High-Tech Auto Safety = High-Priced Insurance Rates?
Wouldn’t you think that the safer your car is, the less it would be to insure? After all, as our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know, insurance companies usually pay for auto repairs after collisions. So, if your car has especially high-tech systems to help prevent collisions, making the collisions less likely, wouldn’t insurance companies want to reward such systems with lower premiums? As it turns out, it’s not that simple. Find out why High-Tech Auto Safety = High-Priced Insurance Rates.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, new vehicles “loaded with high-tech crash-prevention gear are having a perverse effect on car insurance costs: They are soaring.” With collision-prevention technology an increasing reality in the auto market (14% of vehicles sold in the 2016 model-year came packed with such technology), this problem is not one which only affects a small portion of the market. To be sure, the safety technology helps: car manufacturers and industry researchers argue that the technology does help to prevent crashes.
But the decrease in risk of crashing is leading to an increase in cost. The reason? High-tech technology which prevents crashes is very expensive, as our personal injury lawyers understand. For instance, as the WSJ article explained, it currently costs $166 to fix a standard left-side mirror on a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350. However, that same mirror (but with the collision-prevention technology) on that same car costs $925 to fix! Auto components such as side-mirrors, grilles, fenders and bumpers which come equipped with safety sensors are more expensive to repair due to the necessary software re-calibration. Another problem leading to increased cost is that the replacement parts have limited availability.
Is the extra technology necessary? To answer that question, consider the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that human error accounts for more than 90% of all crashes that take place in the U.S.. If technology can help mitigate human errors behind the wheel, then crashes can be prevented, property damage can be averted, and injuries can be avoided. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted research showing, for instance, that cars equipped with automatic braking technology experienced a 50% reduction in rear-end crashes.
As our personal injury lawyers know, other factors—aside from the high-tech safety features of a car—can lead to increased insurance rates. According to Allstate, information reflecting your age, gender, driving record and the number of miles you drive can affect your insurance premiums. Also relevant is where you drive and, importantly, where you park overnight.
Even with the presence of extensive safety features, car crashes are a reality of life in 2017. When a car accident is not your fault, and you suffer injuries in the accident due to the negligence of another, it is usually the at-fault party’s insurance company who is responsible for paying your damages.