The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit group supported by the major auto insurance companies, has been studying insurance claims from vehicles sold from 2000-2011 that have some of the big-ticket safety options — collision avoidance systems (with and without auto-braking), lane departure warning systems and adaptive headlights. Some interesting findings:
–> Collision avoidance systems reduce claim frequency, and the reductions are larger on vehicles that put the brakes for you (as in our long-term 2010 Volvo XC60).
–> Vehicles with collision avoidance systems and adaptive headlights saw much sharper declines in the frequency of property damage liability (PDL) claims (claims for damage to the other person’s car) than collision claims (claims for damage to the insured driver’s car). Adaptive headlights also reduced bodily injury liability claims.
–> Lane departure warning systems aren’t nearly so effective, though…
First a couple disclaimers: The Institute only looked at Buicks, Mercedes-Benzes and Volvos with LDW systems, and the Volvos presented too many variables (as Volvos with LDW always have that packaged with a collision avoidance system as well). On the Buicks and Benzes, though, property damage liability and collision claims actually went up.
“Lane departure warning may end up saving lives down the road, but so far these particular versions aren’t preventing insurance claims,” Matt Moore, vice president of HLDI, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said in a press release. “It may be that drivers are getting too many false alarms, which could make them tune out the warnings or turn them off completely. Of course, that doesn’t explain why the systems seem to increase claim rates, but we need to gather more data to see if that’s truly happening.”
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