Nobody wants eye-popping auto insurance premiums in addition to monthly car payments. So if you're considering purchasing a small sedan, not factoring in your personal driving records, the Honda Civic is the least expensive car to insure in that niche. Conversely, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4WD is the most expensive.
Those and other insurance-related facts are compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the deaths, injuries and property damage stemming from auto crashes. Supported by auto insurers, HLDI rates vehicles based on what insurance companies pay out in losses for various makes and models.
|Least & Most Expensive Car to Insure|
|Least Expensive||Most Expensive|
|Small Sports Car||Pontiac Solstice - 73||Honda S2000 - 196|
|Midsize Luxury SUV||Volvo XC90 - 62||Cadillac SRX - 129|
|Small SUV||Jeep Wrangler LWB 2-door - 63||Mitsubishi Outlander - 120|
|Midsize Luxury||BMW 3 Series Wagon - 58||BMW M3 - 301|
|Small Pickups||Dodge Dakota Quad Cab - 75||Mazda B plus 4WD - 160|
|Small Four-door||Honda Civic - 105||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4WD - 437|
|Midsize Four-door||Subaru Outback 4WD - 72||Nissan Maxima - 137|
|Large Luxury SUV||Land Rover LR3 - 53||Porsche Cayenne - 121|
|Above are a few collision averages gleaned from HLDI data. The least expensive vehicle to insure in the category is first, followed by the most expensive with corresponding collision damage scores.|
HLDI data looks at six insurance coverage areas, including property damage liability and personal injury protection. However, payouts pegged to collision damage are the key indicator used here.
"Collision damage is one of the big things that insurers pay for," HLDI spokesman Russ Rader said. "If a vehicle that you're looking at has very high losses under collision coverage, insurers are paying out a lot of money to repair that vehicle. Therefore, you're likely to pay more to insure it."
HLDI's stats cover 2004-06 vehicles and include accidents that occurred up to May 31, 2007. The vehicles being examined have only been sold once and have been assigned numerical collision-damage scores, with 100 representing the average collision loss for all vehicles in a given category.
The Lincoln Town Car's category-leading 96 means it fares 4 percent better than average when it comes to collision losses that insurance companies pay for very large luxury cars. The 459 score generated by the basement-dwelling Maserati Quattroporte is 359 percent worse than average.
It's not difficult to divine from those scores that the Lincoln will cost considerably less to insure than the Maserati.
In the large pickup truck category, the Dodge Ram 1500 Mega Cab got a 53, which is 47 percent better than the average for its large-pickup brethren. Listed at the bottom of the pack was the Nissan Titan King Cab, which received a 121.
The cheapest car to insure among midsize sports cars is the Ford Mustang GT convertible, which earned a 100. On the other hand the Dodge Viper convertible, with its 865 collision-damage score, would appear to be an insurance nightmare.
Of course insurance companies take other things into account when determining how much your auto insurance will cost, said Carolyn Gorman, of the Insurance Information Institute. "A lot of different factors, such as your driving record and where you live, will affect your auto insurance premium," Gorman said, adding that age, gender, credit history and miles driven each year also play a part.
But a major component affecting auto insurance premiums is within your control. To find out if a new vehicle you've been eyeballing has high collision-damage losses, visit HLDI's Web site at www.iihs.org. Click on 'Research & stats,' then click on 'Insurance losses by make and model.'
"Generally speaking, as you look at the data one of the things you'll see is big and boring sedans have lower insurance costs," Rader said. "So vehicles that don't go fast and don't have a lot of extra parts that are easily damaged in a crash are going to have lower insurance losses. If you're looking at a European luxury car, or a souped-up high performance car, you're likely going to pay more to insure it."