- Car Insurance
It’s your first car; your first foray into the automotive world. You’re excited, eager, and you spend your time looking for cars that you can show off to your friends, cars made for speed, power, performance.
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But none of those things really matter when you’re buying your first car. Your main goal should be function and cost; a car that can do what you need it to do without costing the earth. And when price is your priority, car insurance is just as important as fuel economy and maintenance, potentially saving you up to 50% on your premiums.
The Cheapest Cars for Car Insurance
Before we look at the types of cars that insurers prefer, the types that offer the cheapest rates, let’s focus on the cars that are consistently generating the lowest insurance quotes.
Most of these vehicles are SUVs, as they score the highest average ratings in safety tests, but once you venture outside the top 10, you’ll find some sedans and luxury cars as well.
- Honda Odyssey: A highly rated minivan with a retail price that begins at around $31,000.
- Jeep Wrangler Sport: A sporty, convertible SUV with an average cost of around $35,000.
- Subaru Outback: A powerful SUV with a suggested retail price of less than $30,000.
- Mazda CX-3 Sport: A low-cost, powerful and sleek subcompact SUV.
- Honda HR-V: A 1.8l SUV that begins at less than $21,000.
- Honda CR-V LX: Another safe and affordable Honda SUV.
- Jeep Renegade Sport: A cute and powerful Jeep for less than $23,000.
- Ford Escape: Compact, with an engine size ranging from 1.5l to 2.5l.
- Subaru Forester: 182 horsepower and an MSRP of less than $25,000.
- Jeep Compass Sport: Yet another stylish Jeep. This one packs 180hp into a compact design.
The aforementioned vehicles aren’t the only ones that come with low car insurance quotes. The Subaru Crosstrek, Jeep Cherokee, Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, and Chevrolet Traverse are all up there, and you’ll also get good deals on a host of other reliable vehicles, such as those manufactured by Hyundai, Fiat, Kia, and Toyota.
But as soon as you venture into sports car territory, such as more expensive vehicles made by the likes of Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, and even the higher-end car models offered by Nissan (Nissan GT-R) and Ford, those car insurance premiums increase.
How Are Car Insurance Rates Calculated?
The goal of all insurance companies is to ensure that premiums are higher than projected costs. Underwriters use a series of statistics to calculate these premiums, knowing that probability is always on their side.
This is true for all types of insurance and allows these companies to operate at a profit even in the face of extreme outliers and exceptions. With term life insurance, for instance, they’ll look at your age, sex, medical conditions, and smoking status to predict if you are likely to die during the term; with homeowner’s insurance, it’s all about the risk factors in your area, as well as the size and cost of the house.
Where auto insurance is concerned, there are many factors that insurers can consider and these either revolve around you or your vehicle. They know, for instance, that a driver under the age of 18 is more than twice as likely to have an accident than a driver over the age of 18. They also know that renters and individuals with low credit scores are more likely to be involved in an accident.
Many of these factors can’t be influenced by the policyholder. They can promise to drive safely and insist they are not as reckless as their peers, but until they have established a long and clean driving record, the insurer won’t care.
However, the policyholder can influence the risks associated with the vehicle. By choosing a safer, more sensible ride, they can win favor with the car insurance company and potentially save hundreds of dollars on annual insurance premiums.
When judging the safety of a particular vehicle, car insurance companies will consider the following:
New cars are fitted with a host of features designed to make criminals’ lives harder. In the old days, cars could be stolen with a wire hanger/screwdriver and a little persistence. These days, thankfully, they’re much harder to crack and these features provide insurers and owners with a little peace of mind.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) applies rigorous safety tests to all new vehicles, giving them a safety rating of between 1 and 5 stars, with 5 being the highest.
The NHTSA runs collision checks to see how the vehicle fares when hit from the front or the side, while also looking at stability, air bags, tires, and additional safety features. The higher the rating, the lower the insurance premiums, at least in theory.
How much does your car cost to repair, are the parts widely available, does the car have any specific features or requirements that make a mechanic’s job harder? All these things will be considered during the underwriting process.
It’s one of the reasons sports cars have higher insurance premiums. Not only are they faster and involved in more high-speed accidents, but they’re also very expensive cars to fix.
Underwriters don’t simply focus on safety ratings, repairs, and built-in features. They want to know how the car fares in the real world; how those features translate into practical costs. Generally speaking, a new car with advanced anti-theft features will be stolen less often than an older car.
However, if the statistics suggest otherwise, for whatever reason, you may not be offered the low premiums you’re expecting. Maybe there is a serious security flaw in the car’s anti-theft mechanism, and this has resulted in a spate of thefts; maybe it’s just really popular with criminals.
Whatever the reason, a car’s safety mechanisms are only as good as their real-world applications.
Other Things to Consider
Your driving record and type of car aren’t the only things that can impact insurance costs, nor are they the only things you can influence:
- Driving Courses: Defensive driving courses can reduce the cost of your insurance policy as it proves you’re a capable driver and suggests you’re less likely to be involved in an accident.
- Parking Your Car: Where you park your car on an evening can have a serious impact on your insurance premiums.
How Much you Drive: It stands to reason that a policyholder who drives for one or two hours a week is less likely to be involved in an accident than someone who spends all day on the road.