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Insurance Rates And Car Choice: Why Some Cars Cost A Lot More To Insure Than Others

by Rick Mcguinness

If you've ever discussed your auto insurance with friends or family, you've probably heard some of the myths that people believe about their rates. For example, it's not uncommon for people to think that the color of their car would have an impact on their quote. Unfortunately, since this type of misinformation is common, it's difficult to know exactly what factors actually do have an impact on your premium.

The reality is that your insurance rate is directly related to the cost of insuring your car or truck--but you probably don't know how that's calculated. While this formula is different among companies, knowing about the common factors can help you choose a car that costs less to insure.

Cost Of Repairs

One of the most obvious factors that go into your insurance quotes is the estimated cost of repairs if your vehicle is involved in a collision. While most cars are generally built in the same way, there is significant variance in the cost to maintain and repair a car--even among cars of the same class. As a result, many consumers inadvertently make costly purchases that are compounded by high insurance rates.

One general rule of thumb is to look at the overall purchase price of the car. If your automobile costs a considerable amount of money, it's going to tend to cost more to insure. However, if a great deal of those costs are the result of expensive option packages and not related to the repair of the car, it might have less of an impact than you think. 

Another factor is to look at the availability of parts. If your car requires parts that are easily manufactured and sold near your home, the cost of a collision to your insurance company is reduced. On the other hand, if every part must be imported or installed by specialized mechanics, expect your rates to rise accordingly.

Class of Automobile

The class of car you choose also has a huge impact on your insurance rates. In 2012, the most inexpensive vehicles to insure were minivans, mid-priced crossover SUVs, and pickup trucks. This is due to the combination of replacement/repair cost and the high safety ratings of vehicles in this class.

One often overlooked aspect of vehicle class, however, is the engine power of the vehicle. A high performance engine that accelerates quickly will usually cost more to insure than a smaller engine. You can use this to your advantage--often, vehicles come in different trim packages that allow for different engine choices. If insurance cost is an issue, consider choosing the trim level that includes a less powerful engine.

Likelihood of Theft

While there is little truth to the notion that a particular color choice will impact your insurance rates, there is the factor of theft to consider. In 2012, there were over 700,000 incidences of auto theft in the United States. Your insurance company will be stuck with the bill in the event of a theft, so they take special notice of trends in this department.

Not surprisingly, some cars are stolen more often than others. In 2012, the two types of cars that were stolen the most--out of any and all types of automobiles--were both made by Honda. It's almost pointless to speculate as to why these numbers exist--different circumstances will drive the types of auto theft that happen in your area. However, these trends play a significant role in the generation of your auto insurance quote. It's helpful to look at the data, find trends, and stay away from them when you choose your next vehicle.

As you might expect, the most important factor in determining your auto insurance quote is you. Your driving record and demographic data will always have a larger impact on your rates than anything else. That said, if you're a savvy shopper, you can make your next vehicle purchase more cost-effective, from an insurance standpoint, by keeping these vehicle factors in mind. For more information about how rates are calculated, check out websites like