More than a billion dollars is spent each year on advertising that urges consumers to compare their car insurance rates with the hopes of getting them to switch carriers, according to the credit and information management company TransUnion in Chicago, Ill.
While around 30 percent of all policyholders actually pick up a phone or a mouse to see if they can get a modestly better deal elsewhere, their rates will still largely be based on intractable personal factors like one’s gender, age, marital status, address, credit rating and driving record. The most effective way to minimize one’s premiums is to choose a model that’s inherently cheaper to insure in the first place.
For starters, costlier cars are always more expensive to insure than those having lower sticker prices. Otherwise, insurance companies look at past claims histories to determine which models incur more or less damage in a crash, are more or less damaging to other vehicles, people and property, are more or less likely to be stolen and have higher or lower bodily injury claims.
For 2014, shoppers can expect family-minded crossovers/SUVs and minivans to deliver the lowest overall premiums, with top-shelf luxury models and rip-roaring sports cars to demand the highest rates (see the accompanying lists). That’s according to the annual rankings of average car insurance rates for most makes and models sold in the U.S. compiled by insurance website Insure.com in Foster City, Calif.
“Drivers hauling kids are among the safest drivers and have few claims – that holds down insurance rates on family vehicles,” says Insure.com’s editorial director Amy Danise. “This year we’re seeing more SUVs holding those spots, pushing out minivans from spots they used to hold.”
The cheapest vehicle to insure for 2014 is the base version of the iconic Jeep Wrangler SUV, at a national annual average premium of just $1,080 for a 40-year-old single male driver with a good record and typical levels of coverage. “The Wrangler is helped by the fact that it’s not expensive to repair – if you get a dent in your door, you take the door off and get another one,” Danise says.
At the other end of the spectrum, the costliest 2014 model to insure at a national annual average of $3,169 is the $100,000 Nissan GT-R, which earned the nickname “Godzilla” for its overwhelming performance and acceleration. “The GT-R is a monster to repair,” Danise says. “The expensive carbon fiber material used in its body panels generally can’t be repaired after a crash, it has to be replaced.”
Of course these are national averages and vary according to location. Insure.com says residents of Michigan tend to pay the highest car insurance rates in the nation, while those residing in Ohio can be expected to pay the lowest overall rates. According to Insure.com’s stats, an Ohio motorist owning a Jeep Wrangler Sport will pay an annual average of just $671 for car insurance. If that person moves to Michigan, those rates would jump to an annual average of $1,860, which amounts to an annual difference of $1,189. That adds up to nearly $6,000 over a five-year ownership period.
For those keeping score, the worst-case scenario in terms of car insurance costs would be a driver in West Virginia who faces a staggering $7,040 bill for annual coverage on a $201,500 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT sports car. Now that’s a premium-sized premium.
© CTW Features
Least-Expensive 2014 Cars To Insure:
Jeep Wrangler Sport SUV $1,080
Honda Odyssey LX Minivan $1,103
Jeep Patriot Sport Crossover SUV $1,104
Honda CR-V LX Crossover SUV $1,115
Jeep Compass Sport Crossover SUV $1,140
Chrysler Town & Country Touring Minivan $1,140
Subaru Outback 2.5i Crossover SUV $1,144
Dodge Journey SE Crossover SUV $1,149
Honda Odyssey EX Minivan $1,149
Dodge Grand Caravan SE Minivan $1,158
Most-Expensive 2014 Cars To Insure:
Nissan GT-R Track Edition Sports Car $3,169
BMW M6 Sports Car $3,065
Mercedes-Benz CL550 Luxury Coupe $3,019
SLS AMG GT Sports Car $2,986
Porsche Panamera Turbo S Luxury Sedan $2,970
Audi R8 5.2 Spyder Quattro Sports Car $2,917
Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG Luxury SUV $2,887
Audi A8 L 6.3 Quattro Luxury Sedan $2,869
Jaguar XKR Supercharged Sports Car $2,854
Jaguar XK Sports Car $2,610
Average premiums are based on auto insurance rates for 2014 models from the six largest carriers in 10 ZIP codes per state. They assume a single, 40-year-old male with a clean driving record and good credit who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. Source: Insure.com.