Does Having Anti-Lock Brakes Give You an Auto Insurance Discount?

Last Updated on January 4, 2021

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are a common safety feature, and they could reduce car insurance premiums.

Many car insurance companies provide discounts for any features that reduce the risk of your vehicle – including anti-lock brakes. Although anti-lock brakes have been required on all new vehicles for years, most insurers continue to provide specific ABS discounts on auto insurance.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about anti-lock brake discounts on auto insurance, including how much you can save and how discounts work.

Yes, Anti-Lock Brakes Give an Auto Insurance Discount

Does Having Anti-Lock Brakes Give You an Auto Insurance Discount?All major insurance companies provide discounts on safety features. Many insurers offer a specific discount for anti-lock brakes.

Typically, insurance companies bundle safety feature discounts as a group. If your vehicle has modern safety features or was made in the last few years, then you should qualify for this discount.

Some insurers continue to offer a specific anti-lock brake discount, however, dropping car insurance premiums by 2% to 5% specifically for having anti-lock brakes.

Some insurers categorize safety features and provide specific discounts based on the type of safety feature. Daytime running lights, for example, might drop annual premiums by 2%, while airbags drop it by 10% to 30%.

Contact your insurer or compare rates online to see how much you can save with anti-lock brake car insurance discounts.

Anti-Lock Brakes Are Mandatory in All New Vehicles

Anti-lock brakes have been standard safety features on vehicles for 7 to 20 years, depending on where you live.

The European Union has required all new vehicles to have anti-lock brakes since 2004.

In the United States, the NHTSA started to mandate anti-lock brakes on new vehicles in September 2013.

In other words, any new car sold in the United States since September 2013 should have anti-lock brakes.

However, many older vehicles have anti-lock brakes as well, and it has been a common safety feature on vehicles since the 1990s and mid-2000s. Even if your car is 20+ years old, it could have anti-lock brakes.

Insurers Analyze Accident Rates for Individual Vehicles

Anti-lock brakes are proven to save lives, reducing the risks of accidents and injuries. That means anti-lock brakes save car insurance companies money – which is why you get a discount for having anti-lock brakes.

However, insurance companies look at more than just safety features to calculate insurance premiums.

Insurance companies also consider your risk as a driver (based on your driving history, experience, and demographics) and your vehicle risk.

Some vehicles have better accident ratings than others. Some vehicles have better rollover ratings or crash survival ratings, for example. Some vehicles are loaded with safety features that significantly reduce the fatality rate, while other vehicles are barebones and have few safety features.

Insurance companies check all of this data when assigning premiums.

A 25-year old vehicle may have a high accident fatality rate, for example, which means it’s a huge risk for an insurance company to insure. A 25-year old vehicle might not have passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes, or other safety features found on modern vehicles.

Meanwhile, a brand new vehicle might have a much lower accident fatality rate. The new vehicle might have extensive airbags, modern crumple zones, anti-lock brakes, automatic braking, and other safety features that reduce the risk of injury.

Insurers check accident data across the United States to calculate risk. Based on the risk of the driver and the vehicle, the insurer calculates premiums.

How Much Can You Save for Having Anti-Lock Brakes?

If your insurance company gives a specific discount for having anti-lock brakes, then expect to save 2% to 5% for having ABS.

Some insurance companies bundle ABS discounts into a broader ‘safety features’ discount, which could be worth anywhere from 5% to 20%, based on the accident rate of your vehicle. A vehicle with extensive safety features will have lower insurance premiums than a vehicle with basic safety features.

The typical full coverage car insurance premium in the United States is around $1,400 per year, which means anti-lock brakes could save you $28 to $70 per year on car insurance (2% to 5%).

Why Do We Need Anti-Lock Brakes?

Anti-lock braking systems solve a crucial problem with vehicles. If you slam on your brakes in slippery conditions, your brakes lock up, causing you to slide. This reduces traction and makes it difficult to steer.

In the old days, people would recommend ‘pumping the brakes’ to avoid locking your brakes in slippery conditions. If you felt your vehicle slide, then you should press the brakes repeatedly to slow down and gain traction without locking brakes.

Unfortunately, few people remember to pump the brakes in an emergency. If someone steps in front of your vehicle on an icy road, for example, then you don’t have time to think: you just slam the brakes.

That’s how anti-lock brakes save lives. They allow you to maintain control and come to a stop more quickly – even when your vehicle is skidding.

How Anti-Lock Brakes Work

Anti-lock braking systems work by releasing and reapplying your brakes repeatedly.

The ABS system detects when you slam on your brakes, then pumps the brakes hundreds of times per second. This stops the vehicle’s wheels from skidding, allowing you to remain in complete control of your vehicle.

Anti-lock brakes consist of four main components, including:

Speed sensors that detect the rotation speed of your wheels

Valves in the brake line that apply and reapply pressure to the brakes

Pumps filled with hydraulic fluid to apply pressure to the brake drums and calipers

A controller that analyzes sensor data to determine when to apply the anti-lock braking system

Anti-lock brakes have been common on new vehicles for decades. However, they were invented all the way back in the 1920s as a braking system for aircraft. In the 1970s, vehicle manufacturers implemented the system to boost car safety.

Here’s the basic step-by-step process that occurs behind the scenes when you slam your brakes:

  • Step 1) You press the brake pedal.
  • Step 2) The sensors in your wheels detect skidding or locking (i.e. they notice that your vehicle is moving but your tires aren’t rotating).
  • Step 3) The ABS system pumps the brakes hundreds of times per second, giving you greater control of your vehicle during the skid.

This process takes place behind the scenes in milliseconds as you drive.

Final Word on Auto Insurance and Anti-Lock Brakes

Most vehicles sold in the last 10 years have anti-lock brakes. Any new vehicle sold in the United States since 2013 has had anti-lock brakes by law.

However, some insurers continue to provide discounts of 2% to 5% for anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are proven to save lives, reduce injuries in accidents, and reduce costs for insurers. Because of the reduce risk for insurance companies, insurers provide a small discount.

Contact your insurance company to ask about an anti-lock brake discount. Or, compare quotes online today to find your best car insurance rates.


James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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