How Your Car Affects Your Insurance Rate

We love our cars. They take us to incredible destinations and help us navigate our day-to-day lives. Because we spend so much time in our cars, you'll want to find the one that really fits your personality and driving style. But what else should you be looking for in a car?

How about reasonable car insurance?

You probably know that your car insurance rates depend heavily on your age, driving record and location. That makes sense. If you're an 18-year-old driver in Washington DC with a propensity for rear-ending people on the Beltway, you're going to pay a little more.

But what about your car itself? If you guessed that a hot-rodding' sports car is going to run you more money on insurance than a family-friendly minivan, you're right. The sports car probably costs more and has a greater chance of being in an accident. The truth is, there are many other variables that can affect your rates from model to model. Let's look at a few.

ISO Rating: Are You Likely To Hurt Someone?

ISO is short for Insurance Services Office, an organization that rates all autos in the United States using two ranking numbers. These numbers identify your car's danger of bodily injury and property damage as well as cost of medical coverage.
ISO looks at the size of your car, crash test ratings, vehicle values and cost to repair when rating the vehicles. Once these factors are assessed, an ISO value is given.

Engine Size Matters

The number of horses under the hood is another factor. Generally speaking, the bigger the engine, the faster it can go and the more damage it can cause, especially with high-performance vehicles built for speed. If you buy a car built to go 200 mph, you're probably going to test its power. It's a relatively safe assumption by the insurance companies (and backed by a wealth of actuarial data) that these cars will be on the roads traveling at more dangerous speeds.

Coupe vs Sedan

Do you like the practicality of a 4-door model or the sleek looks of a 2-door coupe? Different insurance companies have differing policies on things like this, but within the same make and model car, the 2-door coupe usually has a slightly higher rating for insurance, costing you a small premium for that style.

Safety Features Reduce Cost

Does your car model come with all of the newest safety features? If so, you may get a discount. It makes sense; the safer you are in your vehicle, the less likely the auto insurance company will have to pay out a large sum due to injury. Paying a little extra for some of those perks up front could end up saving you money in the long run – and could save your life in an accident.

Technology Working For You

The more gadgets and high-tech pieces your car has, the higher the cost to replace or repair those same gadgets. The insurance company doesn't turn a blind eye to that. However, the purpose of these devices is important as well. Safety related electronics could reduce your premiums. while upgrading the sound system could have the opposite effect.

A Thief's Paradise?

You may think that the most stolen cars are the midlife crisis beauties like Corvettes, Mustangs, or Porches. Nope. The thing is, those cars also come with pretty decent anti-theft systems in them.However, the most common vehicles for theft tend to be . . . the most common vehicles.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Honda Accord reigns supreme as the most commonly stolen car. The Honda Civic and Chevy Silverado came in second and third in 2014 for all model years. Why? Older models are relatively easy for thieves to get into and due to the durability and popularity of these cars, there's always a market for those parts.

For new cars, theft is a different story. Instead of stealing the car and stripping it down for parts, the crooks need to sell it outright. Here again, though, you'll find that the top cars are relatively common. The 2013 Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Ford F-150 topped the list in 2014. If you are looking to purchase one of these models, the increased likelihood of a theft claim will push your premium a little higher.

Better Rates With Age

Okay, so you know that you really like the Ford Fusions. You like the style, you like the brand, and you like the handling. While you may want to grab the newest model you can get your hands on, it may be worth your while to check out a low-miles model that's a year or two older.

Newer cars include more advanced technology that increases the cost of the vehicle as well as the cost of repairs. Insurance companies pay close attention to factors like these when determining your coverage costs. Higher value and higher repair costs increase your premium rates. An older, lower-milage model will likely be less expensive to buy, cheaper to repair, and have a lower insurance premium.


As easy as it is to fall in love with on particular vehicle, it's worth the extra time and patience to do your research. You may be surprised at how much more it may cost you in insurance premiums. For most vehicles out there, you can find a comparable model that might give you significant savings through those car insurance premiums. 

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