Car make and model: How does it affect your car insurance rates


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UPDATED: 2019-03-18T16:13:41.291Z
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car make and model

Your car’s make and model is something you’ll hear about a lot when shopping for car insurance. A car’s make and model can greatly affect the cost of car insurance because different types of cars have varying repair costs. So in the event you need to make a claim, a more expensive car will be more costly for your insurance company to cover. Your car’s make refers to brand of your vehicle, like a Honda, and the model refers to the style of car, like a Civic.

Your car’s make and model aren’t the only thing that will affect your rates, though. Your car’s year, trim level, and body style will all affect how much it’s going to cost you to insure your car. Trim level means the amount of features your car came with when you purchased it; more features will, more than likely, mean higher insurance costs. Body style refers to the shape and size of a model of car. For example, the model of car you want might come in either two-door or four-door.

Keep in mind that all these aspects of your car are just part the underwriting factors that determine what you pay for your auto insurance. Your driving history, where you live, how much you drive, your age and many other factors are also taken into consideration when determining your car insurance rates.

Car makes

Car makes are one of the first things people usually decide on when they are car shopping. Your car’s make is something that can affect your insurance rate greatly, especially if you choose a car that's a higher end luxury brand. The difference in price between insuring a Honda and insuring a Ferrari could potentially be in the thousands right off the bat, regardless of the model, year, or any other features.

The table below shows the cheapest cars to insure, and the most expensive cars to insure:

Make and model Cheapest average yearly premium Make and model Most expensive yearly premium
Honda Odyssey LX $1,112 Mercedes-AMG S65 Convertible $3,835
Jeep Renegade Sport $1,138 Dodge Viper GTS $3,779
Jeep Wrangler Black Bear $1,148 Mercedes-AMG S63 Convertible $3,624
Honda CR-V LX $1,170 Maserati Quattroporte GTS $3,547
Jeep Compass $1,183 Mercedes-Benz S550 Convertible $3,502

The difference between the average costs for more commonly driven cars and luxury cars is thousands of dollars, and should be something to be aware of when purchasing a vehicle.

Car models

Your car’s model can also have a big effect on the price of your auto insurance. Car makers usually have a variety of different car models to choose from, and then all of those models will have different trim levels and body types for you to choose from.

Body styles

Car manufacturers will make a car in a variety of different body styles as options for car buyers. Some of these body styles can include:

  • Sedan
  • Coupe
  • Convertible
  • SUV
  • Hatchback

Differences in both model and style can drastically increase your insurance rates, even if the cars all have the same make. For example, see the table below to see how different Honda makes and model vary in price to insure on average.

Make Model Style Average yearly premium
Honda 2018 Odyssey EX 5 Door Passenger Minivan $1,227
Honda 2018 Accord LX 4 Door Sedan $1,447
Honda 2018 Accord EX-L 4 Door Sedan, Hybrid $1,670
Honda 2018 Civic Touring 2 Door Coupe $1,795

Trim Levels

Your car’s trim level refers to the amount of extra features you choose to add on to your car when you purchase it. Almost every make and model of car will come with a variety of additional options you can add on to your car, both functional and cosmetic. These features can range from a larger engine, a more expensive stereo system or alloy wheels. Trim levels can usually be identified by the letters or numbers that follow the name of your car’s model. Usually, car insurance companies will classify your car as one of three options due to your trim levels, and also your car’s body style:

  • Standard: no additional features
  • Sport: additional engine performance features
  • Luxury: upgraded interior, engine performance features, and suspension upgrades

For example, a Honda Civic LX is considered the standard level, a Honda Civic EX, EX-L, or Sport would be considered the sport level, and a Touring would be the luxury level. Here’s a breakdown of the difference in average yearly car insurance premium for the different types of the 2018 Honda Civic, which shows the varying costs that come with upgrading your trim level and having more features.

Make Model Style Average yearly premium
Honda 2018 Civic LX 4 Door Sedan $1,501
Honda 2018 Civic EX 4 Door Sedan $1,515
Honda 2018 Civic Sport 4 Door Hatchback Turbo $1,646
Honda 2018 Civic EX-L 4 Door Hatchback Turbo $1,661
Honda 2018 Civic EX-L 2 Door Coupe $1,739
Honda 2018 Civic Touring 2 Door Coupe $1,795

Along with your car’s make and model, having many additional features can make the repair costs of your car go up greatly, and thus increase your overall car insurance premium.

Other car features that can affect your rates

Along with the typical features of your car that can affect your auto insurance rates, there are also other features and factors about your car that might not be in your control.

Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP)

Your vehicle’s manufacturer's suggested retail price, or MSRP, is the price that your car maker suggests the dealership sell your car’s make and model for when purchased new. It’s also referred to as the sticker price and is used by insurance companies to know how much your car would have originally cost and about how much it might cost to fix if it needs repair. Because more expensive cars are typically more expensive to insure, the MSRP could drive the price of your car insurance up, even if you didn’t purchase your car new.

Safety ratings

Your car’s safety ratings can also affect your car insurance rates. The safer your car is, the less likely you are to get in an accident. And in the event you do get in an accident, your repair costs will likely be lower, and, hopefully, there won’t be any medical bills. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has its own independent car safety ratings, from good to poor, on a wide range of make and models of cars. The IIHS tests for how well a car’s technology is able to avoid an accident, and how well a car protects its occupants in the event of a crash. If your car is rated low in IIHS safety, your insurance rates may be higher than you anticipated.

Likelihood of theft

Some cars are more likely to be stolen than others. You might think the more expensive and rare the car is, the more likely it is to be stolen. But according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the top two most stolen cars are made by Honda. Where you live can also determine the likelihood of your car being stolen and can affect your insurance rates.

Shopping around for your car insurance, no matter your car make or model, can be difficult. But Clearsurance is here to help make the process easier. See who consumers rate as the best auto insurance companies near you.


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