High-tech Safety Features Cost More To Insure
May 30, 2017
Many people assume that safer cars always mean lower insurance rates. While this used to be true in the days of daytime running lights being a major safety innovation, many of today's advanced safety features do not lower premiums. High-tech features that require apps, computers and other expensive electronics to function are actually more expensive to insure.
High Safety Versus High Cost
Some of the best modern cars boast crash-prevention systems and other state-of-the-art technologies. From blind spot detection to parking assist, features that include sensors and cameras are costly but are included on most modern vehicles. One of the reasons why insurance for vehicles with these features is so expensive is because there are limited replacement parts. Another major expense is the cost of digitally calibrating a system when it is not working properly.
Insurance companies say that safety features could contribute to reduced collision statistics in the future. However, they also point out that there are not enough of the newest vehicles with these features on the road to make a huge difference right now. Many drivers are still using older cars that lack some of the latest technologies, which work best around other vehicles with similar technologies.
Accident rates are still high, and insurance companies pass on the costs to consumers in the form of rate increases. In 2016, one automotive company reported that nearly 15 percent of the cars it sold had anti-collision technology. According to insurance experts, about 50 percent of vehicles on the road should have such technology to reduce overall accident rates.
Insurance Costs Increase Everywhere
People who buy cars that are loaded with high-tech safety features are not the only individuals paying more for insurance. Every policyholder must pay more for liability coverage, which is the mandatory minimum for all drivers. If a driver who only carries liability coverage crashes into a new vehicle that is loaded with safety features, the driver is responsible for the higher damage costs. While insurance companies are keeping their increases below 10 percent, the rate changes are enough that drivers everywhere are noticing the difference.
Some insurance companies still offer safety discounts for drivers who purchase vehicles with high-tech safety features. For all companies to offer discounts, accident rates will have to fall significantly across the country. The safety discounts are based on devices that drivers plug into cars with compatible technologies, and the devices measure driving habits. Another insurance company offers discounts for vehicles with rear-end safety braking. Experts say that 40 percent of crashes could be avoided if all cars had this technology.
While high-tech safety features may be great for improving safe driving, they are costly in new cars. For all budget shoppers, it is important to call an insurance agent to inquire about rates before buying a specific vehicle. Although this insurance issue may leave some drivers with tighter budgets dismayed now, the good news is that more companies will start offering discounts in the near future. To learn more about rates and changes, speak with an agent.
Click here to return to Amity Insurance E-Newsletter May 30, 2017.