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How Car Make and Model Impact Auto Insurance Costs

Different cars have different insurance costs. Find out how the make and model of your car affects your auto insurance rates.

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The make and model of your car determine your auto insurance rates. A standard car model won’t cost much to insure compared to an expensive luxury car, which comes with high insurance rates. For example, a high-powered luxury car like a Jaguar XJR costs $5,478 per year to insure. On the other hand, a safer and more economical Jeep Wrangler costs $1,306 per year to insure. This article examines:

What is the Make and Model of a Car?

The make of your vehicle is the brand that creates your car. The model is the specific version of your vehicle. Let’s consider a Honda Accord. Honda is the make and Accord is the model.

Your car’s make, model, trim, year, and body type all determine how much you’ll pay for insurance. An expensive car model with additional features and a large engine will cost more to insure than a standard car with a high safety rating. That’s why if you’re shopping around for a new car, you should compare auto insurance quotes from several companies to determine how different trims and body types will influence your rates.

Even if your car has the same make and model as another, you can customize it with the trim. The 2018 Honda Accord has five trim levels, including LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring. Trim level options include:

  • Standard : The base model, it has the fewest features and is the cheapest to purchase.
  • Sport : The middle trim level, usually includes some additional features and falls in the middle price range of the trim levels.
  • Luxury : The high-end trim level with the most additional features and the most expensive to purchase.

Another thing you’ll consider when purchasing a car is the body type. Examples of vehicle body types include:

  • Coupe
  • Sedan
  • Hatchback
  • MPV
  • SUV
  • Crossover
  • Convertible

How Your Car Determines Auto Insurance Rates

According to the NAIC, car insurance costs an average of $935.80 per year. But your rates could be significantly different based on your car’s specifics, including:

  • Age of the car: Ultimately, rates for an old car aren’t usually as high as a new car’s insurance rates. One reason is because you may not get your old car repaired if it’s totaled and the actual cash value is less than the repairs. In that case, you would only need liability coverage, which means cheaper insurance rates. Another reason is that new cars have higher value and are usually pricier to repair.
  • Price of the car: The cost of your car plays a large part in determining your car insurance premiums. The more expensive the car is, the more it will cost to repair or replace. If it’s a sports car or luxury vehicle, it will cost even more. That's why premiums are so much higher for expensive cars.
  • Size of the engine: If you drive a sporty vehicle that has a large engine, a V-8 or larger, your rates will be higher because of increased risk of a claim stemming from driving fast or recklessly.
  • Vehicle make and model: The make and model of the vehicle that you drive can increase or decrease your insurance rates depending on crash test scores, how frequently this type of vehicle is involved in accidents, and the extent of the damage.
  • Vehicle theft rate: When underwriting a policy, insurers look at the theft rate of the vehicle to they are insuring. A car with a high theft rate will be expensive to insure. There are cars that are more prone to theft than others. For example, a classic, collector, or exotic vehicle costs a lot to insure, because it costs a lot to replace if stolen. Older vehicles often have less robust security features, making them easier for thieves to break into and raising insurance rates.

Most Expensive Cars to Insure

Vehicle Make and Model Year Annual Insurance Cost

Jaguar XJR

2019

$5,478.70

BMW M5

2019

$5,542.92

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

2019

$3,808.28

Nissan GT-R

2019

$4,253.88

Porsche Panamera 4S AWD

2019

$4,105.28

These average rates are based on sample quote data.

Most expensive cars to insure have these elements:

  • Luxury vehicles: Not only are they a target of thieves, but they will cost a lot to replace or repair. For this reason, your rates will most likely spike if you purchase a luxury vehicle. For example, a Tesla costs more to insure than a non-luxury car.
  • Powerful engines: Sporty cars with powerful engines are more likely to be in damaging high-speed crashes than most other types of vehicles.

According to our data, the BMW M5 is the most expensive car to insure out of the vehicles we ran quotes for. The 2019 BMW M5 starting MSRP is $102,700, and the insurance price is also high. That's because this car goes from zero to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds and is made of expensive material like carbon fiber, making it risky to drive and pricey to repair.

Least Expensive Cars to Insure

Vehicle Make and Model Year Annual Insurance Cost

Honda Odyssey LX

2018

$1,555.78

Jeep Wrangler Sahara

2018

$1,306.94

Subaru Outback 2.5 I AWD

2018

$1,523.04

Ford Escape SE

2018

$1,514.62

Buick Encore

2018

$1,417.64

Honda Civic

2019

$1,511.06

These average rates are based on sample quote data.

If you want to drive the cheapest vehicle to insure, consider the following:

  • Medium-sized vehicles: A common misconception is that the smaller the car, the cheaper it will be to insure. Many insurers associate small cars as being faster on the road, and more prone to getting into accidents. Others might believe large cars are the perfect vehicle to drive. A mid-sized vehicle, like a sedan or small SUV, is cheapest to insure in most cases.
  • Plain looking vehicles: It can be cheaper to insure a plain car rather than a flashy one. Showy cars can be more of a target for thieves, which insurers consider when setting rates.

What Is the Cheapest Car to Insure?

Based on our quotes, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara is the least expensive car to insure, rolling in at $1,306.94 per year for insurance. It has an MRSP starting at $28,045, plus technology for safe driving in all terrain and weather. The relatively affordable price and safety features lead to this car having the lowest insurance rate.

Cheapest Cars to Insure for Teenage Drivers

How much is insurance for a new driver? We took our list of the cheapest cars to insure and compared quotes as a 19-year-old male living in Seattle as a full-time student. The car with the cheapest insurance for a young driver is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, which is also the cheapest car to insure for our 30-year-old. Young men tend to have the highest insurance rates, so the premiums were significantly higher for this profile. The annual insurance cost for our 19-year-old rang in at $3,932.32, which is $2,625.38 more than it costs to insure the same vehicle with 11 more years of driving experience.

Although your car’s make and model do play a major role in your insurance premiums, factors like your age, location, and driving history also determine your rates.

Cheapest Sports Cars to Insure

As shown earlier in this article, sports cars are the most expensive cars to insure. They have the fastest acceleration and are the most expensive to purchase, which make sports cars the most expensive to insure. If you’re looking for a speedy car with affordable rates, these are fast cars with the cheapest insurance:

Vehicle Make and Model

Year

Annual Insurance Cost

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 3LZ

2018

$2,725.28

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2018

$3,243.32

Audi TT Quattro

2018

$2,481.66

Nissan 37OZ

2018

$2,984.58

Cadillac CTS-V

2018

$3,361.48

These average rates are based on sample quote data.

We found that the 2018 Audi TT Quattro is the cheapest fast car to insure. The annual insurance cost for this model comes to around $2,481. That’s $1,175 more yearly than the cheapest car to insure, and $3,061 cheaper yearly than the most expensive car on our list. Auto insurance rates are higher than your average commuter car because of the speed and purchase price of the Audi, but cheaper than a faster and more expensive sports car.

Car Insurance for a New Car

Older vehicles are less valuable than new cars, so they’re generally cheaper to insure. If you’re in an accident in an old car, repairs are cheaper. But depending on how old your car is, it may cost more than its actual cash value to repair your car. If you’re in the market for a new car, it’s important to know how trim level and body style will impact your rates for the same year, make, and model car.

To show how much trim and body style impact auto insurance rates, we compared the same car model with different variations in trims.

Vehicle Make and Model Year Annual Insurance Cost
Honda Civic 2019 $1,511.06
Honda Civic EX-T 2019 $1,631.26
Honda Civic LX 2019 $1,563.02
Honda Civic Sport 2019 $1,547.40
These average rates are based on our sample quote data.

The difference between the Honda Civic and the Honda Civic EX-T is $120.20 yearly. That’s because MRSP varies by trim level, so choosing a model with more features can make your insurance rates higher. A higher MRSP means higher repair costs if you’re in an accident.

Methodology

To determine our sample quote data, we gathered quotes from a leading insurance company, for a 30-year-old male living in Seattle with a clean driving record and 50/100/50 coverage with $500 deductibles for both collision and comprehensive coverage.

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