If you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, you’ve probably got quite a few different factors running through your mind. Mileage, safety rating, maintenance history, number of prior owners, accident reports, the down payment and overall price: all factors that are well worth looking into, and that’s far from an exhaustive list. Yet another variable to consider? The brand of the vehicle and the associated insurance costs.
Why are certain cars more expensive to insure?
First, let’s briefly examine how car insurance rates are determined in general. A wide variety of factors go into deciding your insurance rate, but the bottom line is as follows: pricing is set by your insurance company based on the relative risk they have determined you and your specific vehicle present.
So how is the nebulous concept of risk determined? In the case of you and your vehicle, insurance companies look at hundreds of factors to come to a conclusion and determine how much you’ll need to pay. These factors include:
Your driving record
It’s common sense that you should try to drive safely, but maintaining a clean driving record is also very important when it comes to purchasing car insurance. In fact, your driving record/accident history is often the most important factor that insurance companies consider. A driver who has been involved in or caused several accidents will pay substantially more for insurance than a driver who hasn’t.
A lesser-known risk factor, but one that makes perfect sense if you think about it. The further you live from your place of work, the more time you’ll spend in the car every day. Add in rush hour traffic, the fact that you may be stressed due to running late, or being less than alert after a poor night’s sleep and it’s easy to see why insurance companies factor this in.
Plenty of studies over the years have shown that younger drivers (under 25) and older drivers (over 65) are more likely to be in an accident than the rest of the population. Thus, folks in these age groups usually end up paying more for insurance.
Your credit score
The better your credit score, the less you’ll likely have to pay. Many insurance companies use credit scores to try to determine how likely you are to pay your bill. This is an imperfect measure, but if you have a lower credit score, you’ll likely be charged a bit more for insurance.
Your payment history
This one seems like a no-brainer. If you have a history of late or missed payments, your insurance company may charge more to cover the non-payment risk.
Your marital status
Some companies use your marital status as a factor to determine your rates, the thought being that you are more likely to drive safely with loved ones in the car.
Finally, a common factor, and the one that is the focus of this article, your car. Most insurance companies operate under the theory that the type of car you drive says a lot about you and your driving habits. For example, your rates are likely to be more favorable if you drive a minivan rather than a sports car. More on this in the next section.
Your car’s make, model, and specific features all affect insurance premiums
The overall type of vehicle you drive (minivan vs. sports car) is far from the only vehicle-specific factor that insurance companies consider. In fact, everything from your car’s size to its color can be put under the microscope. When determining your premium, insurance companies may look at your vehicle’s:
A higher safety rating can potentially mean a lower car insurance premium. Most insurance companies only look at required, basic safety features such as seatbelts and airbags, but some companies do look at more advanced safety features, such as collision warning systems, back-up cameras, hands-free calling systems, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) to determine rates or even offer discounts. However, it’s worth noting that these safety features can make your car more costly to repair.
In general, between a larger car and a smaller car with the same safety rating, the larger car is safer in a collision, and thus will come with a lower insurance premium. However, having a larger engine could mean higher rates, as they cost more to replace or repair.
Color, despite popular myth, does not directly affect your insurance rates. If you purchase a car of a more popular color, you may end up paying more due to supply and demand. A more expensive car means more expensive insurance.
The older your car, the more difficult it is to find replacement parts, and the more expensive it is to insure.
The “luxury factor”
This one is a bit funny to think about, but the more expensive or high-end your vehicle is, the harder it is to repair and the more expensive it is to insure.
Why are some vehicles more expensive to repair?
With any vehicle, regular maintenance can cut down on future repair costs. But, as mentioned above, certain types of cars are just more expensive to repair overall. Less expensive, more common vehicles are going to be easier to find parts for and won’t require as much specialized knowledge, so they’ll be cheaper to repair. Age affects repair costs in the same way: if a car is very old, say well beyond ten years, it will be harder to find the parts and expertise needed to complete repairs. Higher end, more complex vehicles cost more to repair. These factors can affect your insurance rates — if your car is more expensive/more difficult to repair, insurers may be concerned that you won’t be able to get the repairs done and will end up driving around in an unsafe vehicle.
Which cars are most expensive to insure?
If you’re looking to save on insurance costs on your new vehicle, avoid the following cars. The top ten most expensive to insure cars, as of 2021, are:
- 2021 BMW M5 Competition, at $3,777 per year
- 2021 Maserati Levante GTS, at $3,803 per year
- 2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO, at $3,892 per year
- 2021 Audi R8 Spyder, at $3,868 per year
- 2021 BMW M8, at $3,907 per year
- 2021 BMW M760i, at $3,914 per year
- 2021 Tesla Model X Performance Plaid, at $4,025 per year
- 2021 Tesla Model S Performance Plaid, at $4,143 per year
- 2021 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 GranSport, at $4,208 per year
- 2021 Maserati Quattroporte S GranSport, at $4,823 per year
If you happen to be one of those high-rolling individuals for whom price is no object and style is a priority, feel free to pick your favorite from the list. For everyone else — steer clear! The insurance premiums alone might be beyond a reasonable budget.
Types of vehicles to avoid for lower rates
As you may have inferred from the list above, you should probably avoid sports cars, high-end luxury cars, electric vehicles, and other cars likely to be targeted by thieves if you want to keep your insurance rates on the lower end.
However, if you have your heart absolutely set on one of these more expensive-to-insure vehicles, you can lower your insurance rates a bit by choosing a plan with a higher deductible, making sure your credit score is on the higher end, taking advantage of any available discounts, and shopping around for quotes before making a decision.
Which cars are the least expensive to insure?
As explained above, newer, safer, more run-of-the-mill vehicles are going to be less expensive to insure overall. If price and safety are your main concerns, consider the following seven safest cars on the market as of 2021:
- 2021 Honda Accord
- 2021 Subaru Legacy
- 2021 Audi E-tron
- 2021 Kia Telluride
- 2021 Hyundai Kona
- 2021 Honda Odyssey
Why does all this matter?
Being able to determine what types of cars will cost the most in insurance premiums is important when shopping for a new car. Just because you can afford the monthly payments for the vehicle of your choice doesn’t mean you can afford the insurance costs on top. Make sure to factor this expense into your shopping process and get a variety of insurance quotes while you’re shopping, not after.
Regardless of which car you drive, Elephant can save you money on insurance. Learn more or get a quote today.
Article last updated on June 25th, 2023 at 6:48 pm