While your driving record has a lot to do with how much you pay for auto insurance, so, too, does your choice of vehicle. To give you an idea of which vehicles might cost you more, or less, to insure, we turned to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
IIHS is a nonprofit organization whose Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) collects all kinds of data pertaining to cars and drivers, from an insurance loss standpoint. When insurance companies set their rates, it’s this data that they use as a basis for their decisions.
Recently, HDLI put together some rankings of insurance losses by make and model of vehicles. Some of their findings make perfect sense, while others are a bit surprising.
For instance, when ranked in terms of overall Collision losses for model year 2011-2013 vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler and Ford F250 have among the lowest overall loss rates, while the Ferrari California convertible and the Bentley Continental GT 2dr have among the highest loss rates.
Collision coverage insures against damage to your vehicle if you are at fault. It is therefore not a big surprise that drivers of expensive sports cars tend to rack up more insured losses from accidents than do drivers of rugged, much-less-expensive trucks and SUVs do.
However, when we look at Property Damage Liability, (which is physical damage that you cause to other people’s vehicles and property) the Dodge 2500 Mega Cab 4Wd and the Toyota Tundra Double Cab LWB 4WD come out as the worst of the lot, while the Chevrolet Corvettes (both the convertible and regular models) have the lowest loss rate of any vehicle in America.
When we look at Comprehensive, (which covers against theft or non-crash-related damage), luxury cars like the Mercedes Benz S-Class 4WD or the BMW 7-Series 4dr 4WD LWB are among the worst, while big trucks including the Ford F250 4WD and the Chevy Silverado 2500 AWD are among the best.
So, how does a driver make sense of all this, and pick a vehicle that will be relatively cheap to insure?
The experts say that mainstream SUVs usually do the best, overall, from an insurability standpoint. By “mainstream” we mean the kind that families pick: the ones that cost in the middle of the range and aren’t geared toward high-performance driving.
High-end luxury vehicles cost more to insure because they cost a lot more to fix, and they’re more attractive to certain types of thieves (the kind who are really good at stealing cars, and can defeat sophisticated security systems, for instance).
Picking a vehicle that has a top safety rating, costs less than $40,000 and is typically driven by “Joe Average” types will usually have less of a propensity to cause sticker shock when you get insurance quotes.
At the same time, you shouldn’t always avoid vehicles that seem like they would cost a lot to insure. After all, the surprisingly good Property Damage Liability ratings achieved by the Corvette will count for something – especially if you have a stellar driving record.
The best advice you will get is this: always shop for insurance before you commit to buying or leasing a new or used vehicle. Narrow down your vehicle choices as much as possible, then check with several companies to see what each vehicle you’re considering would cost you to insure.
It’s a little bit of work to do this, but you could be saving yourself a lot of money. To see the IIHS/HDLI “League Tables” for various vehicles, go to: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/insurance-loss-information.
Stay safe out there!