Equipped with autonomous braking systems, backup cameras and blind spot sensors that alert drivers to roadway hazards, modern vehicles are prioritizing passenger safety.
And as more automobiles with advanced technology enter the U.S. fleet, Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. is preparing to reward customers whose vehicles possess some of those safety features.
On new personal automobile insurance policies and future policy renewals effective on or after Oct. 15, 2020, VFBMIC is offering premium discounts to policyholders who drive vehicles with collision avoidance technology. Eligible technology includes forward collision warning—with and without autonomous braking, blind spot warning and rear automatic braking.
Premium discounts will apply only to customers of VFBMIC’s multivariate-rated personal auto policy, or AMV, line of business.
David Tenembaum, VFBMIC actuarial manager, said Highway Loss Data Institute findings are enabling the company to offer these new policy discounts, as research found collision avoidance technology can significantly reduce accidents and claims.
HLDI research from 2018 revealed forward collision warnings with autonomous braking reduced the frequency of property damage liability claims by 13% and collision claims by 2.3%.
Forward collision warnings use sensors or cameras that warn drivers with audible and visual alerts they are getting too close to the vehicle in front of them. With the addition of autonomous braking, a vehicle will apply the brakes if a driver fails to respond to a rapidly approaching object.
Rear automatic emergency braking applies a vehicle’s brakes if a driver doesn’t respond to an object behind them. This feature reduced the frequency of property damage claims by 29.9% and collision claims by 12%.
Blind spot warnings, which alert drivers to vehicles in their blind spots, contributed to a 6.8% decrease in the frequency of property damage claims and a 1.5% decrease in collisions claims.
When combined, collision avoidance safety features could prevent one-third of reported crashes each year, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Though cars with advanced safety technology represent just a fraction of all vehicles on U.S. roads, VFBMIC is eager to embrace the future with its new discount program.
“We want to be a market leader—insurance companies are just getting started analyzing this information and reacting to it,” Tenembaum said.
“A limited number of companies are offering these types of discounts, and we want to get ahead of the pack by not only offering discounts for advanced safety features, but higher-than-average discounts compared to our competitors,” he added.
If you are insured through Farm Bureau’s AMV program and any of your vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance technology, please contact your local Farm Bureau insurance agent to see if your policy qualifies for a discount.