Underwriters calculate car insurance rates with your driving habits, history and age in mind, but there are already installed safety features that can shave off additional dollars and cents. Is your vehicle an automotive treasure trove of savings? Does your agent know?
Daytime Running Lights
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) defines daytime running lights as continuously lit headlights. Suitable for preventing daytime crashes, these lights make it easier for drivers to see vehicles that are still far off. Canada and the European Union already mandate the use of these lights; the United States does not.
Nevertheless, this option has been available to American drivers since 1995 and is now a standard feature on General Motors’ cars. Insurance companies — including State Farm — generally offer a three percent discount on all policies for cars with daytime running lights.
Drivers realize that anti-lock brakes assist in maintaining steering control and vehicle stability on slippery or wet roads. They are not as effective in dry conditions. Anti-lock brakes are standard on some vehicles and light trucks, especially in states where severe winter weather makes roads dangerous to travel. Allstate Insurance offers a 10 percent discount on its policies, if your car is outfitted with this braking system.
Passive Restraints & Airbags
Motorized seatbelt restraints and standard airbags net the driver a 30 percent discount when insuring with Allstate. Side airbags are not mandated by the federal government, even as frontal airbags have been the law of the land since 1999. Hartford Insurance is more circumspect and lists an 8.5 percent discount for California drivers with airbags installed — but only on uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and also medical payments options.
Built-in Anti-theft Technology
Rather than rewarding the installation of an after-market alarm system, which is by and large ignored when sounded in a parking lot, insurers are willing to cut deals for motorists with factory-installed permanent anti-theft systems. Hartford offers a nine percent discount on comprehensive policies, if the vehicle features a fuel or ignition shut-off. A LoJack can reduce the policy by approximately 18 percent. Allstate caps the reduction at 10 percent.
Does Your Agent know?
Of course, none of these nifty features will have any effect on your car insurance rate, if you do not alert your insurance agent to their presence. Even though most agents know to ask about these auto safety features, some neglect to go through a list of policy-reducing options. Do not leave your car insurance cost to chance and bring up the list of safety features yourself.