Car insurance probably isn’t top of mind when you’re out shopping for a vehicle. While you’re kicking the tires, deliberating over color, weighing the options and considering the mileage, and haggling over the price, give a little thought to how much your car insurance coverage will add to the cost of your vehicle. The model you choose can add or save thousands of dollars over the lifespan of your car. If you want cheap car insurance, choose your next new or used car with care.
The first thing the insurance company will assess is the MSRP of your chosen vehicle. The lower the repair or replacement costs, the cheaper your car insurance premium.
Your vehicle’s safety record is another factor in determining car insurance premiums. Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducts a series of tests to determine the crashworthiness of that year’s vehicles. Vehicles are ranked as good, acceptable, marginal or poor depending on the results of high-speed front and side crash tests, and how well seat and head restraints protect passengers from neck injuries in a rear impact. To get a top ranking, a vehicle must be “good” in all three tests.
When determining the cost of car insurance premiums, insurance companies also consider the number of accident claims for a particular model. Cars get to the top of the Most Expensive to Insure list when they are frequently involved in accidents or when they rack up a high number of claims for expensive repairs.
Size matters, too. Contrary to popular opinion, smaller cars are not necessarily cheaper to insure. Since statistically smaller, sportier cars are driven by younger drivers, they’re involved in more accidents, and therefore drive up the cost of insurance for everyone driving those particular models. On the other hand, big vehicles (like a full-size SUV) have been shown to cause more damage to any car they hit in an accident – so don’t expect cheap car insurance if your ride is an Escalade.
Got a lot of horsepower under the hood? That’s no way to get cheap car insurance quotes. The insurance company’s rationale is that if you have the power, you’re going to use it to drive faster, which means you’re statistically more likely to be in an accident.
Is your car on the Most Frequently Stolen list? Cars that are popular targets for thieves typically carry higher insurance premiums. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, about one third of the average comprehensive auto insurance premium will go to pay for theft claims.