Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jul 30, 2019

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Car safety ratings play a big role in auto insurance as car insurance companies reward drivers who purchase vehicles that have high safety ratings due to the lower risk of injury in a car accident.

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There are many places to read up on car insurance reviews and a lot of terms to understand however most auto insurance companies give great weight to only a handful of car safety rating agencies including:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (also known as IIHS) is an independent organization dedicated to reducing losses from motor vehicles accidents nationwide.

A nonprofit organization funded by auto insurers the IIHS has dedicated testing facilities where researchers focus on three main areas:

  • Human Behavior – preventing accidents by changing driver behavior
  • Vehicle Design – reducing accidents by testing vehicle design
  • Environmental Factors – reducing loss by modifying or changing such items as road signs and signals

The Highway Loss Data Institute

The Highway Loss Data Institute operates side by side with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and shares the same mission as the IIHS in studying data behind car accidents to publish and improve awareness of risk factors associated with different vehicles.

The Highway Loss Data is used by many car insurance companies as a key factor in adjusting for vehicle risk in the calculation of car insurance premiums.

Both the Insurance Institute for Highway safety and The Highway Loss Data Institute are funded by many of the nation’s car insurance companies including Geico, Allstate, Esurance, Nationwide, Progressive and PEMCO, just to name a few.

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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (also known as NHTSA) was founded in 1970 by the Highway Safety Act to carry out safety programs dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety.

NHTSA primarily focuses on ways to help prevent car accidents and the cost associated with injuries or damage resulting from accidents. Some of the main things the NHSTA does are:

  • Create and enforce safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment
  • Investigates motor vehicle safety defects
  • Sets fuel economy standards
  • Research driver behavior and traffic safety to improve driving

What kind of safety equipment should I make sure a vehicle has?

Car insurance companies give great weight to factory installed safety features. Some of the most common vehicle safety features which generally bring a car insurance discount include:

  • Airbags
  • Stability Traction Control
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Anti Lock Brakes
  • Restraint Systems
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
  • Crumple Zones
  • and more

Other features like anti-theft devices also provide discounts but whether or not you will qualify for car insurance discounts depends on your provider and the way they uniquely rate a vehicle.

In any event however its always much better to purchase a vehicle with more safety equipment than less.

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