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New Car Insurance Costs

By Posted : 09/17/2010

New Car Insurance CostsThere's more to think about than just MSRP, financing arrangements and dickering strategies when considering the costs of buying a new car.

Factor in auto insurance expenses, too.

Consider the following factors when you're deciding which model to buy, and get car insurance quotes online once you've narrowed down your choices -- you may surprised how much car insurance rates can vary among models and among car insurance companies.

Spending some time up-front getting car insurance quotes before you decide on a car model can help you avoid sticker shock on your auto insurance rates.

1. Safety features

A car's safety features are designed for two main purposes -- to help you avoid getting in a crash and to help you escape a crash with the least amount of injury. Larger, heavier cars tend to be safer than small cars due to the simple laws of physics.

"Small cars have twice as many occupant deaths each year as large cars," says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. "In crashes involving smaller and larger vehicles, heavier vehicles drive lighter ones backwards, decreasing the forces inside the heavier car and increasing them in the lighter car."

But while there's a big safety difference between small and mid-size cars, the benefits of size and weight diminish after a certain point, says Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's ratings online. Safety ratings among cars in the same class can vary widely.

Safety features that protect you include:

  • good vehicle structural design, which keeps damage away from the occupant compartment of the car
  • restraint systems, including seat belts and airbags
  • electronic stability control systems, which prevent rollovers -- now standard in all new SUVs

Newer features include lane-departure warning systems and blind-spot detection systems. Make sure your auto insurance company knows about all the safety features of your new vehicle so that you can get discounts for them.

2. Other design characteristics

Cars designed to go fast typically have higher-than-average death rates. Combining a high-performance car with a young driver is a dangerous mix, the Insurance Information Institute says, not to mention an expensive one from the standpoint of car insurance premiums.

3. Cost of repair and replacement

Luxury cars are costly to insure because you have to pay a lot to repair and replace them. And if you drive a very large vehicle, like a Hummer, auto insurers also consider the cost of repairing the other guy's car in case you cause an accident.

Although SUV safety has improved, thanks to newer, more compact designs and electronic stability control systems, they still can be more costly to insure because of the damage they inflict on other cars, Worters says.

4. Theft appeal

Your car insurance company also looks at how likely your car is to get stolen. Thieves tend to go after flashy, powerful cars, such as luxury SUVs and pickups. Check the latest data online from the Highway Loss Data Institute to see which cars have the best and worst theft-loss ratings.

In most states, you have to show dealerships proof of car insurance before you drive a new car off the lot. Your existing car insurance will generally cover your new car temporarily if you already owned a car, but policies differ from insurer to insurer. Your car insurance company may require that you notify it of the change within 30 days or less. As you compare auto insurance quotes from different companies, check with your current insurer about the rules for covering a newly purchased vehicle.

If this is your first car, you need to buy a car insurance policy before the dealer hands over the keys.

Barbara Marquand is a writer with more than twenty years of reporting experience for newspapers, magazines and Web sites. She writes frequently about insurance and other business topics.


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