When you buy a new car, several different factors come into play so the insurance company can determine what type of premium is appropriate for you and that vehicle. One of these factors is the car’s safety rating; a poor rating will increase your insurance premium because that vehicle is considered more likely to be involved in an accident-and therefore a claim.
Crash Test Ratings Determine Safety Potential
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is responsible for performing insurance safety car crash tests, according to the organization’s web site. They test dozens of cars each year to determine how they perform in certain scenarios and situations, then assign ratings based on the results of those tests.
Four potential car safety ratings can be given: good, acceptable, marginal and poor. In addition, the IIHS chooses top safety picks from each year’s batch of cars. Currently, the top picks must perform well in all tests administered and must also feature electronic stability control.
Cars with the highest insurance premiums likely did not perform well and received poor safety ratings. The tests include front and safe crash tests, rollover tests, head restraint ratings and bumper evaluations. Both high- and low-speed collisions are evaluated.
Choosing a Car for Low Insurance Premiums
The data collected by the IIHS is available to anyone on their web site, and you can use this data to choose a car with a high safety rating, and therefore low insurance premiums. There are, of course, other factors that influence how much you pay for insurance, but this is a good place to start as you shop for cars.
For example, you can’t control now whether you’ve earned speeding tickets in the past or whether you’re young or male, or any of the other demographics used to determine auto insurance premiums. You can, however, choose the car you buy, and your wallet will thank you for doing your research.
When you select a car model and view that car’s safety rating, you’ll see a list of criteria and the “grade” assigned to each. A vehicle with a good safety rating might have low insurance premiums, but you’ll want to look at each individual test. Some of the tests might not have been rated as good, but each vehicle is evaluated based on all scores combined.
Additionally, your insurance premium can be influenced by the package of the vehicle you purchase. If you don’t include optional safety equipment, such as side airbags, you might not enjoy all the insurance discounts you would have otherwise. It’s important to pay attention to these seemingly small details.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety