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Vehicle and safety-feature discounts

Theft prevention / anti-theft / vehicle recovery devices

Typical discount 5 percent to 30 percent.

Available to:  Drivers whose vehicles have anti-theft devices or a vehicle recovery system attached to it.

Caveats:  Typically, the more anti-theft devices you have on your vehicle, the greater the reduction will be in your comprehensive coverage premium.  Devices include typically:

  • An alarm with blaring horn or siren.
  • An active alarm that cuts off ignition, fuel or starting system
  • A passive alarm that sets itself when the ignition is turned off
  • A vehicle recovery system (e.g. Lojack)
  • A vehicle tracking system (e.g. OnStar)

The highest discounts (30 percent or more) apply if you have a vehicle tracking system or vehicle recovery system. 

Length: Renewable as long as you continue to have the device as part of your vehicle.

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Read more: What does comprehensive cover?

VIN etching

Typical discount of 5 percent to 15 percent.

Available to: Car owners who have their vehicle identification number (VIN) permanently etched on the windshield and all other windows as a deterrent to thieves.

Caveats:  Discount is not offered by all insurers or in all states, though some states such as Florida and Kentucky require insurers to give a discount.  Discount is to the comprehensive portion of a car insurance policy.

Length: Renewable as long as you own the vehicle.

Read more: The how, why, where and how much of VIN etching

Safety features

Discounts vary from 5 percent to 40 percent depending upon the type of safety feature. A discount is given on each safety device, so the discounts can be “stacked.”

Available to:  Drivers who insure a car with these safety features.

Caveats: Some states mandate a discount for specific safety features, while others leave it up to the insurers to determine what features get discounts.  Also, the portion of the policy that receives the discount can vary, but in general it may apply to your liability, personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments and/or collision coverage.  Discounted features can include:

  • Antilock brakes:  Discount of around 5 percent can be applied if your vehicle has a factory-installed antilock braking system.  Florida and New York require this discount be given to eligible drivers. Coverages that may be discounted can include liability, PIP, medical payments and collision.
  • Traction-control system: Discount varies but typically around 5 percent on your collision coverage.
  • Air bags or passive restraint system: Factory-installed driver-side only air bag may get you a discount of up to 25 percent, while having full-front seat air bags may increase your discount to 40 percent.   In general, the more air bags your vehicle has, the higher the discount to the PIP and medical payments portion of your policy.  Some insurers also discount your liability coverages. 
  • Seat belts:  A discount of up to 15 percent is given off of medical payments or PIP coverage by some insurers for automatic seat belts or just the use of seat belts by driver and passengers. Also, some states mandate a seat belt discount be given if the state’s mandatory seat belt law has reduced losses or if the state’s seat belt usage exceeds the national average. 
  • Daytime running lights:  If this feature is standard for your vehicle, you may receive a discount, usually of 5 percent or less.  The discount may apply to your liability, PIP, medical payments and collision coverages.
  • Crash-resistant doors:  Some auto insurance providers will give you a small discount of around 5 percent under your collision coverage for this safety feature.
  • Electronic stability system or electronic stability control: A discount of 5 percent or more on your collision coverage may be given if your vehicle has a factory-installed four-wheel electronic stability control system.

Length:  Continual discount as long as you own a vehicle that has safety features associated with the discount given.

Read more: Car safety: Thank a rich guy

New car discount

Typical discount of up to 10 percent.

Available to: Drivers insuring a vehicle that is three years old or newer.

Caveats:  Discount is usually to the collision portion of your insurance policy. 

Length:  For the first three years of ownership of a new vehicle.

Read more: How to insure a new car

Alternative fuel / hybrid:

Typical discount of 5 percent to 10 percent

Available to: Owners of hybrids and other alternative-fuel vehicles.

Caveats:  The discount on major coverages (liability coverages, collision and comprehensive) on a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle is only available with certain auto insurers, and even then it’s not available necessarily in all states.

Length: Continual as long as you own an eligible vehicle.

Read more: Auto insurance for your “green” car


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