Since our love of technology isn’t simply pigeonholed into mobile, hand-held devices, perhaps it’s only natural that automakers keep raising the bar in car technologies. Regardless of the why or who, there are a number of technologies that have lowered car insurance costs, and some of these even save lives on a daily basis. Let’s look at the ten most significant technologies (in alphabetical order) that are keeping insurance premiums low:
While initially criticized by some due to the explosive nature of deployment as well as the harm that could come for smaller drivers and passengers, there is no doubt that airbags used in combination with seat belts save lives.
Newer, advanced airbag systems no longer risk harm to smaller occupants, and they’ve gone way beyond simple single-bag and steering-wheel mounted systems, with side curtain, roof and even knee airbags now offered on automobiles.
Alarms/Anti-Theft Devices/Remote Tracking
The rate of auto theft continues to fall just like every other major crime, and much of the reason for this is the inclusion of car alarms, engine immobilizers and other technologies designed to prevent theft. And some technologies, such as remote tracking, make it easy to locate a car that has been stolen. However, there are downsides to many things, and some technologies have made cars more prone to being stolen.
Backup Cameras/Sensors/Detection Systems
These cameras and systems can alert drivers to hazards behind a car, such as pedestrians or children that are not visible in the car’s mirrors. The most advanced of these systems can also replace the normal rearview mirror, especially if they are accompanied by a blind-spot warning system.
Black Boxes/Event Data Recorders
The most common example of these is probably the Snapshot, offered by Progressive Insurance. These devices plug into the OBD port of cars, and measure everything from acceleration, braking, cornering (the so-called ABCs) and in some cases, even use GPS to track a vehicle’s location.
Blind Spot Sensors/Cameras/Detection Systems
These radar or camera based systems alert drivers to cars in adjacent lanes that are hidden in the driver’s blind spot. Advanced versions will not only warn drivers, but can keep an accident from occurring by not allowing the driver to move into an occupied lane.
Crash Safety Systems
There was a time when no engineering thought was given to how a car would protect its occupants in the event of a crash. We’re happy those days are over. Advances in this area include seat belts, engineered crumple zones to keep metal out of the cabin and even improved bumpers that can stand up to small crashes.
Electronic Stability Control
ESC systems can sense when an extreme steering maneuver is being executed, and automatically apply the brakes to individual wheels to maintain control of the car. While these systems can prevent many crashes, it is possible to exceed the limits of ESC with a speed that is too high for the conditions. While not every car sold in the United States has ECS, Congress has mandated that ESC become a standard feature on all new cars sold in the United States in 2012.
While they can still be a distraction for a driver, navigation systems are much better than relying on paper maps that had to be unfolded and refolded. Plus, since there’s less chance of getting lost and no need to stop to ask for directions, they may even help prevent in car arguments.
Traction control systems prevent wheel spin, thereby allowing for maximum traction. These systems come in handy under adverse weather conditions, such as when roads are slick from rain or icy weather.
World Wide Web/Internet
Because insurers no longer have to rely on offering as many brick and mortar presences, the Internet has not only caused policy premiums to fall, but it’s also led to increased competition between insurance companies. Consumers can obtain quotes on car insurance quickly and easily, and even do comparison shopping, right from their home.