Insurers look at a variety of metrics when determining your annual auto insurance premium. In addition to your driving record, geographical location, and credit rating, insurers also consider the type of vehicle you seek to insure.
Why is this? What details about your vehicle does the insurer include in your quote?
Insurers look at a wide variety of vehicle data, including crash frequency, cost to replace or repair, and the cost of bodily injury claims. They also include theft data for the vehicle, as well as engine size and safety features.
Some of these vehicle details lower your premiums, while others result in a higher cost to insure.
The size of your vehicle most definitely plays a role in determining your premium, but it isn’t a cut-and-dried “Size A costs more, Size B costs less” type of metric.
Drivers may assume that smaller, sporty car models would be cheaper to insure. After all, they boast greater maneuverability and their smaller size inflicts less damage to other vehicles. However, research proves that the average driver of such vehicles speed more often. The drivers are also typically younger, which means they have less driving experience. The result is that these small, sporty cars cost more to insure, because they are involved in more accidents.
Reading that, you may assume that the opposite is true for large vehicles, and that SUVs are cheaper to insure. However, a large SUV typically increases your liability premium. This is because large SUVs cause more damage to other vehicles in an accident.
Closely related to vehicle size is its horsepower. Research proves that the likelihood of speeding increases with horsepower, which also increases the chances of an accident. Therefore, vehicles with more horsepower cost more to insure.
The takeaway? Mid-size cars with less horsepower are cheaper to insure. This includes sedans, minivans, and mid-size SUVs.
The age of your car plays a role in determining its insurance premium, as well.
Due to the cost of repairs compared to the cost of replacing the vehicle, older cars are more likely to be considered a total loss. Replacement costs of newer cars are much higher, meaning that the collision premium for these vehicles is typically much higher. Depending on how old your car is, you may be better served to forego collision coverage, placing the money you save on your premium into a savings account to buy a replacement car in the event of an accident.
However, it is not a given that an older car costs more to insure. One of the factors determining your premium is expected damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident. Modern technology makes today’s cars much safer. This same technology leads to lower insurance rates.
Many automobile insurance companies offer discounted rates for vehicles with proven safety features. For example, your insurer is concerned with the potential costs for medical bills. Safety features such as airbags and automatic seatbelts lower risk of injury, while traction control lowers the likelihood of an accident.
If one of your concerns when purchasing a vehicle is how much it will cost to insure, include vehicle safety ratings in your research. What should you look for? Some of the items insurance companies look at when determining a vehicle’s safety include:
- Damage susceptibility
- Injury to occupants
- Rate of theft
Is the Vehicle Worth Stealing?
Insurers look at both your location and your vehicle’s theft rate when determining insurance premiums. Some states and even zip codes have higher rates of car theft than others. In addition, some cars are stolen more often than others, either because the car itself is in high demand, or its parts are.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the top 10 stolen cars of 2014 were:
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Full-Size Ford Pickup
- Full-Size Chevrolet Pickup
- Toyota Camry
- Full-Size Dodge Pickup
- Dodge Caravan
- Nissan Altima
- Acura Integra
- Nissan Maxima
Though anti-theft devices help reduce your premiums, if your vehicle is on this list, expect to pay more.
Do Your Research
If you’re looking to lower your auto insurance premiums, do some research (this article makes a great start!) before buying your next vehicle. Consumers have a number of options to obtain discounts on their insurance. You should also consider bundling your policies with a single carrier; this often results in discounted premiums.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can save money on your insurance premiums, contact us today for a free quote.