One of the joys in life is buying a new car and taking it on the first drive out of the parking lot, basking in the glow of a new purchase and deeply inhaling the new car smell.
One of the annoyances in life is paying your first insurance premium on your new car – especially if you didn’t do your homework and realize how much your new car was going to cost.
You may not consider insurability as one of the factors in car buying, but you should. It is another regular expense similar to maintenance, which people do tend to use in their auto evaluations. Your current auto insurance company can easily give you a quote for the models you are interested in, or you can get online quotes from any number or insurance sites.
What makes some cars more expensive to insure than others? There are a few factors that are related directly to the car and are independent of the buyer and his or her location.
- Risk of Theft – Cars that are in high demand, and those whose parts are in high demand, are more tempting for thieves and therefore tend to have higher insurance rates. This can be neutralized with effective anti-theft mechanisms that come standard on a particular model.
- Replacement and Repair Cost – Obviously, newer cars and cars that are more expensive cost more to replace. However, repair costs can be deceptive.
You have to consider factors such as the availability of parts and their composition. Newer generation carbon fiber parts are considerably more expensive than molded plastic parts. Also, is the car designed with crumple zones that protect you but may result in more damage with less impact?
- Risk of Bad Driving Behavior – Come on, are you really going to spend the money for a Porsche and never drive it above 70 miles per hour? You should limit your speed, but the odds are you won’t – and therefore your insurance rates will be higher. Sports cars and vehicles that can be used off-road are more likely to have high rates just from the potential for inducing high-risk behavior.
Earlier this year, Motor Trend published an Insure.com list of the 20 most and least expensive cars to insure, based on an “average” driver – a 40-year old single male, 12-mile commute, clean driving and credit records, and a 100/300/50 policy ($100,000 liability for a single injury, $300,000 for total injuries and $50,000 property damage limit). Collector cars and exotic/unusual vehicles were excluded from the list.
Mercedes models accounted for seven of the 20 most expensive, including three of the top six. Other models in the top 20 included four Audis, three BMWs, three Porsches, and two Jaguars. Surprisingly, the only model outside those nameplates was the most expensive to insure – the Nissan GT-R Track Edition at $3169 per year. Apparently, it is deceptively easy to drive fast while repairs are difficult and expensive.
The other two models costing more than $3000 per year in insurance premiums for the reference driver were the BMW M6 at $3065/year and the Mercedes CL550 4Matic AWD model at $3019/year.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for an insurance bargain, the surprising winner is the Jeep nameplate. Jeeps make up seven of the 20 least expensive to insure, with the Jeep Wrangler Sport at $1080/year and the Patriot Sport in third place at $1104/year. Honda captured four of the least expensive spots headed up by the Honda Odyssey LX at $1103/year.
The remaining spots were split among various brands, with a surprising number of SUVs, minivans, and crossovers. The three lowest priced non-Honda or Jeep nameplates were the Chrysler Town and Country Touring Edition at $1140/year, the Subaru Outback 2.5i at $1144/year, and the Dodge Journey SE at $1149/year.
In summary, insurance costs may not make the difference between whether you buy a particular car or not, but it is a cost that is easy to find and one that you should consider as you shop. Perhaps considering your insurance rates will make you think twice about buying that mid-life crisis sports car – but we doubt it.