Why Advanced Safety Tech Doesn’t Lower Your Insurance Premium
Driver-assist technologies like forward-collision alert are now standard features on many new vehicles. These systems have definitely helped improve roadside safety, by increasing the driver’s alertness and warning of impending obstacles. Per a recent statistic from AAA, advanced driver assistance systems — when used properly — have the potential to prevent 30 percent of traffic deaths and 40 percent of all vehicle crashes.
Despite the increased protection this intelligence has brought, however, it turns out that having a vehicle equipped with ADAS doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper car insurance.
The current reality
Though ADAS reduces the risk of collisions, vehicles equipped with this tech can increase your monthly premium. According to NPR’s Camila Domonoske, that’s because repairing these systems is currently pretty pricey. ADAS typically relies on a suite of sensors, cameras, and built-in computers to operate.
Scott Wallisch, auto pricing director with American Family Insurance, illustrates the costliness of fixing just one of these high-tech safety features: LED adaptive headlights. “If a headlight gets into an accident it used to be $200 to replace it. Now, it’s $2,000 to replace that same headlight.”
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Small steps toward insurance discounts
While many insurance carriers might not lower your insurance premium for ADAS, there are some carriers that do. The availability of these discounts varies by what state you live in. And, per Carmen Balber of Consumer Watchdog, you have to shop around to find these deals.
Apparently, automatic emergency braking is one of the primary features most likely to get you a discount on insurance, as Domonoske articulates. As its name implies, this tool automatically engages the brakes, if the sensors detect that an impact is unavoidable.
Hopefully, more carriers start to recognize the benefit of these safety systems in reducing crash-related fatalities and start rewarding the consumers who invest in this vehicle tech. Until then, you might just have to do some digging to find a lower insurance premium, as you drive around enjoying the extra peace of mind that your vehicle’s ADAS gives you.