You’re about to enter into a long-term relationship with a new car (or perhaps just new for you), but do you know everything there is to know about it? Why not take a page from the dating playbook and do a background check? The claim history of that make and model, its safety record, and the typical cost for repairs are all going to impact your relationship significantly.
Luckily, insurance companies have already done all the legwork for you. Car insurance companies dig deep to uncover as much as possible about a car before they’ll commit to insuring it. Although a variety of factors come together to determine collision and comprehensive coverage rates—including ones you have little control over, like your age, where you live, your credit, and whether you rent or own your home—there is one thing you can control—the kind of car you drive.
The background check
There’s an impressive compilation of statistics about cars, many of which are used to predict how likely it is that the insurance company will wind up paying out a claim. If you’re shopping around for a new car and would like to know more about how your insurance rates will be calculated, here are some factors that come into play:
- The type of vehicle. This plays out in a few different ways. First, how much damage is the car likely to cause if it were in an accident? Traveling at the same speed, bigger cars will cause more damage in an accident than smaller ones.
Also, how expensive would repairs be for that particular type of car? In general, the more expensive it is to buy, the more expensive it is to insure. The Mercedes-Benz, for example, is pricey to repair, as are many of its luxury and high-performance counterparts, mainly because labor and parts cost more for these types of vehicles.
Finally, the type of car you drive usually reflects on the driver and his or her driving style. In general, someone driving a Porsche is likely to be driving faster and—to put it gently—more adventurously than someone driving a minivan, which tends to have babies on board.
Oh, and one more thing: That Dodge Viper might look just a tad more attractive than a Subaru to a car thief. (Interestingly, though, the most stolen car in 2015 was the Honda Accord, with 53,995 of them filched around the country.)
- The age of the vehicle. Cars that are even slightly older usually cost less to repair or replace than a new car. If you’re serious about reducing your car insurance payments, why not try the same make or model from a previous year?
- Vehicle safety. Cars that score well in crash safety tests tend to come with lower insurance rates than those that performed poorly. Insurance companies also consider whether the car has additional safety features, such as blind spot warning, forward emergency braking, and predictive forward collision warning. Extra safety equipment would likely result in lower premiums than cars without these added features.
What it all means
With the data gathered, insurance companies go to work analyzing it all to come up with the actual number supplied to you, the customer. You can get a sneak preview into what your car might cost to insure by looking at Insure.com’s annual ranking of the most and least expensive vehicles to insure.
According to its website, Insure.com creates these lists by comparing auto insurance rates in every state for more than 2,300 models from six major insurance companies. If you’re attracted to luxurious cars or sports cars, then there’s a better mate for you than the cars on this list. If, however, you’re looking for a reliable car that’s also a smart investment, then consider one of the following:
- Honda Odyssey LX, with an average insurance premium of $1,113
- Honda CR-V LX, $1,170
- Dodge Grand Caravan AVP 2WD, $1,174
- Jeep Patriot Sport 2WD, $1,180
- Jeep Wrangler Sport 4WD, $1,181
- Jeep Compass Sport 2WD, $1,190
- Ford Escape S 2WD, $1,194
- Buick Encore Sport Tour 2WD, $1,200
- Jeep Cherokee Sport Utility 2WD, $1,203
- Nissan Frontier S King Cab Pickup, $1,204
Insure.com’s annual ranking of the most and least expensive cars to insure is usually fairly predictable, but this year, “a new kind of Top 10” emerged. Rather than the top 10 spots being filled with compact cars, this year’s list includes off-road utility vehicles and even a pickup truck. That means there’s finally a low-cost option for a variety of needs, except, perhaps, the need for speed.