What Is the Passive Restraint Discount?

Passive restraints in your car can help keep you safe in an accident. They can also get you a car insurance discount. Find out more here.
Man fastening his seat belt.

When you’re behind the wheel, it’s important to be safe and ready for anything. The same is true for owning a car. Even the safest drivers can get in an accident now and then. Owning a car with proper safety features such as a passive restraint system ensures that you and your passengers have protection in an accident. They can also get you a car insurance discount.

Safety features are important in protecting you from harm in an accident. But they can also help you lower your insurance rates. Car insurance companies reward customers who have cars with certain safety features. One of the safety features that can get you a discount are passive restraints. Many insurers provide discounts to drivers whose cars have passive restraints.

This article will help you understand more about passive restraints and the discounts insurers will give you for having them. We’ll break down how the passive restraint discount works and how you can qualify for it. Finally, we’ll cover who offers passive restraint discounts.

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What Are Passive Restraints?

Manufacturers have made cars much safer over the years. They’ve introduced many devices and systems to ensure that you have the best protection possible before or during an accident.

In the world of auto safety, passive restraints are any automatic restraints in a vehicle that protect passengers in the event of a collision or crash. If you get into a collision, your car will automatically deploy its passive restraint system to keep you safe.

These devices aren’t intended to help you avoid a crash. Their sole purpose is to reduce injuries and fatalities. In a collision, a vehicle changes direction at very fast speeds. And so will a human body inside a car. Passive restraints are meant to:

  • Slow passengers as long as possible
  • Distribute the force of the collision

In a high-speed crash, passive restraint devices can mean the difference between walking away with scratches and going to the emergency room. Insurance companies see these devices as a win-win. They save money when you not only survive a crash, but suffer as few injuries as possible.

Active Safety Devices vs. Passive Safety Devices

Ideally, you’ll see a lot of both active and passive safety devices when glancing at a vehicle’s spec sheet. To avoid confusion, it’s a good idea to know the difference between them. Luckily, it’s very simple. Active safety devices help you avoid accidents, while passive safety devices are there to protect you during an accident. A good way to remember it is that passive restraints protect your body rather than your car’s.

Examples of active safety devices include:

  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Blind spot detection
  • Lane departure warning systems
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Rear-cross traffic alert
  • Forward collision warning

Examples of passive restraint devices include:

  • Self-locking seat belts with pretensioners
  • Crumple zones
  • High strength glass
  • Airbags
  • Airbag deployment thresholds

How Does the Passive Restraint Discount Work?

Car insurance companies often offer discounts to people who practice good customer and driving habits. Looking for discounts is one of the best ways you can save money on your auto insurance. You may not qualify for every discount, but most people can at least qualify for a few. Below are several of the most common car insurance discounts:

You can get this discount from your insurer if your car has a passive restraint safety system. Having state-of-the-art safety features, such as a passive restraint system, on your car proves to your insurer that you take safe driving seriously. Owning a safe car will also help you avoid costly personal injury claims from serious accidents.

Most cars on the market today come with passive restraint systems. Airbags have been around since 1972, and are now standard equipment for almost every vehicle. Frontal airbags have been the market standard in sedans since 1998 and larger vehicles since 1999. With these odds, you’ll likely be able to qualify for a passive restraint discount.

State Passive Restraint Discount Requirement

Passive restraint discounts are so common that many insurance providers don’t even include it on their website. If you’re shopping around and looking for a particular discount on an insurance company’s website and don’t see the one you’re looking for, be sure to reach out and ask. There’s a good chance it’s available.

Some states go so far as requiring that insurance providers offer certain discounts. And the passive restraint discount is often one of them. The State of New York, for example, requires auto insurers to offer a passive restraint discount when the equipment meets federal standards.

How Much Is the Passive Restraint Discount?

How much the passive restraint discount will save you depends on your insurance provider. Each one has its own way of rewarding customers for driving safer cars. Discounts on any type of medical coverage are common. Most will see a reduction in costs for PIP or MedPay coverage. GEICO, for example, gives its customers a discount of up to 23% if they have airbags equipped on their vehicle. State Farm promises a discount of up to 40% on some coverages. Be sure to contact your insurer to see how much you can save with a passive restraint discount.

Not every insurer will offer the passive restraint discount. Each car insurance company has unique discounts and opportunities for savings. We recommend talking to your agent to find out more about your company’s available discounts. You could also compare quotes and discounts between insurers to find a better deal on your car insurance. You just might be able to pay less for coverage with another provider.

Who Offers the Passive Restraint Discount?

Four major insurers offer a passive restraint discount to customers. Here’s a list of these companies and some info about their discount:

American Family

American Family Insurance will give you a discount for factory-installed airbags. They call this the “auto safety equipment discount.” But they don’t say how much you’ll save if you qualify for the discount. Try contacting your AmFam insurance agent to learn more.

State Farm

You can get a passive restraint discount from State Farm if your vehicle is from 1993 and older and has a factory-installed airbag system. You can also get the discount if your car has another federally approved passive safety system, such as an automatic seat belt. State Farm will take up to 40% off medical-related coverages.


GEICO offers a generous airbag discount as part of their “Vehicle Equipment Discounts,” calling it the “airbag discount.” You could potentially earn a discount of up to 23% off the PIP or MedPay portion of your policy.


The Farmers Insurance passive restraint discount applies if your car has safety features such as airbags or automatic seat belts. Keep in mind that they don’t offer it in every state. It may be a good idea to talk to your Farmers agent to check availability.


Nationwide offer a passive restraint discount on auto insurance policies. Unlike other insurers, however, Nationwide only recognizes full front-seat airbags as passive restraints for this discount. Contact your Nationwide agent or visit their website to learn more.


Amica provides a passive restraint discount for vehicles with airbags and automatic seat belts. You’ll need to contact Amica to find out if you qualify and how much you’ll save.

The General

The General is an auto insurer that caters primarily to high-risk drivers. These drivers already pay the highest rates of any group of drivers, so the General provides several vehicle safety discounts to help curb these high costs. One of these is the passive restraint discount. The General doesn’t disclose what the savings are. This is mostly because the savings from this discount vary from state to state. If your vehicle has passive restraints, such as air bags and automatic seat belts, you may receive a discount.

AARP/The Hartford

The Hartford (and AARP) offers a discount for several vehicle safety features. Unlike most insurers, your car must have more than one airbag to qualify for Hartford’s discount. Savings for these discounts vary by state. So, you’ll need to check with your agent or contact the Hartford directly to learn more.


Safety Savings is a general vehicle safety discount offered by Erie to cars with certain factory-installed devices. Air bags are a passive restraint that qualify for the discount. Erie doesn’t say exactly how much this discounts saves you. Savings often vary by state, so it’s best to contact an agent to learn more.

NJM Insurance

NJM’s offers a vehicle safety equipment discount to you if certain devices are installed on your car. These devices include air bags and automatic seat belts. Both factory-installed and after-market passive devices qualify for the discount. NJM doesn’t explicitly state how much a passive device system will lower your rates. Rates almost always vary by state. So, you’ll need to contact NJM or an agent to learn more.

Shelter Insurance

Shelter provides a passive restraint discount for certain devices. You must have either factory installed airbags or federally approved automatic seatbelts to qualify. To find out how much a passive restraint device can save you, contact Shelter to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does passive restraint mean?

A: A passive restraint is any safety device in your car that automatically deploys in a collision to protect passengers. Passive safety devices are usually airbags, crumple zones, and automatic seat belts.

Q: What’s the difference between a passive and an active safety device?

A: In auto safety, a passive safety device is something that protects you after a collision occurs. On the other hand, an active safety device is something that’s designed to prevent an accident, such as headlamps, rear and side mirrors, and brakes. Active devices are sometimes referred to as active restraints.

Q: Is a seat belt a passive restraint?

A: A seat belt is not a passive restraint. Rather, it’s an active restraint. This is because you must manually buckle your seat belt to give yourself protection, the car doesn’t do it for you. Only automatic seat belts and seat belts with pretensioners qualify as a passive restraint.


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