The world has been changing faster than we care to realize. The Model T first rolled out on to our roads in 1908, only just over one-hundred years ago. In those days, the noise really did frighten the horses. You could hear them coming from a considerable distance. Today, whispering death can roll up behind you without you noticing anything. The modern engine is a miracle of silence. Ironically, we have almost arrived at the level of noiseless travel where the old Rolls Royce promise would come true. In the good old days, the ads said the loudest thing you would hear was the clock ticking. Today, we have digital clocks and no ticks to disturb the peace. Indeed, wherever you look, there’s evidence of advancing technology. It can be in the design of the suspension and braking systems to produce safer handling. Or it can be in the way the body crumples in a collision to absorb the impact and reduce the injuries to those inside.
It would be nice to think the investment of all this intelligence into the design of our vehicles could produce cheap auto insurance rates. Well, in one sense, this is already happening. The insurers work with the government in agreeing the standards for crash-testing the current range of makes and models. Those which do the best are awarded lower rates. There’s a safety premium if you follow the government recommendations on the safest vehicles. There’s just one problem. This new technology is not yet really cheap. Some of the safest vehicles are actually more expensive to insure because of the cost of maintenance and repairs. It’s a wonderful idea to absorb the force of an impact by having body panels crumple. Except, of course, after even a relatively minor collision, it can require the replacement of more bodywork at higher prices than the old-fashioned piece of metal. Of course the cost will gradually fall as the size of the market increases and mass manufacturing reduces the cost of spares. But, until then, you may not see the benefit of cheaper rates.
Another aspect of all this new technology is the ability for the vehicle to drive itself. Many vehicles come with radar systems that sound a warning if we get too close to an object when reversing. The Japanese have gone one step further with the Lexus LS 460L that will take all the pain out of parallel parking. The wholly automated system will park it for you and never hit any other vehicle in the process. Manufacturers are looking to apply technology to freeway driving. All it would take is a wire running down the center of each lane and you could have hands-free journeys. Although it would require us to trust the technology not to crash us into any of the other vehicles around us, it could significantly reduce the risk of accidents on long journeys.
In the face of such advances, there will be cheap car insurance tomorrow as we are slowly replaced as the drivers and computers take over. Until tomorrow comes, focus on buying the safest makes and models you can afford. The auto insurance quotes will come in lower and keep you happy.