How Are IIHS Safety Awards calculated?

IIHS Crash Testing and Vehicle Safety

How Are IIHS Safety Awards calculated?

While an individual’s driving record, age, and experience can influence the price of insurance, another big factor is the car’s safety rating. Some vehicles have an advantage when it comes to avoiding accidents, and those are often cheaper to insure. Some of the best measures of vehicle crash safety are the IIHS safety scores. But how are IIHS Safety Awards calculated and what do they mean? Keep reading for an overview.

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Car insurance can be expensive, but it is required by law in most states, including Wisconsin, so it is good to get the best possible rates. Safer cars can get better insurance rates. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) tests new vehicles for two-categories of crash protection: crashworthiness and crash avoidance.

IIHS Crash Testing Breakdown

When testing a vehicle for optimal crash protection, one of the key questions is how it will do in the event of an accident. New vehicles are put through a test to determine how they (and their passengers) will survive different types of impact, and then rated good, acceptable, marginal or poor. The types of impact testing done are:

  • Moderate overlap front – the test car hits a barrier with almost half of its front (40% of its total width) at 40 mph
  • Small overlap front – the vehicle hits a barrier at 40 mph with just about one quarter of its total width
  • Side impact – each vehicle is hit in the side with a weight meant to imitate a 3,300-pound SUV going 31 mph
  • Roof strength – the roof of the vehicle is crushed to determine how it would survive in a rollover situation
  • Head Restraints – measures how a persons’s head and spine impact the back head support

Check out these videos which provide an overview on small overlap crash testing for small and midsize cars.

IIHS Crash Avoidance and Mitigation Standards

While being able to survive a crash is important, it is even better to not end up in one in the first place. Because of this, the IIHS also awards the levels of basic, advanced, or superior to vehicles with available crash avoidance technology, like forward alert warnings, or even automatic braking.

Other factors that can affect the cost of car insurance include the age and value of the vehicle, including depreciation, what style of vehicle it is, and where you live.