Q: How trustworthy are vehicle safety ratings?
Apr 14, 2021

I’m looking up safety ratings as part of my research for buying a car. Are these ratings reliable? Do they actually mean anything?

Answer provided by
Eric Schad
Eric Schad has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade, as well as an SEO specialist and editor for the past five years. Before getting behind the keyboard, he worked in the finance and music industries (the perfect combo). With a wide array of professional and personal experiences, he’s developed a knack for tone and branding across many different verticals. Away from the computer, Schad is a blues guitar shredder, crazed sports fan, and always down for a spontaneous trip anywhere around the globe.

“Most new vehicle models are crash-tested by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a government agency, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit funded by insurance companies. Both are widely recognized as reliable.

The NHTSA uses a five-star safety rating that may be easier for some to read, with one star being the worst rating and five stars the best. The IIHS uses “Good,” “Acceptable,” “Marginal,” and “Poor” for its rating system. It also has “Top Safety Pick” and “Top Safety Pick+” distinctions to recognize the safest vehicles on the road.

Both the IIHS and NHTSA also provide distinctions for vehicles that use advanced safety features to mitigate the risk of crashes (lane-departure alert, automatic cruise control, etc.). Furthermore, the NHTSA and IIHS ratings consider front, side, and rollover crash tests.

If you’re looking for safety, consider vehicles with five-star ratings from the NHTSA and Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ honors from the IIHS. Not only will you get a safer vehicle, but you may also save money on your monthly car insurance premiums. “

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