There are a lot of things to consider when getting a car. Should you go for new or used? Should you lease or buy?
And, of course, there’s the choice of make, model, color, and all the optional items. Unfortunately, car insurance is the last thing we think about.
In reality, car insurance should have as much bearing on your choice of car as anything else, because your choice of car could determine your insurance rates.
Several factors determine the insurance rates for your car; these factors include the price, safety features, 4WD vs. 2WD, and the likelihood of theft or an accident.
The more expensive the vehicle, the more costly the insurance premiums, due to the repair and replacement costs of the vehicle. High-end imports, like Audi, BMW and Mercedes will have higher repair costs than a Hyundai, or Toyota because they use specialty parts. If you total an expensive domestic car, like a Cadillac Escalade, it will cost more to replace than a Ford Explorer.
Nowadays, most new cars come equipped with driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes, and shoulder seat belts. But if you purchase an older car, or an antique car, you might not have these safety features, and your insurance rates will go up.
Additionally, a classic car might not have other features we take for granted, like shatter-proof window glass, bumpers that crumple on impact, and padded dashboards, which can increase your premiums even more. Conversely, if you have extra safety features, like side and curtain air bags, backing cameras, and automatic braking systems, your insurance rates could go down.
This is because the number of safety features determines the likelihood that you, or someone else, will be severely injured in an accident. The more safety features, the lower the risk of severe injury, the lower the risk of expensive medical claims against the insurance.
4WD vs. 2WD
Amenities like 4WD often cause higher insurance rates. This is because 4WD is a more complex drive system and, like the expensive import cars, the parts are more expensive and the system is more costly to repair.
There are certain vehicles that are very popular among car thieves. In some cases it’s because the car is so popular that there is a high demand for parts. For example older cars with a long shelf life, and fewer anti-theft features are the most popular.
According to Forbes, in 2011, the 1994 Honda Accord was the most frequently stolen car, followed by the 1998 Honda Civic, 2006 Ford F-150. But older cars are not the only targets. That same year, the Cadillac Escalade was the most stolen newer car, followed by the Ford F-250 Crew, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew.
If your car is stolen, the insurance company has to shell out money to replace it. If the car you choose has a high risk of theft, the insurance company will factor that risk into your premium.
Some cars have higher accident statistics than others. Some of this may have to do with the way people drive the car, and some could have to do with the way the car is constructed.
For example, people tend to drive sports cars very fast, which increases the likelihood of an accident. Conversely, SUVs tend to be top-heavy, which makes them more likely to roll-over in a tight turn. At the same time, compact cars are less visible, which makes them more likely to get hit.
By calculating your potential insurance costs, you will avoid a rude surprise. Plus, why spend so much time negotiating for the best price at the dealer, only to get smacked with hefty insurance costs later? Taking a few extra steps will save you a lot of money, and heartache in the long run.