Anti-Lock Brakes Car Insurance Discount

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 26, 2016

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Anti-lock brakes are an important safety feature to look for when purchasing a vehicle
  • ABS will almost certainly help you save money on your insurance rates
  • Anti-lock brakes can help reduce accidents

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) definitely affect your insurance premiums for the better. Anti-lock brakes along with a few other safety features you can have on your car will, or should, lower your premiums quite a bit.

To see how safety features like ABS can dramatically lower your car insurance rates, simply click on the box at the top of this page and enter your ZIP code right now!

Nowadays, many of these safety features, like ABS, come standard in newer models. Before you purchase a vehicle find out what features will come with the car.

Knowing beforehand how certain models and features can raise or lower your monthly car insurance premiums are proactive measures you can take to lessen any financial surprise when it comes time to get insurance for the vehicle.

What are anti-lock brakes?

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Anti-lock brakes have been around since the late 1960s. These are a safety feature that cause your brakes not to lock up when you slam on the brakes.

Without anti-lock brakes you are supposed to pump the brakes quickly if you are about to run into something – but instinctively many of us wouldn’t know or remember to do this as we are screaming towards a cement wall.

The act of holding down our brakes is what inevitably locks the wheels due to an excessive amount of brake fluid being sent to them. This is when we lose control of the car.

ABS systems actually pump the brakes for you as you are holding them down. They also regulate the amount of brakes fluid that is being sent to your wheels so they do not lock up. This means you have more control over your vehicle.

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How do I know if my car has ABS?

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As stated previously, most new models come standard with anti-lock brakes, but you should still ask the dealer if your car or truck comes with ABS. If you have already bought the vehicle and forgot to ask the question, you can still easily find out if ABS is installed in your car.

Simply read your owner’s manual and that will tell you what type of brakes you have. Also, when you first start your car a yellow ABS indicator on your panel will light up if your car possesses the anti-lock brake safety feature.

Make sure you tell any car insurance companies you get quotes from that you have this feature.

You can install an anti-lock braking system on a car that didn’t have it previously, but you should check with your insurance provider to see if you still get this safety discount if the ABS is added on to the car after it has left the dealer’s lot.

There are two main types of anti-lock braking systems.

  1. Four-wheel – This type of ABS is usually for cars and minivans.
  2. Back-wheel – This used to come standard in many pick-up trucks, vans, and sports utility vehicles but for the most part, most vehicles in today’s market only come with 4-wheel ABS after analysis that 4-wheel ABS is safer than back-wheel ABS, even on larger vehicles like trucks and vans.

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What happens if the anti-lock brake system light is on in my car?

If this safety system’s light is on in your car, it can mean two different things. If the light comes on when you apply the brakes during turbulent weather, it usually means the anti-lock brakes have been engaged.

You will know because your brakes will feel different when you push on them. This is due to the pump within the braking system.

However, if the light comes on and stays on, this is a warning that something is not working properly in your anti-lock brake system. You should get it checked out immediately; otherwise, your anti-lock brakes might not work properly.

What kinds of anti-lock brakes are there?

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There are three different kinds of ABS depending on the type of car you own.

  1. Three-channel – These three-sensor anti-lock brake systems are usually found on pick-up trucks with four-wheel drive.
  2. One-channel – These one-sensor anti-lock brake systems can be located on pick-up trucks with rear-wheel drive.
  3. Four-channel – However, the best type of ABS on a car is the four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock brake system, which can usually be found on sedans.

You can determine the type of anti-lock brake system you have on your car by reading your owner’s guide, looking it up on the manufacturer’s website, or asking the car salesman when purchasing the car.

Regardless of which system the car has, any anti-lock brake system is better than none at all.

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Are anti-lock brakes effective?

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Anti-lock brakes are effective if used properly. Car insurance rates reflect this as they are lower in every state if you have this feature.

If you are conditioned to pump your brakes as you are getting close to oncoming traffic or a telephone pole, then ABS will not work as well. That is because the entire point of ABS is to hold the brakes down constantly and allow the system to pump for you internally.

The main purpose of anti-lock brakes is to lessen the amount of time and distance it takes your vehicle to come to a complete stop.

On wet or slippery roads, when used correctly, anti-lock brakes will drastically lessen the distance covered when braking compared to cars without an ABS.

On dry or dirt roads, the difference in stopping distance isn’t as substantial but still shows in favor of the anti-lock brake system cars or trucks.

Also, the control the driver has when applying his brakes with ABS is much greater than a car without them. The lack of control when your wheels lock is unnerving and can be catastrophic.

ABS, when used correctly, gives the driver far more control of his vehicle and thus may result in far less multi-vehicle pileups on freeways and highways.

Why are anti-lock brakes important to the insurance company?

Having anti-lock brakes can prevent accidents and damage to your vehicle or other vehicles around you. Insurance companies are all about risk, so if they know your vehicle poses less of a risk, then they are willing to give you more of a discount.

This system is one of the safety features that insurance companies consider when determining your insurance policy rates.

Lower your premiums today by comparing insurance rates using our free quotes tool below!

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