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Does driver assist technology affect car insurance?

Driver assist technology won’t score you an insurance discount, but it could save your life.

Data verified by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows new driver assist tech works. But that’s not enough to earn a specific insurance discount for it. When asked why, insurance companies cite higher repair costs, insufficient safety data and drivers not fully understanding the technology.

What driver assist technology can I get for my car?

New technology is being added every year, but more common driver assist features include:

  • Blind spot warning. Uses radar-like sensors to identify nearby and approaching vehicles.
  • Collision preparation system. Uses alerts to warn you when your car is about to collide with another car or object.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Adjusts braking and engine power to keep your car from skidding or rolling over.
  • Lane departure warning. Alerts you when you drift toward another lane without using your turn signal.
  • Night vision. Uses cameras, lasers and infrared to improve your perception while driving at night.
  • Driver alertness monitoring. Can determine your focus while driving by monitoring lane position, steering patterns, your face and your vitals.
  • Parking assistance. Uses sensors and cameras to guide you in parallel parking.
  • Rear-view camera. Provides a wide-lens view of the area behind your car when the reverse gear is engaged.

How do I get a driver assist technology discount?

Currently, only one driver assist feature comes with a discount — ESC. It’s been a standard add-on since 2012. If your vehicle has this feature, here’s how you can request a discount:

  • Do your research. Contact your insurance company to ensure it offers a discount for having ESC or other safety features. Otherwise, shop around.
  • Provide proof. When you meet with an agent, bring along info from the manufacturer showing the feature is standard on your car’s model. If it’s aftermarket, bring the sales paperwork showing it was added.
  • Keep shopping. Even after you’ve settled on a policy for your car, it’s a good idea to shop around every six months to a year to see how discounts and rates have changed. That includes your own insurer. Regularly check with your agent so that you get in on upcoming discounts.
  • Look at the bigger picture. Always remember that while discounts are great, an overall lower price will save you in the long run. Look at the overall premium cost, rather than simply the discounts you can get.

How much can I save with driver assist technology?

Electronic Stability Control comes with an average discount of $7 a year on an average annual premium of $1,400 a year. It’s currently the only feature that’s called out into its own discount with some car insurance companies.

It’s not the heaviest discount, but car insurance companies look at the overall safety rating of your vehicle when assigning risk. That means while you might not get a specific discount, you could still be getting a better rate than if your car didn’t have driver assist technology.

Is driver assist technology worth it?

Driver assist technology continues to gain in popularity and customers not only want the features, a J.D. Power survey in 2018 found that 40% of those surveyed would switch to an insurance company that offered discounts on them. But specific discounts aren’t the only way assist tech can save you money on car insurance.

Regardless of whether your insurance premiums are reduced or discounted, the data on the tech itself proves this technology can reduce accidents. It’s even been endorsed by the NHTSA and IIHS.

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Bottom line

Discounts or lowered premiums associated with these features could become standard in the industry any day, so keep checking with your insurer. In the meantime, remember to shop around and compare companies to make sure you get the best deal overall.

Common questions about driver assist technology discounts

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