Safest cars

16 minute read Published on Jan 8, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

A side view of a smiling dad driving a car with his 2 kids waving their hands outside of the car's window.

Whether you’re buying an electric car, a hybrid car, or a gas-powered car, you probably want to make sure that you're buying a safe and reliable car. Knowing what the most reliable electric cars or the most reliable car brands in Canada are can help. However, there are several other factors to consider when assessing a vehicle’s safety. Below, we explain what vehicle safety ratings are in Canada and what cars are considered to be the safest in Canada today.

Car safety ratings explained

Each make and model of car in Canada is assigned a safety rating. Safety ratings are scores given to cars to determine how safe they are if they were to be involved in a collision. The score denotes not only how likely the car is to avoid a collision in the first place but also how effective the vehicle will be at protecting the driver and passengers in the car should it get into an accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the entity tasked with determining which cars are the safest in Canada. They use a series of tests to evaluate a car’s accident avoidance and protection capabilities and ultimately determine which cars are the safest in Canada:

Types of vehicle safety ratings in Canada

There are three main types of car safety ratings in Canada, each of which is determined by a different organization or entity. As mentioned above the IIHS is the main body that assigns safety ratings to cars in Canada, but it isn’t the only one. The three vehicle safety ratings you will find in the country include:

IIHS safety rating

IIHS car safety ratings are presented as colours. Each colour on their scale represents a different rating, ranging from “poor” or “basic” to “good” or “superior.”

National safety mark

The national safety mark is the second type of vehicle safety rating in Canada. This mark is given to automakers when they have been shown to comply with Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) in Canada. Thus, the national safety mark denotes that a car is safe and reliable.

NHTSA rating

The NHTSA is a U.S.-based organization that rates cars using a 5-star rating system. Five is the highest and one is the lowest.

What makes a vehicle safe in Canada?

According to the IIHS, a vehicle will be considered safe if it meets the following criteria:

  • A good rating in driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.
  • An acceptable or good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test.
  • An advanced or superior rating in the front crash prevention test.
  • An acceptable or good in the headlight rating.

How to check the safety rating of your car

If you want to check the safety rating of a particular make and model of vehicle, you can visit the IIHS’s website and enter the specifics of your vehicle. From there, you will gain all sorts of valuable information about the safety of your car, including how effective it is at protecting vehicle occupants and how well it avoids and mitigates car accidents.

Why vehicle safety matters

There are a number of reasons why vehicle safety matters. First, getting into a car accident can lead to bodily harm and even death. The safer your car is, i.e. the better it is at avoiding a crash or protecting you should you be involved in a crash, the less likely you are to suffer bodily harm. Thus, the primary reason that vehicle safety matters is that it can help keep you safe and healthy.

Another reason that car safety matters is that it can actually reduce your car insurance or motorcycle insurance costs. An insurance company will consider the safety rating of the vehicle you drive when determining your rates. The safer your car, the lower your premium is likely to be.

A list of the safest cars in Canada

Now that you know a little bit more about how safety ratings are determined and assigned in Canada, as well as why it’s so important to drive a safe car, let’s dive into a list of the safest cars in Canada right now:

2023 Volvo V90

Volvo has a long-standing reputation for being one of the safest car brands in the world, and the 2023 Volvo V90 is no exception. Prioritizing style, performance, and yes, safety, the V90 features a wide range of driver-assistance safety features, such as automatic high-beam headlights, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and a surround-view camera system, among others.

2023 Volkswagen Arteon

The 2023 Volkswagen Arteon is another vehicle worth looking into if you want to purchase a safe car. This stylish sedan comes with adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. It even has parallel and perpendicular park assist.

2023 Genesis GV60

Next, the 2023 Genesis GV60, which is an electric vehicle crossover, strikes the perfect balance between SUV and hatchback. This vehicle comes equipped with all kinds of incredible safety features, including but not limited to pedestrian, cyclist, and junction-turning detection, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear-seat alert this reminds the driver to check the back seat for children or pets before exiting the vehicle, and safe-exit assist this alerts passengers who are exiting that there is a car approaching from behind.

2023 Kia EV6

The 2023 Kia EV6 is the second electric car to make this list of the safest vehicles in Canada. The Kia EV6 is sporty, features rear-wheel-drive, and has a range of up to 310 miles (498 kilometres). Meanwhile, safety features range from highway driving assist and adaptive cruise control to forward automatic and reverse automatic emergency braking, driver-attention monitoring, lane keep assist, automatic lane change, evasive steering assist, intersection assist, and lane tracing assist.

2023 Genesis GV70

A second Genesis makes this list - this time, it’s the 2023 Genesis GV70. Offering state-of-the-art design and technology, including a top-notch infotainment system, the latest model of the Genesis GV70 comes with all kinds of driver assistance features, like front and rear parking sensors, rear-seat alert, park assist, reverse collision warning, pedestrian detection, and stop-and-go adaptive cruise control.

2023 Toyota Sienna

The 2023 Toyota Sienna is another one of the safest cars in Canada right now. The vehicle features Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 technology, which means that it comes equipped with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking.

2023 Honda Odyssey

Next up is the 2023 Honda Odyssey. This vehicle earned a high safety rating across the board, with specific features including lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Last but not least is the 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This vehicle earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS for a number of reasons, including its perfect crashworthiness scores. Meanwhile, safety features that you can expect from this model include adaptive cruise control, night vision, park assist, a 360-degree camera system, automatic high beams, and automatic emergency braking.

Car safety features explained

There are a number of car safety features out there, many of which were mentioned in the list above. However, knowing what they are and how they work to keep you safe is important. That is why we have put together the following list that details some of the most common vehicle safety features:

Lane departure warning

Lane departure warning uses a front-facing camera, usually found high up on the windshield of your car, to detect and alert the driver that they have crossed or are driving on a lane marker. In other words, when your vehicle is moving, the camera works to detect lanes on the road and monitor if you are travelling inside or outside of your lane.

These types of systems often provide some visual, audible, or tactile alert or a combination of these alerts to let the driver know that they are on the verge of crossing over into another lane. Lane departure warning typically does not activate when the turn signal is on.

Lane keep assist

Lane keep assist is a more advanced version of lane departure warning in that it will nudge your car back into the lane if it detects that you are crossing over into another lane without your turn signal being on. In essence, lane keep assist provides steering support to prevent drivers from accidentally drifting out of their lanes.

Collision warning and blind spot monitoring

Next, collision warning and blind spot monitoring systems tend to go hand-in-hand. They work as follows: when another car gets too close to your vehicle, your car will send you a visual or audible alert that indicates that you should move your car out of the way. Some advanced collision warning and blind spot monitoring systems are linked to the brakes in your car.

These brakes will automatically kick in to stop the vehicle from crashing into the car in front of them. Please note that accidents affect car insurance rates, so if you want to keep your rates low, driving a car with collision warning and blind spot monitoring can help you avoid an accident and thus having to pay more for car insurance.

Adaptive cruise control

Adaptive cruise control is another modern-day safety feature in cars. This feature works with the anti-lock braking system in your car and uses sensors to detect when traffic has slowed down or when you switch lanes to pass a vehicle on the highway. When it detects either of these situations, either the gas or brake, whichever is applicable, will be activated, allowing the driver to continue driving without turning off cruise control.

Automatic and adaptive headlights

Automatic or adaptive headlights are another safety feature that is becoming commonplace in cars. These headlights not only automatically turn on based on the light or lack of light outside, but they also adapt to the shape of the road. For instance, if the road is very windy, adaptive headlights can bend light to increase visibility. They make driving at night much safer.


Airbags are one of the most standard types of vehicle safety technology, but they are still worth mentioning due to their importance. Plus, airbag technology has evolved and improved over the years. Nowadays, airbags are more protective and intuitive than ever before. There are also multiple types of airbags, like front airbags and side window airbags. Both types of airbags work together to minimize bodily harm in the event of a crash. Whether you get into a minor or a major car accident, airbags can help.

Rearview camera

Rearview cameras are a basic safety feature at this point but nonetheless an important one. Rearview cameras show drivers what’s going on behind them when they put the car in reverse and are backing up. This eliminates multiple blind spots, significantly reducing the odds of getting into an accident.

Anti-theft device

An anti-theft device is another important safety device that you may wish to install in your car. It is worth noting that unlike the features listed above, vehicles do not usually come equipped with anti-theft devices. Rather, this is something that you will need to buy separately. That said, they can have all sorts of benefits. For instance, they will make your car less likely to be targeted by thieves.

If your car is stolen, you will also have an easier time tracking it down, especially if your anti-theft device has GPS capabilities. Further, installing an anti-theft device in your car may result in a Toronto car insurance discount. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who install these devices in their cars because it makes them less likely to be stolen. Contact BrokerLink for a free car insurance quote today.

The best safety feature is your safe driving skills

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe, beyond purchasing a safe car with all the bells and whistles, is to practice safe driving skills. A BrokerLink insurance advisor would be happy to provide you with a list of safe driving tips to help you stay safe on the road. Driving defensively and obeying the rules of the road is your best bet if you want to avoid a collision and keep yourself and others safe. Even better, if you demonstrate safe driving skills and keep your driving record clean, you might even qualify for a safe driver discount on your insurance policy. Contact BrokerLink for more information on the importance of adopting safe driving skills.


How car safety impacts auto insurance rates

By now, you may have realized that car safety is one factor that impacts insurance rates. A variety of factors will ultimately determine how much you pay for auto insurance coverage, ranging from your age, gender, and home address to your claims history, driving record, and the deductibles you choose. However, the type of vehicle you drive, or more specifically, the safety rating of the vehicle you drive, is another factor that will be considered. The reality is that the higher your vehicle’s safety rating, the better your rates are likely to be. This is due to the fact that safer cars are at less of a risk of being stolen, getting into an accident, or causing injury to those inside the car. Thus, the main reasons that car safety impacts auto insurance rates are as follows:

Vehicles with high safety ratings are less likely to end up in collisions

Modern safe cars usually come with collision detection sensors and various forms of driver assistance, all of which help drivers avoid getting into an accident in the first place.

Vehicles with high safety ratings are less likely to be stolen

Safe vehicles may be more likely to have safety features that prevent or mitigate the odds of theft, like engine shut-off and GPS tracking.

Vehicles with high safety ratings are less likely to injure their occupants

Vehicles with high safety ratings are less likely to cause injury to those inside if they are involved in accidents

The safer the car, the better it protects its occupants in the event of a crash. For example, many safe cars come with high-quality airbags and collision impact reduction features that help reduce the severity of injuries or prevent injuries altogether.

Given the above, it is clear why safer cars can result in lower insurance rates. No matter what types of auto insurance you’re looking to add to your policy, driving a safe car will reduce the chances of you needing to file an insurance claim. As such, you may be rewarded with a cheaper premium.

However, it is worth noting that although safety features may reduce your odds of filing an insurance claim, cars with cutting-edge safety technology may be more valuable. In addition, repairing these cars may be more costly due to the advanced technology they contain. Generally speaking, the more valuable the car, the higher the insurance premium will be due to the fact that it will cost the insurance company more to repair or replace the vehicle in the event of an accident. Thus, one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when buying insurance is to assume that your policy will be significantly lower by purchasing a safe car. This isn’t always the case.

That said, even if your car’s high safety rating or advanced safety features do not garner a much cheaper car insurance rate, it’s important to remember that these features can prevent accidents. Thus, not only will you and your loved ones be less likely to suffer an injury or die in a vehicle collision but you may also be less likely to file an insurance claim, and in the long run, this can result in much lower rates.

Car insurance for safe cars in Canada

Car insurance is mandatory in Canada, no matter what province or territory you live in, and no matter what type of car you drive. Whether you drive one of the safest cars in the world or a less advanced model, you will still need to purchase auto insurance. In Ontario, your policy must include the following four types of coverage to comply with local laws:

Keep in mind that driving without car insurance is illegal. Uninsured driving can have serious consequences in every Canadian province and territory. Ontario has some of the harshest punishments if you are caught driving without insurance. For instance, you can receive a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $50,000 for a second or subsequent offence. In addition, you will be charged a 25% surcharge on top of this. Your vehicle can also be impounded and your driver’s licence can be suspended for a period of up to a year. Meanwhile, in provinces like Alberta, you might even face jail time. Thus, purchasing car insurance is a must.

Mandatory car insurance coverages

The following is a list of the four types of mandatory coverage in Ontario. Driving with a policy that does not contain all four of these coverages is illegal. Your policy is only valid if it includes the following:

Third party liability coverage

Liability car insurance is designed to pay for the cost of an accident if you get into an at-fault collision. If you cause a collision, you can file a third party liability claim to help cover applicable costs, such as vehicle repair bills, medical expenses, and legal fees, including defence and settlement fees. Ontario drivers must have no less than $200,000 in third party liability coverage at all times.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits coverage is another type of mandatory car insurance that offers financial protection to drivers if they get into accidents that result in bodily harm. With this type of coverage, you can file a claim if someone involved in the accident requires medical or rehabilitative attention. It can cover everything from medical expenses, such as prescription medication and physical therapy, to lost income and funeral fees.

Direct compensation coverage

Direct compensation coverage is also mandatory in Ontario and it will cover you if your car is damaged in an accident that you were not at fault for. This type of coverage will help pay to have your vehicle repaired.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Finally, uninsured automobile coverage will pay for various fees, from medical expenses to vehicle repair bills, if you are injured or your car is damaged in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured. This type of coverage can also be claimed if you get into a hit and run accident and never learn the identity of the at-fault driver.

Optional car insurance coverages

Whether you drive one of the safest cars in Canada or not, purchasing optional car insurance coverage is usually a wise choice. The following is a list of extra protections that you can choose to add to your auto insurance policy.

Collision coverage

Collision car coverage will help pay to repair or replace your vehicle if you get into a serious accident that causes extensive damage to your car. With collision coverage, it doesn’t matter if you were liable for the accident or not. It can also be claimed no matter who or what the accident was with - whether it was with another driver, an animal, or an object on the road. Please note that collision coverage may be obligatory in certain circumstances, such as if you lease or finance your car.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car coverage is one of the most popular types of additional protection. It protects cars from damage while parked. For instance, if your car is stolen or damaged by weather while parked in your driveway, you can file a comprehensive coverage claim to help pay to repair or replace your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance covers specific perils, which will be outlined in your policy. These perils usually include theft, vandalism, explosions and riots, falling and flying objects, fire, and weather-related incidents.

Accident forgiveness coverage

One more type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage and eligibility varies by province.

Waiver of depreciation

A waiver of depreciation is an optional coverage worth considering, especially if you are driving a new or high-value car. With this type of coverage, if you get into an accident and your new car is totalled, your insurer will issue you a payout equal to the value of your car without accounting for depreciation.

Loss of use coverage

One last type of optional coverage that you may find worthwhile is loss of use coverage. This coverage type will reimburse you for the cost of taking other forms of transportation if you are unable to drive your car, such as if your car is being repaired in the shop. During this time, loss of use coverage will pay for you to rent a car, take taxis or Ubers, or take public transportation. While this coverage is often overlooked, many who rely on their vehicles for transportation daily find this to be essential in the event their car is not drivable.

Get in touch with BrokerLink for your car insurance

If you want to learn more about how driving a safe car can impact your insurance rates, get in touch with BrokerLink today. We can explain how auto insurance premiums are determined and the security and financial benefits that come with driving a safe car. Further, one of our licensed insurance advisors would be pleased to discuss if self driving cars are safe, as well as provide tips on how to make long distance drives safer. We also offer free car insurance quotes to our customers. These quotes are reliable, accurate, and quick. You can obtain one in just five minutes using the online quote tool on our website. Contact BrokerLink to get started today.

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