Does my car’s restraint system matter to my insurance company?

The restraint system in your vehicle includes the automatic seat belts and air bags. Restraints minimize the impact on your body in a car crash and prevent bodily injuries. Auto insurance companies offer discounts of up to 40% for driving a vehicle with a restraint system. Discounts are also available for other safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and collision warning systems.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Feb 27, 2022

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Can't-Miss Facts

  • Your car’s restraint system includes seat belts and air bags
  • The purpose of the restraint system is to avoid significant bodily injury in an accident
  • Many auto insurance companies base discounts on your car’s safety features

Car crashes are violent and toss you around like a doll. Therefore, restraint systems are put in place to control your body’s movement in an accident.

The restraint system in your car includes your automatic seat belt and your air bags. While your restraint system can’t prevent an accident, it can help limit your injuries.

In addition to keeping you safe, you can get lower auto insurance rates if you have a restraint system in your car.

Keep reading to learn more about restraint systems and how you can save money on auto insurance.

What is a restraint system?

Passive restraints in your vehicle consist of your seat belts and air bags. While a restraint system can’t help you avoid an accident, it can keep you safer when one occurs.

The purpose of a restraint system is to reduce bodily injuries during an accident. For example, a seat belt will keep passengers in place and prevent ejection from the vehicle.

Passive seat belts connect automatically when your car starts or begins to move. Although car manufacturers are making it even easier to be safe, not everyone takes advantage of safety features.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 47% of people killed in car accidents in 2017 weren’t wearing seat belts.

Air bags prevent your head from hitting hard surfaces such as the window or steering wheel.

Thankfully, most newer cars come with several safety features, including automatic seat belts and air bags.

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Do auto insurance companies offer discounts for restraint systems?

Auto insurance companies love safety features on your vehicle. Not only do they prevent severe injury or death, but they also save insurance companies money.

Auto insurance usually includes bodily injury coverage if you, a passenger, or another driver are injured in an accident. The greater the injury, the more the insurance company pays out.

Insurance companies offer incentives for drivers with a restraint system in their vehicles. In fact, all of the top auto insurance companies provide a passive restraint discount.

Not all discounts are the same, though. For example, GEICO offers a 40% discount, but Nationwide only offers a 20% discount.

Car insurance companies also reward your safe driving. While drivers with clean driving records receive low rates, drivers with accidents, tickets, and DUIs will see higher rates.

Take a look at this table for comparison. Average annual auto insurance rates from top companies are listed based on driving records. It might surprise you just how much safe driving can save you.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Driving History
CompanyAverage Annual Rates with Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates with 1 AccidentAverage Annual Rates with 1 DUIAverage Annual Rates with 1 Speeding Violation
Allstate$3,819.90$4,987.68$6,260.73$4,483.51
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74
Farmers$3,460.60$4,518.73$4,718.75$4,079.01
GEICO$2,145.96$3,192.77$4,875.87$2,645.43
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26
Nationwide$2,746.18$3,396.95$4,543.20$3,113.68
Progressive$3,393.09$4,777.04$3,969.65$4,002.28
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01
Travelers$3,447.69$4,289.74$5,741.40$4,260.80
USAA$1,933.68$2,516.24$3,506.03$2,193.25

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Avoiding accidents and practicing safe driving will save you money and keep you safe.

What are other auto insurance discounts available based on your vehicle?

Car insurance discounts are an excellent way to save money on insurance. Discounts based on your car’s safety features are also the easiest to add.

This table shows common discounts based on your car’s features. The savings amount is listed if it’s available.

Auto Insurance Discounts Based on Vehicle Features
Auto Insurance DiscountsAllstate (%)American Family (%)Farmers (%)GEICO (%)Liberty Mutual (%)Nationwide (%)Progressive (%)State Farm (%)Travelers (%)USAA (%)
Adaptive Cruise ControlN/AN/AN/AN/A5xxN/AN/AN/A
Adaptive HeadlightsN/AN/AxN/A5xxN/AN/AN/A
Anti-lock Brakesxxx555x5xx
Anti-Theftxxx252025x15xx
Daytime Running Lightsxxx155xN/Axx
Electronic Stability ControlxxxN/A5xxN/AN/AN/A
Green VehiclexN/A5N/A10N/AN/AN/A10N/A
Lane Departure WarningN/AN/AN/AN/AxxxN/AN/AN/A
Newer VehiclexN/AxxN/Axx401012
Passive Restraintxxx40x20x40xx
Seat Belt UseN/AN/AN/A15N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Vehicle Recoveryxxx153525x5xx
VIN EtchingN/AN/AxN/A5xxN/Axx

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Savings based on safe driving are also available. For example, you may be eligible for a safe driver discount of up to 35% if you haven’t had any recent accidents.

You can also get a defensive driving discount for taking a course. Many states even let you use the class to remove points from your driver’s license.

Other auto insurance discounts include multi-car, multi-policy, continuous coverage, and paperless billing discounts. There are many types of discounts that may be available to you.

Restraint System: What You Need To Know

The restraint system in your car consists of automatic seat belts and air bags. When combined, bodily injuries during crashes are minimized.

Car insurance companies offer restraint system discounts because reduced bodily injuries mean fewer payouts after an accident. Your vehicle’s other safety features can also earn you discounts, such as anti-lock brakes and stability control.

While restraint systems save you money, they, more importantly, save your life.

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