(LOS ANGELES, March 26, 2008) - The cheapest car to buy doesn’t necessarily come with the cheapest insurance rate, according to a new analysis by the Automobile Club of Southern California comparing car prices with estimated insurance premiums from its insurance affiliate.
The analysis, conducted by the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center, lists the ten least expensive and ten most expensive new cars to insure with an MSRP of under $50,000 as well as SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans. The least expensive car to insure was the 2007 Toyota Scion xD, which lists for $14,000 and has a total premium of $1,104. The most expensive vehicle is the 2007 Chevrolet Corvette, listing at $44,170 and insuring for $2,343.
Vehicle premiums are determined by collision costs, component replacement costs and how often certain vehicles are involved in crashes. Generally speaking, sportier vehicles are driven more quickly than pickup trucks or sedans, so they are more expensive to insure. Bigger vehicles do better in crashes, so their collision costs are less. However, they tend to do more damage to the other vehicle, which results in higher liability premiums.
However, in each category, the analysis also showed that cheapest may not always be best from an insurance perspective. For example, the 2008 Kia Rio, which sells for an MSRP of $10,770, has a total premium of $1,348. The Rio was the least expensive vehicle in the Auto Club analysis but it cost more to insure than many other more expensive vehicles, including the Toyota Scion xD ($14,000 MSRP/$1,263 premium), Chrysler PT Cruiser ($14,940/$1,265), or Dodge Magnum V6 ($23,420/$1,346). Analysts said that the Rio did poorly in federal and insurance industry crash tests.
Not unexpectedly, power and excitement come with a price. The 2007 Ford Mustang GT convertible sells for 30 percent less than the sporty Acura RL Technology, but costs 16 percent more, or an additional $323, to insure. Also, add-ons such as sound systems, fancier paint, trim and wheels, add on to the price of insurance. For example, the Chevrolet Silverado C1500 insures for about $1300 while its fancier cousin, the Silverado C1500 LTZ, insures for about $1800.
“Our analysis shows that the least expensive vehicle isn’t always the least expensive to insure, and that two similar models can have vastly different insurance premiums when optional features are added,” said Steve Mazor, manager of the Automotive Research Center. “New car buyers should remember to research how much the car of their dreams will cost to insure before they buy it.”
Chevy Corvette ($2,343)
Least expensive premium for truck: GMC Canyon SLE ($1,235)
Most expensive premium for truck: Cadillac Escalade EXT 4X4 ($1,770)
Least expensive premium for SUV: (Tie) Jeep Compass Sport and Jeep Patriot Sport ($1,234)
Most expensive premium for SUV: Range Rover
Least expensive premium for minivan: Dodge Caravan ($1,220)
Most expensive premium for minivan: Honda Odyssey Touring ($1,602)
The complete list of top vehicles in each category includes MSRP and premiums for each vehicle.
Each vehicle was given the same driver characteristics:
- Single male with 24 years of driving experience (approx. 40 years old)
- Clean driving record – Good Driver Discount
- Drives 15,000 miles annually
- Live in Huntington Beach
Premiums include the following coverage:
- Bodily injury -- $100,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence
- Property damage -- $50,000
- Medical -- $2,000
- Collision -- $500 deductible
- Comprehensive -- $500 deductible
- Uninsured Motorist -- $30,000 property damage/$60,000 medical
- Uninsured Damage Waiver
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club’s members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club’s Web site at www.AAA.com.