Online Auto Insurance: New GM Safety Feature Could Have Additional Benefits

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If the new "front center" airbag from GM helps lessen the severity of crash injuries, it could lead to discounts on some types of auto insurance down the road, according to OAI.

General Motor’s recent announcement that it will outfit some vehicles with a new “front center” airbag to better protect occupants highlights automakers’ efforts to make cars safer, a pursuit that could have other benefits for budget-conscious consumers, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).

Because insurers often consider safety features and average claim costs when determining premiums, owning a vehicle with innovations that safeguard drivers and passengers and keep damages low could help qualify drivers for quality, low cost car insurance that covers injuries sustained by the policyholder.

GM announced plans this week for its new air bag, which is designed to protect drivers and front passengers in crashes in which the occupant who is struck is seated on the opposite side of the vehicle from where the collision occurs. The safety feature will be included in several model year 2013 vehicles.

Federal safety officials say crashes in which the side of a passenger vehicle is impacted are second only to frontal crashes in terms of deaths and serious injuries.

Impacts to the passenger compartment are particularly dangerous because there are no deep, crushable metal structures in place to protect the occupant, as happens in frontal and rear-end crashes.


Automakers and insurance companies have a decades-old history of supporting automotive safety innovations—such as making air bags and seat belts standard equipment on vehicles—that have drastically reduced the extent of deaths and injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those two safety devices continue to save thousands of lives each year.

NHTSA estimated that 15,147 deaths were averted by the use of seat belt use in 2007 and air bags saved 2,788 lives, despite the fact that not all drivers use safety restraints and not all vehicles on the road are equipped with air bags.

OAI advises consumers to compare safety features as well as other factors when shopping for a vehicle and to ask coverage providers about all available discounts.

To learn more about this and other safety and insurance issues, readers can go to where they will find informative resource pages and a helpful rate-comparison generator.


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Gregor McGavin