many advanced safety features is the increase in distracted driving. Autonomous features, such as automatic emergency braking, collision warning, and lane departure warnings seem to imply that drivers no longer need to pay as close attention to their surroundings.

Leaving it up to an autonomous system to prevent an accident is risky. Many injuries and lawsuits have occurred because advanced safety features have done their job too well For example, your vehicle may have an emergency braking system. While merging onto a highway, the system misreads the vehicle in the next lane as a potential collision hazard and activates the system. While technically this is true, the sudden and unexpected braking could result in an unnecessary rear end collision with the car behind you.

While it wouldn’t be your fault per se, the insurance company would still have to cover the cost of repairs.

These factors are all taken into consideration by insurance companies when deciding whether or not advanced safety features are worth offering discounts for.

What Additional Safety Features Will Reduce My Insurance Rates?

Person using key fob to unlock a white car

If you are looking to make safety additions to your vehicle in order to reduce insurance rates, there are two features that many insurance companies will take into consideration when calculating your premiums:

1. Anti-Theft Devices

Did you know that automobile theft costs Canadians nearly $1 billion per year? Around $550 million of that is paid by insurers to fix or replace stolen cars. It’s no wonder that insurance companies love anti-theft devices.

Keep in mind, however, that anti-theft discounts are typically available for approved aftermarket devices. If you do plan on installing an aftermarket anti-theft device, check with your insurance broker to see what models qualify you for a reduced rate.

Ultimately, most cars already have anti-theft devices installed and this will be taken into account when calculating your insurance premiums.

2. Winter Tires

Canadians are no strangers to hazardous road conditions in the wintertime. Installing winter tires on your vehicle will not only protect you on the road but could reduce your insurance rates as well.

As soon as the temperature hits below 7 degrees Celsius, all-season tires are no good. Winter tires are made with a special compound that increase tire traction, stopping, and handling on cold and icy roads. 

Speak to your insurance broker about qualifying for a discount by installing winter tires and keeping them on from November until March. Like any safety feature, insurers will offer reduced rates at their own discretion.

Is Driving a Safer Car Worth It?

As of right now, the improvements in safety and accident avoidance are not significant enough to outweigh the cost to repair vehicles. However, this shouldn’t dissuade you from purchasing a safer vehicle simply because you can’t get a break on your insurance policy.

Some decisions shouldn’t be purely economical. If you have the opportunity to drive a vehicle that can help you prevent accidents, it may be worth it to avoid unnecessary accidents and insurance claims.

Don’t forget that every insurance company operates differently and some may be willing to reduce your rate based on your vehicle’s advanced safety features.

If you want to know more about what car insurance will cover and take into consideration when offering a reduced rate, feel free to reach out to our expert and knowledgeable insurance brokers at Capital Insurance. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have and address your car insurance concerns.

Let’s get in touch today!