Online car insurance quotes provider 4autoinsurancequote released its annual list of which cars are the cheapest – or the most expensive – to insure in the United States. The list has become something of a benchmark, and gives consumers who are dithering over the type of car to buy a useful insight into whether or not their choice of vehicle will be cheap to insure.
This year, however, we’re starting to see a dramatic shift in the price of auto insurance. Historically smaller, cheaper cars have always been the least expensive to insure, but this year the cheapest car to insure in the United States is… the Volvo XC90.
This might come as a surprise to some readers, who thought their used two-door hatch should be cheaper to insure than a $55,000 4-wheel drive, two-ton V8 supercharged monster. They’d be wrong.
Insurers have long been looking for ways to improve their pricing structure, and structure their risk according to drivers, not according to vehicles. Of course, a Volvo XC90 is going to cost a lot more to repair, but the average person driving it is not usually older, and more careful. For once, the stereotype about Volvo drivers is working in their favor.
“It’s no surprise to us that a Volvo-made vehicle is the cheapest (car to insure) this year. They seem to always be on our list,” owner James Shaffer says in a company release.
A Number of Factors
The truth is that there are a number of factors that go into the pricing of vehicle insurance, aside from the risk profile of the driver and the cost of the vehicle. The number one consideration is how well the vehicle performs in an accident, as this not only affects the cost of repairs, but also the likelihood of people being injured and therefore claiming for personal injury or death.
The Volvo performs excellently on all of its safety tests, coming out ahead of the rest of the minivans in terms of both passenger safety and structural integrity after a crash. This means that the likelihood of the vehicle being completely written off after a serious accident is lower, resulting in a lower ratio of full to partial claims.
In the case of a smaller, older car for example, there is a much greater likelihood that a moderate accident resulting in a full claim. These vehicles also tend to get into accidents more often, pushing the price of insurance up for all drivers.
Other factors that go into deciding the price of insurance on a vehicle include:
- Average cost of replacing or repairing a panel
- Average driver age and gender
- Actual driver age and gender
- Size and power rating of the engine (faster cars cost more to insure)
- Age of the vehicle
- Prior claims history of the driver
For those who want to find a car that is cheap to insure, but don’t want to drive around in a Volvo, here is the list of the ten cheapest cars to insure in the US. However, if you don’t like minivans and station wagons, you’re a bit out of luck:
10: Ford Taurus Station Wagon
9: Pontiac Montana Extended Model
8: Ford Thunderbird (a rather unlikely entry, but usually regarded as a seldom-driven collector’s item)
7: Mazda MPV
6: Pontiac Montana Standard Model
5: 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Armada
4: Buick LeSabre
3: GMC Safari
2: Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
1: Volvo XC90