Driving a Safer Car can save you Money on Auto Insurance

Your insurance rate is often affected by the type of type of vehicle you drive. Does you car have air bags? An alarm? What is its safety rating according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)?

While we can't always make our car safer, it is good to know what makes a car safe so then we make our next purchase- we do so informed.

A Little Background…

The NHTSA came into existence when automobile related deaths started increasing rapidly during the 1960's. During this time car fatalities skyrocketed because of the increased number of more powerful vehicles on the road and because simple safety features, like the seatbelt, were optional at best. The NHTSA stepped in and began regulating the safety of all manufactured vehicles. They were largely responsible for the "Buckle Up" campaign making wearing a seatbelt a law and not an option. Before the NHTSA, many manufacturers were constructing dashboards and steering wheels out of steel which often had sharp edges. The NHTSA regulated the interior safety of all vehicles. They also were the driving force behind requirements for airbags, child restraints, electronic stability programs and other major automobile safety advancements.

The 5-Star Safety Rating

The NHTSA created the 5-Star Safety Rating which plays a large role in helping insurance companies determine the safety ratings of vehicles. The 5-Star Safety Rating ranks each vehicle based on the following criteria:

Frontal Driver Safety

Frontal Passenger Safety

Side Driver Safety

Side Rear Passenger Safety

Rollover 2 Wheel Drive Safety

Rollover 4 Wheel Drive Safety

Each vehicle is rated and can achieve up to 5 stars for each category. You can search your vehicles 5-Star Safety rating using this tool by SaferCar.gov.

Top 10 Safest Cars

According to Autotropolis.com, The safest new cars on the market in 2008 are:

1. 2008 Ford Taurus
2. 2008 Jeep Commander
3. 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee
4. 2008 Lincoln Town Car
5. 2008 Infiniti FX
6. 2008 Honda Pilot
7. 2008 Mercury Sable
8. 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis
9. 2008 Chrysler Town and Country
10. 2008 Toyota Highlander

Runners Up:

11. 2008 Toyota Sienna
12. 2008 Chevroelt HHR
13. 2008 Honda Odyssey
14. 2008 Lincoln Mark LT
15. 2008 Chevrolet Suburban

Next time you go to purchase a car, think about the safety ratings and how this may affect your car insurance rates. You might be able to save some money just by opting for a safer vehicle.