A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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We are all looking for ways to lower our car insurance rates, and one of the ways we may be able to save money is by taking advantage of driver discounts available from insurance companies. There are a plethora of auto insurance discounts available, though some are more specifically tailored than others. For example, if you work in a certain field like teaching or medicine, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance rate either with your current insurer or another company. When comparing car insurance quotes, it is a good idea to see exactly which discounts various companies offer.

Vehicle Safety Equipment Discount

While this discount varies from one company to another, in general, car insurance companies offer discounts for safety features that make you less likely to get hurt in an accident or make your car less likely to be damaged. By this method of calculating discounts, equipment like airbags and anti-lock brakes often point toward savings to you on your insurance bill should you meet the eligibility requirements.

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Anti-Theft Systems

Anti-theft systems deter thieves from stealing cars by making it difficult for them to accomplish that goal. Car insurance companies take this matter seriously, as millions of dollars are lost every year to auto theft. Even if the car is recovered, it is often damaged so badly that the insurance company must “total” it; many cars are never recovered at all.

Surprisingly, some of the “hottest” cars for thieves are not flashy sports cars or huge SUVs; the Honda Accord has been one of the most-stolen cars for several years running, along with the Toyota Camry and Dodge Caravan. Thieves are usually interested in cars that they can sell, and popular models with many integrated features are popular targets.

Thieves are also likely to choose cars that have loads of “features.” Sometimes thieves do not want the car at all, but the fantastic stereo system it contains. Of course, this also results in significant damage to the vehicle, so anti-theft devices can also deter this type of “standing” theft and help keep your car from being vandalized.

In order to prevent your car from being stolen, you may have purchased a car with integrated anti-theft devices or installed them yourself post-factory. For example, “The Club” has become a very popular anti-theft device that costs less than $100. It can be installed or removed in seconds from a steering wheel and prevents thieves from driving the car. Some car insurance companies will give you a discount for this sort of anti-theft protection, although most prefer to see integrated or “on-board” anti-theft measures in order to give discounts.

Most onboard anti-theft devices consist of two components: a loud, attention-drawing siren or alarm, and ignition shut down. Most newer cars come with “chipped” keys, or keys that contain microchips that activate your engine. Unless your key has a chip, your car will not start at all. Other cars have after-market security installed, at a cost of $150 to $1,000. The better the brand and the more comprehensive it is, the more likely your insurance company will give you a discount.

After Market Installation

In thinking about installing after-market security, be sure to weigh the cost of your comprehensive insurance deductible and any discounts you may receive against the cost of the system. For example, if you will receive a ten percent discount on your comprehensive premium of $500 per year for installing a security system, and your comprehensive deductible is $250, you would have to receive the discount for five years to equal the amount of your deductible. You would have to receive a discount for even more years to pay for the cost of installation. If your system costs $1,000, it is unlikely you will ever “break-even,” even if you have a discount from your company.

Of course, saving money is not the only reason to install a security system. You may feel safer, or may simply want to avoid the hassle of a thief taking your car. If you can afford the cash outlay, installing a security system is usually a good idea, even if you never regain the cost of the system itself.