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Do safety features lower car insurance?

Yes, safety features that help prevent serious accidents or property loss can lower your car insurance payments, but these discounts may not be worth the cost of a new high-tech car.

Andrew Hurst

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Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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By

Maria Filindras

Maria Filindras

Financial Advisor

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

Updated|2 min read

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It's common for insurance companies to offer discounts and lower premiums to cars with certain safety features that can help you avoid accidents. Most car insurance companies offer savings for features like:

  1. Anti-theft devices

  2. GPS tracking devices

  3. Daytime running lights

  4. Adaptive lights

  5. Lane-departure warnings

  6. Electronic stability control and anti-skid technology

  7. Motion-sensing mirrors or bumpers

Discounts for anti-theft technology and anti-lock brakes (which are standard in all newer cars) are the most common. Based on a comparison of discounts offered by the largest insurance companies in the country, five offered discounts for cars that have anti-theft systems and four for anti-lock brakes.

Even though some safety features can lower your car insurance costs, the discounts you get for having a car with safety features are probably not worth the cost of outfitting your car with extra technology.

→ Learn more about common car insurance discounts

How much can safety devices save you on car insurance?

The amount that you can save with safety features depends on your auto insurance company. For example, while half of the largest insurance companies offer discounts for anti-theft systems like a GPS tracker or a special alarm, GEICO offers savings of up to 23% if your car has anti-theft technology — which is high compared to other companies.

But although many companies offer discounts for certain safety features, these add-ons don't always lower what you pay for car insurance. In fact, depending on how advanced the technology in your car is, your rates may actually get more expensive thanks to your high-tech features.

That’s because your car will cost more to repair or replace if it's fully equipped with expensive safety features. 

Compared to low-tech headlights and cars that don't have motion-sensing abilities, newer models with high-tech headlights, bumpers and mirrors will cost more to fix or replace if they’re damaged in a crash.

Because of the price increase for insuring high-tech cars, loading up on certain new safety features may actually cost you more over time than the amount it would save you. For some drivers however, the promise of a safer car is worth it, even if it comes at an added cost.

Other ways to lower your auto insurance premium

While adding anti-theft or safety features to your car isn't the best or most efficient way to lower your insurance costs, there are lots of other ways to save on costs.

You should still make sure you're aware of any discounts for your car's existing safety features your insurance provider offers, then consider:

  • Reshop every year: The best way to save money on car insurance is to reshop your policy regularly and compare rates from more than one company.

  • Signing up for a telematics discount: A telematics program, also called usage-based insurance, tracks your driving and awards savings based on good habits. Most major insurance companies offer these programs, which track your driving through a smartphone app or a plug-in device in your car — and savings can be significant. 

  • Increasing your deductible: When you increase your car insurance deductibles — the amount that you pay out of pocket towards a comprehensive or collision damage claim — you can lower your rates. 

  • Bundling your coverage: You can get cheaper car insurance with nearly every company when you bundle your home and auto policies together. If you have homeowners (or renters) insurance, think about getting an auto policy from that same company.

If you still feel that you’re paying too much for car insurance, the best way to make sure you get the cheapest quotes in your area is by shopping around and comparing coverage from at least a few different companies. Policygenius makes it easy to see what you’ll pay for car insurance, so you can choose the best option for your needs

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Frequently asked questions

Is it cheaper to insure a car with more safety features?

It can be cheaper to insure a car with more safety features than a similar model. Insurance companies offer slightly lower rates for having a car with tech that can reduce your chance of being in an accident (or the damage from an accident). But expensive tech can sometimes mean higher rates, because your car may cost more to repair or replace after an accident.

Is it worth buying a new car for safety features?

If your safety is a priority, it might be a good idea to get a car that has high safety ratings and fancy new safety technology. But you shouldn’t buy a new car with safety features because as a way to get cheaper car insurance. The discounts you get from safety features won’t be significant enough to make up for the higher sticker price on these cars.

What are three ways you can lower the cost of your auto insurance?

The best way to lower the cost of your auto insurance is by comparing rates from multiple companies. You can also complete a defensive driving course, bundle your home (or renters) insurance with your auto insurance, and consider switching to per-mile insurance if you don’t drive often.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Expert reviewer

Financial Advisor

Maria Filindras

Financial Advisor

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Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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