By Jim Gorzelany ,
Let’s face facts, if you’re financially able to purchase a high-performance sports car or top-shelf luxury vehicle you’re probably already prepared to fork over the proverbial arm and a leg to insure it.
But to indulge the schadenfreude of those less financially fortunate – or more fiscally responsible – we present the 2016 list of the costliest cars to insure, as compiled annually by Insure.com, in the accompanying slideshow.
The car that tops the charts this year is the hot-blooded Dodge Viper GT sports car, with an average annual auto insurance premium of $4,048. The Viper displaces the Nissan GT-R Nismo sport coupe that led the list for the past two years, and for 2016 drops to the number six spot.
Though its unlikely anyone would ever cross-shop the two models, those who would eschew the Viper and instead make a far safer and saner choice like the Honda Odyssey LX minivan, which the website cites as being the cheapest car to insure for 2016 at an average of just $1,113, would wind up saving $2,935 annually in premiums or a total of $14,675 over a five-year ownership
It doesn’t take an actuary to figure out why expensive and exhilarating rides like the Dodge Viper and Nissan GT-R are among the costliest cars to cover. “The Viper is a car you buy because you love to drive fast,” says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com. “That’s reflected in the rates.”
While the most expensive models generally tend to be assessed higher car insurance rates than cheaper ones because of higher repair costs, the Viper is ironically the least-costly car on the list with a sticker price of “only” $97,995. Aside from a car’s MSRP, insurance companies further base their rates on claims histories, including how much damage a given model incurs in a typical crash, the extent of injuries (and fatalities) suffered by occupants and other parties, the cost of damage to other vehicles and property and which models are more or less likely to be stolen. All together those points are the very definition of the sports cars and high-powered luxury cars that dominate the list of cars suffering the highest insurance rates.
And keep in mind that the figures quoted are averages based on a hypothetical 40-year-old male driver having a squeaky clean driving record who would typically be quoted among the lowest available rates. (see below for a rundown on the survey’s methodology). Younger drivers – particularly single male teens – and especially those having one or more traffic tickets and/or accidents on their records will pay a lot more.
Where a driver lives can also make a big difference in his or her insurance rates. Those living in crowded and crime-ridden urban areas with a higher frequency of claims will face much higher rates than motorists who reside in sleepy rural areas. Drivers can likewise encounter major differences from one state to another, given the effect of broader variables like average weather conditions, frequency of claims, and civil services, including road maintenance and emergency response times. State regulations, which can be more or less “friendly” to insurers or consumers, can also make a difference in rates. With all else being equal, Insure.com says that Honda Odyssey with an average annual premium of $1,113 would cost a mere $651 a year to insure in Maine, but a stiffer $2,387 in Michigan.
And that’s if a given driver can obtain coverage at all. Some companies may take a pass on covering certain high-performance autos altogether, and might not care to cover someone who’s assessed multiple moving violations or at-fault accidents, especially if they’re buying what’s considered to be a high-risk model. As always, it pays to check with an insurance agent to see what that dream car you’re drooling over will cost to insure before heading to a dealership, and be sure to shop around among multiple carries to insure you’re getting the best deal for the most coverage and the best service.
The Fine Print: Insure.com’s survey was conducted by Quadrant Information Services, with rates based on more than 2,300 car models quoted from six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm) in 10 ZIP codes per state. Some models, particularly exotic cars, were excluded. Estimates are based on an unmarried 40-year-old male driver with good credit, no accidents or moving violations who drives 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage.