How more technology can cut your car insurance bill - (c) Newspress

Can more technology really help cut car insurance?

Modern cars are chocked full of technology, making car insurance more expensive, right? With manufacturers looking to make things more convenient, safer and smarter for buyers, surely as list prices climb and complexity increases, you’d expect car insurance costs to rise, too?

Well, actually, more technology on new cars is helping to reduce insurance group ratings. It sounds unusual, but the more tech and gadgets you have on your new car (within reason, as we’ll find out), the less it could cost you to insure. Here’s why…

CITY BRAKING SYSTEMS

Technology improving safety is one of the main drivers in lowering insurance group ratings for new cars.

Take the latest crop of autonomous city braking systems. These features use sensors mounted in the front of the car to detect a stationary vehicle or pedestrian in front of you, automatically applying the brakes to avoid or mitigate the impacts of a crash when travelling at town speeds.

A significant proportion of all bumps and bangs happen in and around towns, as well as scenarios where traffic is heavy – is these systems can eradicate these low speed shunts, then the number of surprisingly expensive insurance claims for damaged caused in these situations will drop. That can only be a good thing.

City braking system (c) Newspress

RADAR CRUISE CONTROL

Radar-guided cruise control is also available as an option on many modern cars – once the preserve of high-end luxury saloon cars, it’s available to mass market these days.

And that’s a good thing, because in the eyes of your insurance company, a radar-guided cruise control system (where operated) means you won’t be able to tailgate the car in front, leaving a safe braking distance in traffic.

This should again reduce the number of front to rear bumps people have, meaning an associated reduction in insurance claims. This saving the insurers make can be passed on to you – in theory…

REDUCED LABOUR COSTS

Inevitably, collisions between cars are still going to happen. But manufacturers are also working with institutions such as Thatcham Research to reduce the cost of repairing your vehicle.

This means making jobs easier to conduct by removing complexity. It reduces labour times and the price of individual parts often needed in repairs, therefore fixing your vehicle shouldn’t cost quite as much.

‘BLACK BOX’ TELEMATICS INSURANCE

Many insurance companies are now offering customers telematics ‘black box’ insurance policies to help cut the cost of cover.

These consist of an electronic device fitted to your car that can monitor how aggressively or gently you accelerate, brake and turn, what speeds you travel at and the time of day (or night) you’re out in your car.

All these factors and how you manage them as you drive determines how you much you pay for your insurance. Break traffic laws and drive around accident black spots and at peak times of the day and you’ll pay more. Stick to the speed limits and limit your risk as to where and when you drive, and you’ll likely pay less.

STRONG LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION

As more research and development gets pumped into making cars strong and lighter, passive safety underneath the skin of your car is making it cheaper to insure.

Take Mazda’s Skyactiv technology and new range of vehicles. They all employ high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel in their chassis – with passive safety measures like this, it should help stabilise insurance premiums.

OTHER FEATURES

Car manufacturers are constantly researching and developing new technology that will help cut the cost of your car insurance. Seatbelt pre-tensioners, Anti-lock brakes, even the first airbags all helped to improve safety and reduce premiums.

And on that last subject, many carmakers are working on pedestrian airbags to help safety and again, reduce costs.

Over the next decade cars will again become more complex, but safer and cheaper to insure as a result. That’s great news for drivers.

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