There’s a lot of focus on a driver’s record as the main factor affecting car insurance rates, but there are a lot of other major factors as well, and one of them is the type of car you drive. From the body style to the year, make, and model, many things about a car can affect how much it costs to insure. Drivers often don’t think to compare car insurance rates when shopping for a car, but using a rate calculator before you buy can help you make a decision and save some money.
What Affects Rates – and What Doesn’t
There are a number of things about a car that can affect how much it costs to insure. The main factors are:
- The value
- The age of the car
- The style of car (4-door, 2-door, SUV)
- The year, make, and model
On the other hand, there are a few misconceptions out there in terms of what affects rates. Things about your car that don’t affect rates include the colour of the car and the condition it’s in. While condition might affect the value, insurance companies don’t inspect each car for things like rust and damage, instead using an average value to determine rates.
Luxury cars, particularly foreign ones, often have higher rates not only because they are very valuable, but also because of the cost to obtain parts and repair these vehicles.
Cars With the Highest Rates
The cars that carry the highest insurance costs carry those rates for a few reasons.
- They are expensive cars and will be costly to repair
- They are statistically more likely to be stolen
- They are powerful cars that are commonly involved in speed-related and similar accidents
This list of factors points to a few cars as likely to carry higher insurance rates. These cars are:
- Luxury cars
- Sports cars
- Commonly stolen cars
Not surprisingly, cars that are older, less valuable, and have more safety features are all on the list of cars that will cost less to insure. Sedans top the list of the least expensive cars to insure in Canada.
Most Stolen Cars in Canada
The IBC keeps track each year of the most commonly stolen cars across Canada. While these can vary from region to region, overall Ford trucks top the list, which various years and models holding the top three spots and an additional 4 spots held by other models.
The full list for 2014 is:
- 2007 FORD F350 SD 4WD PU
- 2006 FORD F350 SD 4WD PU
- 2007 FORD F250 SD 4WD PU
- 2003 CADILLAC ESCALADE 4DR 4WD SUV
- 2005 FORD F350 SD 4WD PU
- 1999 HONDA CIVIC 2DR COUPE
- 2004 FORD F350 SD 4WD PU
- 2006 FORD F250 SD 4WD PU
- 2000 HONDA CIVIC SiR 2DR
- 2003 FORD F350 SD 4WD PU
IBC’s list is very specific, including the year for the top stolen car; most of the cars on the list are ten or more years old, the rest are close to it. That may be to do with increased security on newer models.
While the Honda Civic often shows up on most-stolen lists, it also lands on the least expensive to insure list. As one of the most popular cars in Canada, and also a car considered to be very safe, the Civic manages to balance its most stolen status with other rate-lowering factors.
Cars With The Lowest Rates
As a general rule, older cars are less expensive to insure. Their value has gone down, so they won’t be as costly to replace or repair.
Safety and anti-theft features also make a difference in rates. Cars with the latest technology are harder to steal, and more safety features mean fewer injuries in an accident. Safety features today can even reduce the risk of an accident overall, such as backup cameras.
Generally, four-door passenger sedans have the lowest rates for a number of reasons, not the least of which are the aforementioned safety features and the fact that they are rarely driven like sports cars.
Balancing The Factors
Figuring out which car is going to both meet your needs and be cost-effective to ensure is not an easy process. Every car has factors about it that will both lower and raise rates – the car may be new and more valuable, but also have more safety features. Insurance companies use complicated systems to determine how each vehicle will be rated.
Add that to the many factors about your lifestyle and driving habits that also impact rates, and it becomes even more difficult to guess at which car will be most affordable for you.
When you’re shopping for a car, the best thing to do is narrow down your top choices, and then run a few quotes. Using a car insurance rate calculator is the easiest way to get multiple quotes from different companies for a list of different cars without taking up a lot of time. Knowing what you can expect to pay for insurance will help you make the right decision for your budget.