When it comes time to purchase a new car, the most important factor for most people is usually the price. But the MSRP on the window sticker is not the only thing to consider when thinking about price. The reality is that there are numerous factors to take into account when determining the cost of a vehicle. Yes, the retail price is the biggest factor, but maintenance cost, fuel efficiency, and insurance prices also play a big role.
Many people think insurance prices are only affected by the age of the driver and their driving record. However, the vehicle itself plays an enormous part in calculating insurance costs. Vehicles that have high safety ratings and aren’t normally driven hard or fast have the lowest insurance rates. Not surprisingly, sports cars and other vehicles that encourage a lead foot have the highest insurance premiums. Insurance providers have data showing how frequently different vehicles are crashed and how severe the crashes are. Insurance companies use this data to help determine the size and cost of insurance.
While insurance cost likely won’t be your deciding factor when picking a new car, it is certainly worth taking into consideration, and may help sway you when you’re on the fence about a vehicle. Using data from Insure.com, here are the five least expensive and the five most expensive vehicles to insure in 2016.
Five most affordable vehicles to insure
All of the vehicles on this list have a few things in common: they have excellent safety ratings, are very practical, and are affordably priced, meaning that an insurance company won’t have to pay as much if damage occurs to the vehicle.
The Honda Odyssey leads this list, with an average insurance price of $1,113 annually. There are a few reasons for this, chief among them the Odyssey’s 5-star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rating. As a minivan, the Odyssey is also primarily driven by parents with kids in tow, which almost always results in safer driving. Long story short: Honda Odysseys get in accidents infrequently, and when they do, the damage is usually minimal.
It’s no surprise that Honda occupies the top two spots on this list. Hondas are known for being practical, safe, and terrific family cars. Like the Odyssey, the CR-V is a car typically owned by responsible drivers (often parents), and it also sports 5-star NHTSA rating. SUVs[' high ride height and usually heavier weight make them safe vehicles to drive, so a 5-star rating for an SUV goes a long way.
Dodge Grand Caravan
The Dodge Grand Caravan is pretty similar to the Honda Odyssey, and it shows in the insurance rates. The affordably priced minivan is usually owned by safe and responsible families, and the 4-star NHTSA rating makes it a fairly safe vehicle. Replacement parts for Dodge vehicles are usually quite affordably priced, making them less expensive for insurers to repair, which is also a factor in the Grand Caravan making this list.
As far as affordability and safety go in an SUV, it’s hard to find a compromise as good as the Jeep Patriot, which blends a 4-star NHTSA rating with an MSRP under $18,000. For those who want an affordable SUV with great insurance rates, the Patriot is a perfect pick.
The Jeep Wrangler doesn’t have as good of an NHTSA safety rating as the other vehicles on this list, but there are other factors that contribute to its low insurance premiums. Four wheel drive and sturdy construction are some of the SUV's above-average safety benefits, and being a very popular, inexepnsive, and American-made vehicle means that it is quite affordable to repair should an accident occur.
Five most expensive vehicles to insure
The vehicles on this list are generally very expensive and therefore costly to repair. Most are designed to be driven hard and fast, so they see a higher rate of accidents than other cars.
The most expensive vehicle to insure (excluding limited-production hypercars) in 2016 is the Dodge Viper, with annual insurance premiums exceeding $4,000. The Viper is one of the highest-performing cars on the market: it has tremendous power and acceleration, but is available only with a manual transmission and lacks traction control entirely. This is a dangerous combination for many drivers. Add in the bespoke V10 engine which is pricy to repair, and you're left with a very expensive vehicle to insure.
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG
The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG is an extremely expensive luxury car, which automatically puts it in the upper price bracket when it comes to insurance. It's one of the fastest convertibles on the market, with a complex hand-built V12 engine producing over 600 horsepower. The pairing of exclusivity and performance mean that if it gets in even a minor accident, sourcing replacement parts is going to cost insurance companies a pretty penny, driving insurance premiums higher.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 is Mercedes' most opulent luxury sedan. It's covered in chrome and leather, and features a unique body not shared with other Mercedes models. This makes repairs very expensive, and the V12 engine under the hood has the potential to get drivers into trouble.
Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
It’s no surprise that there are three Mercedes-Benz vehicles on this list. With cars as well made and expensive as these, even a small scratch or dent can be very costly, so insurance companies have to charge a large price to make sure that all repairs can be effectively covered.
Porsche Panamera Turbo S Executive
The Panamera Turbo S Executive condenses Porsche's decades of racing experience into a large luxurious sedan. With an MSRP over $200,000, any damage is extremely costly. With performance figures rivaling dedicated sports cars, the Panamera Turbo S Executive is often driven by enthusiastic drivers who try to push it to its limits – but might find that just because they can afford it doesn't mean they necessarily have the skill to keep it under control.
There are numerous qualities that can affect the insurance costs of a vehicle. Insurance price isn’t usually the most important factor on anyone’s checklist when purchasing a vehicle, but as these lists show, it’s not inconsequential either. So whenever you’re purchasing a new or used car, consider the potential insurance price, and you may also want to have a pre-purchase inspection performed by a reputable technician.