UPDATED: May 14, 2019
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Having airbags in your car not only provides added safety for you and your passengers, but it can also reduce your car insurance rates. Exactly how much of an effect it has on your rates varies from state to state and policy to policy.
Nonetheless, insurance companies are always looking for safety features that will reduce their financial risk and reward drivers with rate reductions if their cars have such safety features installed.
Though different safety features are viewed differently from the perspective of writing a car insurance policy, airbags are directly related to the bodily injury portion of your coverage.
Bodily injury claims are made when you or a passenger are injured in a car accident.
Anything that reduces the likelihood of such injuries also reduces the likelihood your car insurance company will have to pay out a bodily injury claim, thus keeping your insurance rates as low as possible.
Do airbags really lower the risk of injury significantly?
According to the most recent numbers put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the addition of driver side airbags in most American vehicles saves nearly 2,300 lives every year.
Side curtain airbags save even more lives per year.
On the other hand, one of the things that continues to spark debate among insurance companies is the fact airbags themselves can still cause significant injury, even when loss of life is not a factor.
Remember that an airbag must fill with gas almost instantly upon impact in order to be effective. The force at which airbags deploy has been known to cause concussions, broken jaws, severe dental damage, and more.
All of these injuries result in claims that insurance companies have to pay on. Overall, airbags are deemed to be risk reducers which help bring down the cost of car insurance.
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Will I see significant savings because my car has airbags?
Car insurance companies need to take into account many different factors when deciding how much to charge you for insurance. The airbag issue is just one of them.
From a safety standpoint, if you’re driving a car which is considered on the low end of the safety scale, having airbags may not offer you enough of a discount to make a difference.
But if you’re driving a car that is rated higher on the safety scale, things could be different.
For example, certain makes and models of off-road capable vehicles are deemed unsafe due to the propensity for rollovers and other types of accidents.
Having airbags will not change these other factors, and thus, won’t have such a significant impact on your car insurance rates.
A luxury car which is rated as safe as they come will see a higher benefit from airbags because those airbags are mitigating one of the few risks that remain.
What if I have other safety features?
For every safety feature installed in your vehicle, your car becomes a safer bet in the eyes of your insurance company. Other things are helpful in reducing your risk and insurance rates, such as:
- Anti-lock brakes
- Traction control
- Daytime running lights
Just keep in mind that all of the safety features are relative to the car they are installed in and how that make and model fares in overall safety testing.
Also, keep in mind that in terms of deciding what your individual car insurance rates will be, airbags and other safety devices make up only a small part of the equation.
More important is your past driving history and how safely you currently drive today. To determine how much to charge you for insurance, your car insurance company will look at:
- traffic infractions
- moving violations
For the best car insurance rates possible, you’re better off focusing on driving safely and legally at all times. This type of behavior will translate into reduced car insurance premiums more than any safety device ever could.
As long as your driving habits present the lowest risk possible to your insurance company, they will reward you with as low a rate as they can.
Check online car insurance rates, with or without airbags, by entering your ZIP code below!