With over 6 million accidents occurring on the highways of America each year, insurance companies have turned to the results of these accidents for rate evaluations. In addition to the actual accident, the Institute of Highway Safety runs numerous annual crash tests on different vehicles, makes, models and years, and then publishes these safety results publically for consumer purchasing decisions, as well as helping determine insurance premium prices.
Purchasing a car with above average crash testing can directly result in a lower premium. Insurance companies see good performance on crash tests as an indicator to the risk of claims and a way of keeping occupants of vehicles safe. This in turn means more money saved by them in the form of lower risk of high hospital bills and repairs, which is then shared with the customer in the form of lower premiums.
Crash testing is done with mannequins that contain sensors and devices that can measure injuries such as concussions, broken bones, and even the likelihood of fatality. Angles, speeds, and other factors are also tested which gives an overall safety result that can be used to determine potential cost of insuring. In addition to insurance premiums, these tests are used by manufacturers to improve safety performance as well as consider price points for automobiles.
What is Tested?
Crash tests are performed by numerous different organizations on almost all, if not all, automobiles, including trucks, SUVs, sedans, coupes, and even motorcycles. These crash tests consist of simulated and actual crash scenarios. Front, side, top, bottom, inside and out are all tested with different speeds and velocity.
· Front impact tests are the most common type of crash test performed and include impacting a car into a concrete wall at a specific speed. Occasionally, crash tests are performed car vs. car rather than impacting a wall.
· Offset impacts are common among testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These tests include cars impacting head-to-head to simulate an accident that occurs by veering into oncoming traffic.
· Side impact tests are highly regarded when determining insurance values since they have the highest likelihood of fatality due to weak side zones on cars.
· Roll-over tests are commonly done on larger vehicles such as SUVs and minivans which have a higher likelihood of rolling. Sedans are commonly tested for roll-overs, but typically do not result in as much damage as larger, heavier automobiles.
· Protection testing has a sole purpose of testing protection equipment in an automobile. Anti-lock brakes, seatbelts, and airbags are all tested and typically result in higher or lower premiums depending on the results.