When you are applying for auto insurance, the insurance company will look at the make and model of your vehicle to determine the level of risk involved. Every car’s safety rating is determined by the Insurance Institute for High Safety (IIHS). All of the major insurance providers use the IIHS database to determine whether the vehicle is designated a “top safety pick” or if it falls under the “good,” “acceptable” or “marginal” range.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal government’s safety research body, and the organization also conducts its own safety checks and has developed a rating system to determine which vehicles are considered the safest during any given year.
Choosing a Car with a High Safety Rating
If you are shopping for a car or are a teen driver looking to purchase your first vehicle, take the time to search for a vehicle with a high safety rating. Many insurance companies publish data on safety ratings from the Highway Loss Data Institute and have this information readily available on their website. Cars with higher ratings are considered to be less likely to be seriously damaged – and less costly to repair – than cars with lower ratings. Vehicles that have built-in security systems and advanced anti-theft devices may also earn higher safety ratings because they will be less vulnerable to break-ins and theft.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determines the “top safety pick” for all types of cars, including large cars, minicars, midsize SUVs and minivans. The safety ratings ultimately determine the vehicle’s crash-worthiness, or how well the vehicle can protect the driver and passengers during a car crash. The ratings are based on a performance during a high-speed front side crash test, rollover tests and other tests that determine how well the vehicle protects the driver and passengers during a serious accident. Insurance companies typically offer lower rates for vehicles that make this list every year.
Lowering Your Car Insurance Rates
If you want to lower your car insurance premium and are in a position to purchase a new vehicle, choose a car that is on the top safety picks list published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You can also lower your car insurance rate if you can show proof of advanced security and locking systems in the vehicle. Many insurance companies will reduce your rate when they find out the vehicle has an advanced alarm system or anti-theft devices.
Another important factor to consider when applying for car insurance is how likely it is that your car will be involved in a collision. If you don’t drive the vehicle often or you live in a rural area, the insurance company may consider you to be a “low risk” driver and will offer a lower insurance rate.