American culture attributes the car we drive to our persona — defining our values, our sense of style, and to some extent, our eccentricities. It’s the reason that Corvette owners wave to each other, and why everyone feels the need to catch a look to see who’s driving the Hummer. In the same manner, the car we drive also determines how much we pay for car insurance.
Easily an afterthought to the monthly car loan payment, many owners are “car-broke” because of their insurance costs, and don’t know it. Are you driving one of the most expensive cars to insure?
There are a handful of factors that determine how much a person pays for insurance, including gender, age, driving record, location of residence, annual driving mileage, credit scores (in most states), and most importantly, the car we drive.
Although common-sense holds that the more expensive a car, the more expensive the insurance, this is not always the case. Insurance rates differ greatly between makes and models. If a car performs well in crash tests, it’s not frequently stolen, and has additional safety or anti-theft devices, it will generally cost less to insure it. On the other hand, if your car is flashier, attractive to thieves, and doesn’t wow anyone in the crash tests, it will cost more to insure.
If you drive a high performance vehicle with more horsepower than General Washington’s Army, insurance companies have no other choice but to assume that you will use it and practice riskier driving. Should you get into an accident, regardless of fault, the cost of returning your vehicle to its original condition can be extraordinary– even for a seemingly innocuous fender bender.
Although SUVs, large trucks, and other large road warriors might be safer than compact cars in accidents, they tend to foster a more expensive liability coverage rate given the fact that they inflict more damage than most standard cars in accidents. On another note, there are still many SUVs that have inherent safety flaws in their design, specifically with rollover tests. Accordingly, insurance companies share these additional financial risks onto the driver in the form of higher premiums.
Cars that are particularly associated as “family cars” tend to have lower insurance premiums. These types of cars include minivans, family sedans, and station wagons. Cars that are used primarily to transport a family are generally involved in fewer accidents, due to safer driving habits associated with those who transport family members.
Insurance companies specialize in different types of financial risk and demonstrate this best in their insurance rates. Just because your insurance company affords you a wonderful rate on your homeowners insurance policy, doesn’t mean they’ll offer you the same deal to insure your Jeep Wrangler. Remember, the same policy can differ by hundreds of dollars from company to company, not to mention that rates are always changing. Regardless of which list your car is on, you can always get quotes to identify potential savings from a new insurance company, or any previously unrecognized discounts from your current company.