There’s a terrible temptation when you are looking to buy your first vehicle or replace what you currently drive. So many different factors come into play. A young man’s dream car may be a babe magnet, others may have to move a family around town. No matter what your needs, the hard cold reality is the cost of insuring your choice. Never commit to buying a vehicle before you have used the online search engine on this or any comparable site to get multiple quotes for each make and model you have on your shortlist. It’s free to use these engines and the information you get back can save you a small fortune. How does an insurance company set the rates for each type of vehicle?
The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) is funded by the insurance industry and it collects information about every traffic accident in the US, breaking it down to every potentially relevant variable from the make and model, the driver, and the cost of repairing the damage both to the humans involved and the vehicles. To support this data collection function, it also has “fun” by running crash tests, looking at how best to survive through seat belts and airbags, to design issues, to the influence of road conditions. Its purpose is not only to assist the insurance industry, but also to help the consumer by improving the design of vehicles and of the roads, thereby reducing injuries, deaths and property damage. To help you make good decisions, the Institute publishes safety ratings for all major vehicles on the roads — see http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx. It also collects data on the other ways in which you might experience loss. The most common is theft, both from the vehicle and of the vehicle. Here we come to fascinating details. Did you know you are twice at risk of theft if you drive a two-door as against a four-door vehicle? Convertibles have the highest theft risks. Check out the National Insurance Crime Bureau for a top 10 list of most stolen vehicles: https://www.nicb.org/news/reports-statistics
So here comes the crunch. You get to see the top layer of summarised data at both sites. This is very useful and it will help you make good choices about what to buy. The insurers get to see all the data and base their premium rates on the probability and cost of loss. They also know about you as a driver. Put you in a car with a bad safety record or a strong probability of theft, and you may find the cheapest car insurance unaffordable. But if you buy a vehicle with a top ranking for crashworthiness and take basic precautions on theft, your premiums just became affordable. What should you look for in a new vehicle? Buy a vehicle with good locks and remember not only to lock it but take the keys away with you. Then instal an alarm or immobilizing device to cut off the fuel. Tracking devices are increasingly standard and help the police find your vehicle. Put all this together with good seat belts, airbags, antilock brakes and the other features and your dream cheapest car insurance became real.