Car insurance costs could drop as manufacturers introduce auto-braking technology

02 October 2012 #SMMT News

Following new accident risk assessment work by Thatcham, the UK motor insurance repair research centre, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is introducing important changes to the insurance group rating system.

As a result, motorists that buy cars fitted as standard with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) technologies could immediately benefit from a one to five group drop in insurance rating and potentially a lower premium.

These changes will be available to the insurance industry for the first time from 20 October and will be updated as car manufacturers continue to fit AEB systems to models as standard.

“Driver, passenger and pedestrian safety are top priorities for the automotive industry and vehicle manufacturers dedicate much of their R&D activities to technologies that make our products safer for all road users,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.

“The recognition of Autonomous Emergency Braking in the insurance group rating system will encourage more motorists to specify it when buying a new car. Motorists do value safety and it does influence their buying decisions. This decision by the ABI demonstrates the value of insurers and vehicle manufacturers working together to promote uptake of innovative safety technologies.”

James Dalton, Head of Motor and Liability at the Association of British Insurers said, “Advancements in vehicle technology mean that cars are becoming ever safer. Insurers have been working closely with vehicle manufacturers to help bring forward AEB technology which will help to decrease the number of car crashes on our roads. Today’s announcement is a positive outcome for motorists who can expect not only safer vehicles but reduced motor insurance premiums as a result.”

AEB technologies use laser, RADAR and camera sensors to monitor the road ahead, warn drivers of a potential hazard and, ultimately, apply full braking pressure independently of the driver to help prevent a collision or mitigate the severity of the impact.

AEB has been identified internationally by road safety and insurance organisations as having the potential to reduce the number of low speed front-to-rear shunts, and accidents involving pedestrians.

Additionally the latest generation AEB systems have the potential to prevent some 2,700 pedestrian casualties annually as well as some 160,000 whiplash injury claims, which have added significantly to insurance costs in recent years.

“This is a fantastic example of the insurance industry not only embracing and encouraging important new safety technology, but also looking after their policyholders,” added Peter Shaw, Thatcham Chief Executive. “Aside from any financial advantage that specifying AEB could bring, motorists will certainly benefit from the peace of mind that comes with what Thatcham have proven to be a significant safety benefit.”

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