Auto Insurance Rates Found to be Affected by Vehicle Type

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Online Auto Insurance comparisons make it easier to see how premiums can differ among models with varying safety and loss rankings.

Since insurers look at loss records for a vehicle before assessing a premium, a new car with a bad average loss record may have a hidden price.

Luckily, a number of organizations make safety and loss data available to consumers in the market for a new car. In order to see how much more it may cost to go with a small sports car over a larger minivan, shoppers can get car insurance rates without giving personal information online and then compare prices.

One place to check out safety rankings is — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new location for crash data by vehicle type.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also publishes an annual “Top Safety Picks” report that lists the vehicle makes and models that are best-suited to protect occupants in the event of a crash.

In addition, the IIHS analyzes loss data from hundreds of models of cars to find those with the best and worst track records for insurance losses — which can be a good indicator of how much it may cost to insure different types of vehicles. Models that top the list for above-average losses come in with significantly higher insurance premiums than those with lower-than-average loss histories, since providing coverage for them poses significantly higher financial risks to insurers.

Take, for example, the autos that had the best and worst average loss results for 2005-2007 models — a mid-sized SUV that had an average loss that was 35 percent lower than the norm and a small four-door model with average losses that were 89 percent higher than the norm. When run through an online quote comparison, the small four-door model produced premium estimates that were nearly twice that of the mid-sized SUV. With such contrasts, checking up on loss records before making a purchase could make financial sense in the long run.

According to the IIHS results, the type of car that had the worst loss records tended to be smaller cars, although the losses did vary largely for every vehicle size and type.

To compare how rates fluctuate between makes and models, shoppers can visit and use the free quote-comparison generator.


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John Pirro
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