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Considering Auto Insurance Rates When You Buy A Car

Considering Auto Insurance Rates When You Buy A Car Team
UpdatedDec 1, 2010
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    3 min read
Key Takeaways:
  • Insurance rates will be higher for more expensive or high performance vehicles.
  • Vehicles with high theft rates and accident rates will cause a rise in auto insurance premiums.
  • Always include the auto insurance rate on a new vehicle to determine how much you can afford.

Learn How Your Vehicle Impacts Your Auto Insurance Rates

This isn't old news, but the type of car you buy affects your auto insurance rates. The more expensive or high-performance your car is, the higher your premiums will be. Why? It's because the cost to repair a luxury or sports car is often significantly more than it is to repair an economy car. It's a matter of mathematics. Less expensive automobiles are not as costly to repair if they're involved in an accident. For some higher-end cars and trucks, just to replace a side-view mirror could cost a few hundred dollars.

How Rates are Set

Car insurance companies refer to the Insurance Services Office (ISO) when establishing coverage costs. The ISO is a reporting group for the insurance industry that publishes a statistical manual that rates vehicles based on the manufacturers suggested selling price, its loss history (if the car is not brand new), and in some cases the vehicles safety liability and theft level. The ISO establishes a number between 3 and 27 for each vehicle. The number assigned symbolizes the comprehensive and collision cost/coverage of that vehicle. The higher the number, the more costly it is to cover that vehicle.

Now let's look at a few examples. If you have a car that is considered an economy car, yet the specific make and model you have has a high theft rate (i.e. it is stolen more often than other cars on the road), the number the ISO establishes for the car might be high.

For sports cars, the ISO number is normally high because the faster the car, the more prone it is to traffic accidents; and in many cases, the cost to repair high-performance vehicles is significantly more than other vehicles. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are also weighed as high-liability vehicles. That's because studies have shown that SUVs cause more damage in an auto accident than a standard economy or sedan model. In this case, some auto insurance providers increase the liability premiums for high-performance cars and SUVs.

Before You Buy, Research

If you want to keep your insurance from skyrocketing, it's a good idea to do some research before you hit the dealerships. For starters, ask your existing car insurance company for an estimate on a few makes and models you're thinking about test driving.

The quotes you get back will give you an idea of how much it will cost to insure those makes and models. Having those quotes in hand will also help you keep your spending under control by reminding you that you also need to consider insurance rates when estimating how much you can afford on a new car.

Your age, where you live, and your driving record all play a factor in the cost of your auto insurance. Of course, the ultimate factor is the type of car you drive. The difference between insuring a 4-door economy car will be significantly less than insuring a high-priced sports car. So, if you're shopping for a new car, remember to keep your future auto insurance premiums in mind. It will help you make a more informed and affordable choice.


IISO, Oct, 2011
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