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Different makes and models of cars have different retail price tags and repair costs, so it makes sense they would also have different insurance rates. Truth be known, what it costs to insure two different types of cars could be a difference of thousands of dollars depending on the models you’re talking about. If you drive one of the three cars listed below you’ll be getting the cheapest car insurance rate when comparing vehicle to vehicle.
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In February, CBS news ran a report listing the 10 cheapest cars to ensure for 2012. The list was compiled from research including more than 900 vehicles and their average national insurance rates. It’s reasonable to assume their national average prices included liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance given the fact that researchers discussed things such as:
- Repair or replacement costs
- Bodily injury claims
- Total losses for insurance companies based on claims
Two models of the Toyota Sienna took the top two spots on the CBS list, but we’ll consider them the same vehicle because the differences between them are minor.
The Sienna LE’s annual insurance rate is approximately $1,111 while the four-cylinder model is about $1,114.
According to Toyota, the Sienna is the best-selling minivan in America; it has been named Most Dependable Minivan by J.D. Power and Associates and a Top Safety Pick for 2012 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Being that minivans are typically family vehicles, the Sienna offers decent benefits in terms of insurance costs, safety, and reliability. It is likely that the vehicle’s safety rating is one of the things that helps keep insurance rates on this vehicle down.
Jeep Patriot Sport
Next on the CBS list was the Jeep Patriot Sport with an average annual insurance rate of approximately $1,116. Chrysler began manufacturing the Patriot in 2006 as a crossover vehicle intended to take advantage of the nameplate’s reputation for tough off-road vehicles. It’s considered a compact crossover SUV intended for highway use rather than offering. Nonetheless, it’s surprising that the insurance is so low for this vehicle when you stop to compare it against others in the same class.
The IIHS gives the Patriot Sport good ratings for both front and side impact as well as roof strength. Those safety ratings might go a long way given the historically high insurance rates normally assessed on the Jeeps and other such vehicles.
The fact that the Patriot is marketed as a street machine also probably has a lot to do with higher rates.
Jeep Compass Sport
Just a few dollars behind, our third least expensive vehicle to ensure is the Jeep Compass Sport. CBS reports the average national insurance rate for the Compass is approximately $1,118.
This vehicle is very similar to the Patriot in the sense that both are produced as compact crossover SUVs. Where they differ is mainly in the exterior design. Where the Patriot looks more like a traditional off-road Jeep, the Compass more elegantly refined, intended to look like a classy urban vehicle built for big cities.
Interestingly enough, Jeep says the inspiration for the Compass was the vehicle’s older brother, the Jeep Cherokee. As Cherokee owners already know, their vehicles are a bit larger and more expensive to own and maintain than the Compass; insurance costs included.
Other Inexpensive Cars to Ensure
The remaining cars on the CBS list for least expensive cars to insure include the:
- GMC Sierra K1500 Regular Cab ($1,121)
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab ($1,125)
- Dodge Grand Caravan SXT ($1,129)
- Ford Escape XLS ($1,137)
- Toyota Sienna 6-cylinder ($1,139)
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab ($1,143)
What’s most fascinating about the list is the fact that all of these vehicles are larger and typically more expensive on the lot. In years past, they would have cost more to insure because of higher repair costs, higher replacement costs, and the ability to cause more damage in an accident due to their size and design.
For these vehicles to rank among the least expensive to insure indicates that either insurance companies are reassessing how they determine rates or these new vehicles have been extremely well-designed to reduce the risks associated with car crashes.
On the other end of the scale, CBS also released a list of the top 10 most expensive cars to insure. You most likely will not be surprised by any of the nameplates here. The list is as follows:
- Audi R8 Spyder Quattro Convertible ($3,384)
- Mercedes CL600 BI-T Coupe ($3,307)
- Mercedes S600 BI-T ($2,948)
- Audi R8 4.2 Quattro Coupe ($2,903)
- Porsche Panamera Turbo ($2,738)
- BMW 750i Hybrid ($2,701)
- Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible ($2,674)
- Porsche 911 Turbo S Convertible ($2,674)
- Mercedes CL65 AMG Coupe ($2,669)
- BMW 750Li Hybrid ($2,641)
Age and Driving Experience
Beyond the make and model of vehicle you choose, perhaps the most important factors taken into consideration when assessing your insurance rates are your age and driving experience. Statistics show that younger drivers are more likely to be involved in serious accidents resulting in severe injury or death.
As a result of young driver statitics, insurance premiums for drivers under the age of 25 tend to be some of the highest among all drivers. Unmarried males in this age group have it the worst.
In terms of driving experience, we’re talking about both the amount of time a driver spends behind the wheel and his history of accidents and violations. It’s interesting to consider the possibility that the top 10 least expensive cars to ensure are those typically not driven by teenagers and college students. They are driven by older adults, typically with children, who are less likely to have a long list of accidents and violations. That correlation provides a little insight as to why insurance rates for those vehicles are a bit lower.
On the other hand, the 10 most expensive cars to insure are likely driven by high-energy individuals with a penchant for speed. Combined with the replacement and repair costs of those expensive vehicles, the fact that they’re most likely to be driven at high rates of speed make them very much a risk on the road. That’s likely why their insurance rates are so high.
Total Cost of Ownership
Now that you know both the least and most expensive cars to insure, how does that help you? It should help a great deal when you are ready to shop for a brand-new car.
For example, you may be at your local dealer haggling over a price tag that would result in a car payment of $200 per month. However, your bank payment is only part of the equation. You’re going to have other expenses that combine to make up what is called the “total cost of ownership.”
The total cost of ownership includes how much you pay for insurance. For a policy that cost you $1,200 annually, you’ll be adding $100 to your monthly car payments. Now you’re up to $300 before you even drive the vehicle off the lot. You’ll have to throw in more money for maintenance and repairs; an amount that will gradually grow as the car gets older.
The point in telling you this is to remind you that you need to budget for total cost of ownership rather than just your monthly bank payment.
If a $1,200 insurance policy is more than you can manage when combined with your bank payment, perhaps you need to seek out a vehicle with a lower retail price. You might even consider going used until you can afford something new.
Time Can Do Wonders
There are a number of other factors that go into determining car insurance rates including:
- Your credit history and score
- Geographic location
- Number of licensed drivers living in a household
You will be pleased to know that most of these factors diminish, in terms of risk, as you age. That means the older we get, the less we usually pay for car insurance.
If you’re a young driver frustrated right now about the cost of your car insurance, rest assured that it will come down as you grow older. What you need to be concerned about is your driving habits. Nothing will send your insurance rates skyrocketing like a couple of accidents and speeding tickets. As long as you keep your record clean, getting older will work to your advantage.
Even if you do have a history of blemishes on your driving record, they too will pass with time. Most insurance companies keep track of your issues using a method known as “stacking.”
To the keep the stack from growing out of control, they remove items from the bottom of the list after a certain amount of time is passed. That ticket you got six months ago for excessive speed will be pulled from your record in a couple of years. Be patient, time will do wonders for your record and your insurance costs.
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