April 24, 2011

The Most Expensive Vehicle Body Types To Insure

In addition to vehicle characteristics such as year, make, model, and engine size, body type plays a significant factor in insurance company rate structures when determining final insurance cost. The most expensive vehicle body types to insure are those that are costly to fix or replace after an accident, such as luxury sedans and sports coupes. These body types also increase premiums if they have a significant "loss history" that shows high numbers of claims, which might imply aggressive driving and attractiveness to thieves. More recently, sport utility vehicle (SUV) body types have increased auto insurance liability rates due to their ability to inflict damage in an accident.

Studies estimate the highest average cost to insure a vehicle in 2011 was for a Mercedes SL65 AMG, costing the average good driver over $3,500 a year. A two-door convertible, this vehicle epitomizes both sport and luxury, which are typically the most expensive to insure because they have the highest collision damage costs. These vehicles cost a great deal to repair or replace due to specialty parts and aluminum panels that are more expensive than sheet metal. The auto insurance company recognizes this high-priced collision risk and passes that cost on in the form of higher rates. The replacement cost of these vehicles, if totaled in an accident or stolen, also tend to be much higher than with other body types, such as sedans or minivans.

Auto insurance companies also base their rates on "loss history," which is data compiled on the frequency and cost of insurance claims for a particular vehicle type. In the case of high-powered sports cars, insurance companies may also charge higher premiums because they assume that drivers chose that body type because of its performance and intend to use the vehicle aggressively. If the particular vehicle body type gets stolen often, the loss history dictates that rate prices also go up.

Although vehicle body type are usually not calculated into liability premiums that cover damage to other vehicles, the advent of the SUV has caused auto insurance companies to charge higher liability rates because they can inflict significantly more damage in an accident than other body types. Smaller, more practical SUVs tend to have low premiums, but larger luxury SUVs, like Hummer and Mercedes, can have relatively expensive insurance costs.

Of the twenty vehicles in 2011 with the most expensive vehicle body types to insure, twelve are listed as two-door sports cars. Seven are four-door sedan luxury cars, and one is a luxury SUV. Due to their high collision costs, replacement cost, and loss history, high-end luxury and sports cars are the most expensive body types to insure.