How Does the Car I Drive Impact My Insurance Premium?

Quick Answer

Your vehicle can impact your auto insurance rate based on its value, size, safety features, accident rating and other factors. As a result, some cars are more expensive to insure than others.

Two hands framing car cutout on table surface.

The kind of car you drive can have a major impact on the price you pay for auto insurance. Insurers typically consider the value of the vehicle, its safety record, the size of the engine, average repair costs, theft rates and more.

As a result, some vehicles tend to be more expensive to insure than others, even if all other factors remain the same. Here's what you need to know about how your vehicle can affect your car insurance premiums.

How Do Make and Model Impact Car Insurance?

Both the vehicle's manufacturer, also called the "make," as well as the specific model of the vehicle can affect your car insurance premiums for better or for worse, depending on which car you own. Here are some of the main factors insurers will consider when calculating your rate:

  • Vehicle age: Older vehicles are generally worth less than newer vehicles. And because it costs less to replace a totaled 10-year-old car versus a two-year-old car, insurance on an older car is typically cheaper.
  • Vehicle size: Larger vehicles often come with higher price tags, which correlates with higher premiums. However, smaller cars tend to get stolen more often and are statistically more likely to get in an accident, so a larger vehicle might ultimately be cheaper to insure.
  • Engine size: If you have a car with more horsepower, you may be more likely to speed or engage in other risky driving maneuvers, which means potentially higher premiums.
  • Cost of repairs: If your car has expensive specialized features, it can be more expensive to repair and, therefore, command higher insurance premiums. Also, German makes, such as Volkswagens, BMWs and Audis, tend to be more expensive to repair than others.
  • Safety features: Newer models tend to have more safety features than older ones, which can help reduce your insurance rate. The higher the vehicle's safety rating, the better off you'll be. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both publish vehicle crash test data you can review.
  • Likelihood of theft: Some makes and models are more likely to be stolen than others. Check out the National Insurance Crime Bureau's Hot Wheels report to see whether yours is on the list of the most stolen vehicles. If it is, it could mean a higher premium.

What Types of Cars Are the Most Expensive to Insure?

Far and away, luxury and upscale sports cars are the most expensive to insure, primarily due to their high value. According to The Zebra, an insurance comparison website, the most expensive vehicles to insure in 2021 were:

  1. Maserati Quattroporte
  2. Audi R8
  3. BMW i8
  4. Mercedes-AMG GT
  5. Nissan GT-R
  6. Maserati Ghibli
  7. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  8. Porsche 911
  9. Tesla Model S
  10. BMW 7 Series

Among makes and models that don't fit in the luxury and upscale sports car categories, Compare.com, an auto insurance comparison website, lists the following as the most expensive to insure:

  1. Dodge Charger
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Tesla Model 3
  4. Dodge Challenger
  5. Nissa Altima
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Nissan Sentra
  8. Hyundai Elantra
  9. Hyundai Sonata
  10. Chevrolet Malibu

Remember, the factors insurers consider when setting rates can vary between various makes and models. If you're in the market for a new car, consider comparing the insurance rates for a few different options to understand what your costs will be.

What Types of Cars Are the Least Expensive to Insure?

Older cars and models with high safety ratings and lower price tags tend to be the least expensive to insure. According to The Zebra, the cheapest insurance rates are reserved for the following makes and models:

  1. Fiat 500X
  2. Ford Transit Connect
  3. Jeep Compass
  4. Ford Escape
  5. Subaru Outback
  6. GMC Canyon
  7. Honda CR-V
  8. Subaru Forester
  9. Mazda CX-3
  10. Subaru Crosstrek

Understand All Factors That Influence Your Insurance Rate

While the make and model of your vehicle can have an impact on your insurance premiums, it's only one of many elements insurance carriers consider. Others may include:

In most states, your credit history can also be a factor, so it's important to monitor your credit regularly and make improvements when necessary to improve your chances of a lower insurance rate.

Also, take the time to compare auto insurance rates from multiple providers to ensure you're getting the best deal.

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