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Do more advanced safety features mean greater insurance savings?

Tue Nov 8th, 2016 on     Insurance Claims,    

When the day finally arrives for a person to take the plunge and purchase a new car after years of driving the same vehicle, they will find that much has changed. These changes aren’t just confined to things like engines, fuel economy and interior features, however, but also safety.

Indeed, the last decade has seen many new vehicles rolling off assembly lines equipped with safety features that would have seemed like something out of a science fiction novel a decade ago from automatic braking to rearview cameras.

While most prospective car buyers would imagine that paying more money for a model with advanced safety features would pay for itself in the long run due to lower insurance premiums, a recently released study by the car insurance specialty website The Zebra reveals that this isn’t the case.

What did the study find?

The researchers identified nine advanced safety features readily available on new car models — driver alertness monitoring, lane-departure warning, rearview cameras, parking assistance, heads-up displays, collision-preparation systems, electronic stability control, blind-spot warning and night vision — and set out to discover whether they resulted in any reduction on average national premiums.

Shockingly, they found that the only one to generate any sort of savings was electronic stability control and that was only a mere $5 per year. In addition, they found that 17 states provided no savings for any features whatsoever.

What’s behind this phenomenon?

According to industry experts, the phenomenon of cars getting safer and insurance premiums remaining unchanged has everything to do with the fact that the number of auto collisions hasn’t actually decreased thanks to these features. Indeed, statistics from the Insurance Information Institute shows that both collision frequency and collision severity have actually risen.

This reality coupled with the fact that these safety features are far more expensive to repair means that insurance companies are paying more than in years past to repair cars.  

Will these safety features ever result in lower premiums?

Experts indicate that once more data is available — how many accidents has a certain type of car with advanced safety features been involved in, how much does said car cost to fix, how much do occupant injuries typically cost, etc. — and the safety features become more ubiquitous, there could be some savings.

However, they also caution that once the safety feature becomes universal, like driver-side airbags and anti-lock brakes, any discount will disappear.

Here’s hoping that studies like these don’t serve to dissuade people from considering these safety features.

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if your insurance company has unnecessarily delayed payment or underpaid a claim in connection with an auto accident.

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