Why are some cars more costly to insure than others?

By Insurance.com Posted : 01/01/2011

A variety of factors influence how much you pay for auto insurance, including your age, driving record, gender, how many miles you drive, where the car is garaged, and the vehicle's make and model.

Even when all other factors are equal, the price of insurance can vary widely by type of vehicle. Generally, the more expensive a car is, the more costly it is to insure. That's because a high-end luxury sedan will cost a lot more to repair or replace than a modest family car, and insurers are well aware of the difference.

In setting the premium, insurers consult a database that shows the number and type of insurance claims filed for each vehicle make and model. Some vehicles have a heavier claim history than others. 

Small cars and car insurance

For instance, smaller cars tend to be associated with more injury and collision claims than larger vehicles because they tend to get into more accidents. That may be due to who drives them--namely young people with limited driving experience.

Small cars as a group also tend to be less safe than large, heavy cars, which are better able to absorb the energy of a crash than smaller cars.

Among the cheapest vehicles to insure are minivans, largely because of the good safety records of their typical drivers--soccer moms. Minivans also are not designed for speed or to whip in and out of traffic, so they don't encourage unsafe driving. The most expensive vehicles to insure are ultra-luxury cars and high-end sports cars.

Get car insurance quotes for various vehicle makes and models you're considering before you make a final decision when shopping for a new or used car.

For more, see "New car insurance costs."

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