Understanding Car Safety Ratings
Safety ratings and car insurance
Although newer vehicles are generally more expensive to insure than older ones, consumers can often get discounts if their new vehicles have the latest safety features. Advances in crash and accident avoidance technology mean that consumers who buy a new vehicle equipped with the latest safety features are often less likely to be seriously injured in a car crash.
Safety ratings are a function of two major factors: prevention—how well the vehicle is designed to prevent an accident—and, crashworthiness—how well the vehicle performs in a crash.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranks its Top Safety Picks based on good, acceptable, marginal or poor performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, and evaluations of seat / head restraints for protection against neck injuries during rear impacts. Crash tests are conducted on a half-dozen types of vehicles, including large cars, mid-sized cars, small cars, minivans, mid-size SUVs, and small SUVs.
For a full report on recalls and defects, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
Currently, some of the top-rated safety features are:
- Adaptive front airbags
- Side airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Knee airbags
- Electronic stability control
- Anti-lock braking systems
- Brake assist
- Tire pressure monitors
- Back-up sensors
- Park assist
- Blind-spot warning
- Forward-collision warning
- Smart headlights
- Crash-alert systems (such as OnStar)
- Built-in car seats
Side curtain airbags—which prevent passengers from being ejected when autos rollover—are among the more desirable safety features currently available.
Talk to a Mercury agent today and ask for a free rate quote. Your Mercury agent can tell which safety features are likely to provide the greatest discount. At Mercury Insurance, our low rates are just the beginning.