The number of driver-assistance safety features available to car buyers has grown quickly in the past several years. So, it’s easy to be confused about which technologies do what exactly. Here are answers to some of your most frequently-asked questions about car safety features.

What are the most common car safety features?

There are several car safety features that are considered mandatory, as legislated by the Ontario government. New vehicles are equipped with more safety tech than ever, however, these are the most common:

  1. Airbags
  2. Anti-Lock Brakes
  3. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  4. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  5. Rearview Camera

Is there a difference between active and passive car safety features?

Yes. If an accident occurs while driving your car, the passive safety features help to reduce the risk of injury during impact. Safety belts and air bags fall into this category. Active safety features are put in place to totally avoid an accident. These include traction control, braking systems, advanced driver assist and collision warning.

Why are car safety features important?

Car safety features lower the chances of an accident. However, this does not mean you can ignore checking your blind spots and mirrors. They can help you stay safe and give you peace of mind that you have additional protection.

What are the most critical safety features in a car?

Without a doubt, three-point seat belts are the most critical safety feature. NHTSA claims wearing a seat belt in the front seat of a car or truck cuts your risk of a fatal injury nearly in half. Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags and back-up cameras are also a huge advancement in safety.

Do all safety features come standard on new cars?

No. Many government-mandated safety features, like seat belts and airbags, are found in every car. Beyond these and ABS, safety features are typically optional and vary between car companies and types of trim offered by each.

To learn more about mandatory safety features, please click here.

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Is it possible to add car safety features myself?

There are some aftermarket safety features you can add to your vehicle. Some can be done at home, while others will need to be installed by a professional. One simple example of DIY safety tech is the FenSens’ Parking Sensor. Add parking assistance to your older vehicle by installing the FENV1 – two proximity sensors built into a rugged license plate frame that wirelessly communicate with your smartphone. However, you may need additional coverage for these features if you want them covered for repair or replacement in the event of an accident. To learn more about this product, please click here.

How much does it cost to add safety technology to my car?

The cost will depend on what you are considering having done, and the amount of parts and labour that are required to do it. Here are a few cost examples for some of the more popular car safety features:

Forward Collision Warning / Lane Departure Warning Systems

Approximate cost: $1,000

Forward collision warning is an excellent feature to add to your vehicle. However, if it is too cost-prohibitive, you can add a dash cam to record the space around you when you are driving.

Backup Camera

Approximate cost: $300

Knowing what’s behind you is important when operating your vehicle. Adding a backup camera with a wide-angle view can help provide that extra visual for your blind spots.

Blind Spot Detection

Approximate cost: $200-$500

Blind spot systems use sensors to monitor the space around the vehicle and flash an icon to the driver if there is an obstruction within 10 feet. Expect to pay $200 to $500 for a solid system. If you have a Saturday to invest, you might want to install it yourself. However, it’s a fairly tedious process. Having a kit installed professionally will cost at least $200, but might be worth it to save you the headache.

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)

Approximate cost starting at $200

This safety system will send an alert if there is a deflated tire, which can cause overheating, blow out, and even crashes. If your vehicle is not originally equipped with TPMS, you have the option to add it by using a retrofit kit. Retrofit kits can be bought in-person or online by the driver, then installed. The system works much the same way as an already-installed system would.

Remote Starter Package

Approximate cost starting at $300-$400

Based on a brief survey of remote starter dealers, a basic, short-range remote starter installation on a non-luxury vehicle will range from about $249.99 to $399.99. The price will largely depend on the year, make, and model of your vehicle.

Which safety feature is most likely to prevent a crash?    

The most important thing you can do to protect your life is to buckle your seat belt; safety belts save lives! In addition, many of the more advanced safety features, such as forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, can help you avoid any accidents.

Is insurance cheaper in a safer car?

Higher safety ratings typically mean lower insurance rates. There are several things that insurance companies look for when considering safety ratings, the most obvious being how well the vehicle protects you and your passengers.

What are some car safety features that can decrease your auto insurance premiums?

Airbags and seat belts

Some insurance companies will lower your car insurance rates if you have newer, automated seat belts. Others may offer discounts for passenger side and side impact airbags. Updating these features can qualify you for better discounts and increase the safety of your vehicle.

Collision monitoring and blind spot alerts

These car safety devices reduce the chance of accidents, as well as insurance claims resulting from collisions. Many new vehicles come standard with these accident-avoidance systems. If you are considering having these safety features installed, check with your insurance provider and make sure they offer this discount.

Anti-theft tools and devices

Whether these have been installed or come standard with your vehicle, alarms and navigation systems can make you eligible for insurance discounts. You can be looking at discounts as high as 10-25% off your total premium. Any technology that makes your car less likely to be targeted for theft, in turn, makes you less risky to be insured.

Labor on car alarm installation will run you between $50 to $200, depending on the complexity of the alarm system and the type of vehicle you have.

Sign-up for Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) or Telematics

Telematics works by adopting onboard technology or mobile applications to monitor your driving habits. It then uses the information it gathers to reward safe driving habits with discounted premiums. Drivers can save between 10% and 30% on their annual car insurance premiums if the data collected indicates that they practice safe driving habits.

Winter tires

The right snow tires are necessary for safe winter driving in Canada. Talk to your isure broker about your qualification for the winter tire discount.

Dash cams

Dashboard cameras won’t give you a direct insurance discount. However, dash cams can help you save on insurance by proving you are not at-fault for an accident. It can also help when disputing a traffic ticket, or confirming you are the target of insurance fraud.

All in all, adding safety features can help you save on insurance coverage. However, the type of vehicle you drive is crucial in calculating how much you will ultimately pay. Contact isure today about possible savings on your insurance policy that you may not be aware of. Our team will be happy to look over your policy to help you save on your car insurance!

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