When insuring a vehicle, several factors go into deciding the annual premium rate. While it is common knowledge that driving history, age, ZIP code and credit score have an impact on the cost of auto insurance, not many people consider the make and model of the vehicle when considering how much it might cost to insure a car. The kind of car being insured goes a long way in determining the amount paid in premiums. Being familiar with the vehicle make and model and how they affect insurance rates can help car owners save hundreds of dollars on liability insurance and comprehensive coverage.
What is a car make?
A car’s make is the company that manufactured the car, such as Ford, Nissan, Honda, GMC or Tesla.
An easy way to remember this terminology is that whenever asked for a car’s make, simply name the company that makes it.
What is a car model?
Think of the car’s model as the product the manufacturer sells. It’s the name of the car heard in commercials or seen in print and digital ads. In the case of a Honda Civic, the make is Honda, and the model is a Civic. With a Tesla Model S, Tesla is the make and Model S is the model.
While generally assumed to be similar if they have the same name, such as Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo or Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, each is considered a different model due to different features, and insurance companies will consider that when deciding the premium rate.
How car make and model affects insurance rates
While two drivers might have the same car make and model, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will pay the same for car insurance coverage, even if they have identical driving records. There are other factors to consider. The kind of coverage selected will also impact insurance rates. Insurers also consider these factors when determining policy rates.
Age of vehicle
Newer cars cost more than older ones. For instance, a 2010 Ford Fusion will be worth a lot less than a brand new 2020 Ford F-150. The newer the car, the more expensive the insurance. The year the car was manufactured plays just as big a part in the premium rates as the make and model itself.
Size of vehicle
Besides the make and the model of the car, the size also has an impact on the annual premium. The bigger and heavier the construction of a vehicle, the more it costs to insure because big cars can cause more damage. A smart car is less of a risk to other vehicles on the road than a Jeep Wrangler, which is why it might be more expensive to insure the latter.
Modern car owners love bells and whistles. Sunroofs, leather interiors, sound systems, Bluetooth and internet connectivity make driving more fun and convenient, but they also add to the insurance premium. Base models that come without fancy add-ons help keep the car’s cost and the insurance down.
Car insurance companies typically charge lower premiums for vehicles with advanced safety features because they reduce the risk of accidents and prevent hefty damages in case of collisions. Insurance providers look at safety features like airbags, anti-lock brakes and car alarms.
Type of coverage
While liability coverage — the minimum insurance required to drive legally — isn’t typically affected by the make and model of a car, full coverage, a combination of comprehensive, collision and liability coverage, is impacted because the value of the car itself is covered. It’s a good idea to purchase a less expensive make and model with good safety features to keep insurance premiums lower. Keep in mind that the type of car is only one of several factors that determine the cost of auto insurance.
The following table provides some minimum and full coverage rates for different vehicle makes and models.
|Car Model||Full Coverage Rate||Minimum Coverage Rate|
|Tesla Model 3||$2,313||$568|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||$1,492||$585|
Frequently asked questions
How can I tell the make and model of my car?
The logo on the hood or grill of the car is the manufacturer, or make, of the vehicle. The word or string of characters embossed on the back of the vehicle is usually the car’s model.
How do I identify the make and model from my car’s VIN?
Sometimes it is hard to locate the make and model of an older car on the vehicle’s body, and this is when the vehicle identification number (VIN) is used for identification. The VIN is printed on the driver’s side dashboard in the front of the engine block or on the metal part of the driver’s side door. For cars manufactured after 1981, the VIN will have 17 characters, including the make and model of the vehicle, the year and the plant where it was manufactured. Use this VIN decoder from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to learn more about your vehicle.
How much will my car make and model cost to insure?
Insurance providers are all about mitigating risk, so they weigh car make and model plus other factors (trim level, year and body style) together to make sure they’re charging an appropriate amount for your insurance. Before applying for a policy, shop around or speak with a licensed insurance professional.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample driver commutes five days a week and drives 12,000 miles annually. The vehicles analyzed are the 25 top-selling models in the U.S. in 2020 as reported by Kelley Blue Book.
These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.