How Much of an Insurance Discount Do You Get for Having a Car Alarm?

Last Updated on November 12, 2022

If your car has an alarm, then you could save on insurance.

Many insurers provide discounts for anti-theft devices. If your vehicle has passive or active anti-theft devices, then you could save hundreds per year on auto insurance.

How much can you save on insurance for having a car alarm? What types of car alarm discounts are available? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about car alarm auto insurance discounts.

You Could Save 2% to 10% Per Year With a Car Alarm

Many insurers offer discounts for car alarms and other anti-theft devices. According to our research, the average car insurance company reduces premiums by 2% to 10% for having a car alarm.

car alarm insurance discount

That means the average driver will save $10 to $50 per year for having a car alarm.

Car alarm discounts vary between insurers. Some insurers do not offer discounts at all. Other insurers offer steep discounts.

You only get a discount on the comprehensive coverage part of your policy (which protects your vehicle outside of accidents). Your comprehensive coverage covers vehicle theft, among other things. When you have a car alarm, you reduce the chance of vehicle theft substantially. If comprehensive coverage makes up roughly one-third of your insurance policy, then a car alarm could save you $10 to $50 per year on coverage (assuming your full coverage car insurance policy costs a total of around $1,500 per year).

Compare quotes online to find the best car insurance company for your car alarm discount.

How Car Alarms Work

Car alarms work in different ways to deter theft. Some are passive car alarms, which are always running and quietly deter someone from stealing your vehicle. Others are active car alarms that you can activate remotely. There are even silent car alarms that send a notification without alerting the thief.

Most car alarms use a similar system, however:

  • Car alarms consist of several basic parts, including a computer, a receiver, a loudspeaker, and multiple sensors.
  • When your car is locked, the alarm system is on. If a sensor receives a specific response during this time, then the alarm is activated, creating noise.
  • Most car alarms use door sensors. If a car thief opens the door of your vehicle, for example, then the alarm will sound to deter the thief from stealing your vehicle.
  • Some car alarms also use shock or impact sensors. These sensors may detect things like a broken windshield. If someone shatters your windshield to steal your stuff, for example, then the alarm may be activated. Some modern cars even have microphone sensors, tilt sensors, or proximity sensors, among other advanced systems.

Using this network of sensors, computers, and alarms, a good car alarm system can reduce the chances of vehicle theft.

Types of Car Alarms

There are four main types of car alarms, including passive, active, silent, and advanced car alarm systems.

Passive Car Alarms: Passive car alarms are always on. You don’t need to activate this system. Any time you lock your car, you’re arming your car alarm. This is the type of alarm most people think of when they hear “car alarm.”

Active Car Alarms: Active car alarms require the driver to manually turn them on. Like passive alarms, active alarms sound when an intruder enters the car. If you have an “alarm” button on your key fob, then this can be considered an active alarm. You can press the button at any time to activate the alarm system.

Silent Car Alarms: Some newer cars have silent alarms. These alarms trigger after a break-in, but they do so without alerting the thief. They might send a notification to the owner’s phone, for example. Some vehicles have silent, active, and passive car alarms built into a single system.

Advanced Car Alarms: Some cars have advanced car alarms or full security suites. OnStar and LoJack are two of the best-known remote shutdown systems, for example, that also have alarm functionalities. When OnStar or LoJack detect a break-in, they can remotely shut down the car to boost the chances of recovery.

Types of Car Alarm Sensors

Car alarms use different sensors to detect break-ins. Some cars only have sensors on doors to detect a break-in, for example. Other cars have sensors on windows and other components to increase the chances of detecting a thief.

Some of the most common types of car alarm sensors include:

Door Sensors: Most cars use door sensors as the basis of their alarm system. When the alarm is active, the sensor waits for the door to open, then sounds an alarm if the thief has broken into the vehicle.

Shock and Impact Sensors: Some vehicles have shock sensors that detect shocks around your vehicle. If someone smashes a window, for example, then the shock or impact sensor detects the impact, sending an alert to the car’s computer. Some shock and impact sensors activate erroneously – say, if someone slams a door nearby or hits the side of your car gently when parking.

Microphone Sensors: Microphone sensors detect when someone breaks a window or if there’s any loud noise around your vehicle. These sensors monitor ambient noise. If there’s a sudden shift in ambient noise, then this shift could activate the car alarm.

Tilt Sensors: Some car thieves don’t bother breaking into your vehicle. They simply tow your vehicle to a remote location, then break into it there. That’s why some cars have tilt sensors. These sensors use mercury to detect a change in angle. If a car changes its angle when parked, then mercury pours into one side of the sensor, activating the sensor and creating the alarm.

Proximity or Perimeter Sensors: Proximity or perimeter sensors monitor the area around your vehicle. They’re common on newer, higher-end vehicles. If someone is close to your front bumper, for example, or in your blind spot, then you could hear a chime from the proximity or perimeter sensor.

Types of Anti-Theft Discounts

Insurers apply different car insurance discounts depending on your security system. Generally, the more security features your car has, the harder it is to steal, which reduces the risk for your insurer.

Here are some of the types of anti-theft discounts provided by major insurers today:

Passive Alarm Discount: Virtually every car has a passive alarm system. If your car has a passive alarm, then you could save on car insurance. This is the smallest discount, and some insurers don’t offer a passive alarm discount at all.

Sound-Only Discount: Some insurers provide sound-only car alarm discounts. If your car alarm only uses sound to deter thieves, then you could qualify for this discount.

Remote Shutdown or Engine Disabling System Discount: If your car has a remote shutdown system, then you may qualify for the highest possible insurance discount. Remote shutdown systems significantly increase the chances of vehicle recovery. OnStar, LoJack, and other remote shutdown systems can help you save hundreds per year on car insurance.

Tracking or Recovery System Discount: Similar to remote shutdown discounts, tracking or recovery system discounts are available on vehicles with remote tracking features, which can significantly increase the chances of vehicle recovery.

Other Alarm Discounts: Some insurers provide discounts to all vehicles, regardless of their types of alarms. Others separate discounts into different tiers depending on the alarm. By comparing quotes, you can find the best car insurance company to maximize your car alarm discount.

Final Word – Car Alarm Insurance Discounts

If your vehicle has a car alarm, then you could save on comprehensive coverage. Most insurers offer a small discount of 2% to 10% for having a car alarm. However, drivers with advanced car alarm systems could save even more.

Compare quotes online today to maximize your car alarm discount.

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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