Insurance for Smart Cars

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New Smart cars are no longer sold in the United States, but if you purchased a used model of one of these subcompact, environmentally-friendly vehicles, you still need a car insurance policy. These vehicles are unique, but Smart car insurance is not much different from car insurance for other makes.

Owners of Smart cars still need to purchase at least their state’s minimum car insurance limits and may also want to consider optional coverages and endorsements to build a robust policy. Bankrate’s research into car insurance for Smart cars could help you choose the right options for your needs.

Insurance for smart cars

Every state except New Hampshire legally requires a certain amount of insurance coverage for you to drive legally. In addition, if you lease your car or have a car loan, your lender will likely require that you carry both comprehensive and collision coverage. If you need Smart car insurance, the following coverages may be beneficial based on your financial protection needs:

  • Bodily injury liability: This coverage pays for the medical costs of the people in the other car if you are at fault in an accident.
  • Property damage liability: This coverage pays to repair or replace the other driver’s car or personal belongings damaged in an accident you cause.
  • Collision: This coverage is for repairing or replacing your car in an accident, no matter who is at fault. If you have a loan or lease, you likely are required to carry collision coverage.
  • Comprehensive: Also called “other-than-collision, this covers damage to your car from non-accident related causes, including storm damage, theft, vandalism and hitting an animal. Just like collision, comprehensive is usually required if you have a loan or lease.
  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist: If you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to pay for your damages, these coverages could step in to pay for your medical bills and property damage.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers, as well as other qualifying expenses. PIP is required in no-fault states, but is not available in all states.
  • Medical payments coverage: Similar to PIP coverage, medical payments coverage is designed to pay for your medical expenses and those of your passengers, regardless of fault. It is not available in all states.

Insurers may also offer additional types of insurance, such as gap coverage, which will help to pay off the remainder of your car loan if your Smart car is totaled, and roadside assistance coverage, which could pay for common roadside problems, such as a flat tire or empty gas tank.

Most insurance experts recommend that you purchase more liability coverage than just your state’s minimum limits. The higher your liability limits, the more financial protection you have if you cause an accident. Working with a licensed insurance agent could help you determine the most appropriate levels of coverage for your situation, as well as what optional coverages make sense for you.

How much does smart car insurance cost?

Are Smart cars expensive to insure? That depends on a number of factors.

The average cost of full coverage car insurance in the U.S. is $1,674 per year, based on a 2019 Toyota Camry. However, there are a number of factors that affect how much you will pay for coverage, including:

  • The age of your Smart car
  • Where you live
  • The deductible you choose
  • The maximum levels and types of coverage that you choose
  • The company you have your policy with
  • Your driving history

In most states, your age, gender and credit history will also impact your premium.

Insurance discounts for smart cars

The cost for a Smart car auto insurance policy will vary based on your own individual rating factors. Regardless of your base premium, you may be able to lower your premium with discounts. These vary from company to company, but frequently include the following:

  • Anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices
  • Automatic online paying, early signing and full pay
  • Multiple policy discounts, when you bundle auto insurance with homeowners or renters
  • Smart student discounts, for young drivers who earn a B average, or attend college away from home
  • Senior discounts
  • Safe driving course discount
  • Discounts for being a veteran, or a member of certain professional groups

You may also earn a green discount by driving a Smart car, since they have great fuel economy and are environmentally friendly. Asking your agent to review all the company’s discounts might help you find additional ways to save.

Frequently asked questions

Is it expensive to insure a Smart car?

The price you pay for your Smart car insurance will vary based on rating factors unique to each person. Drivers with accidents and tickets on their records will likely pay more for coverage than drivers with clean records. Additionally, if you have a teen driver on your auto insurance policy, you can expect to pay higher premiums. Because each auto insurance company charges different rates, getting quotes from several carriers might help you find the lowest-priced policy.

Are Smart cars safe?

Vehicle safety depends on a number of factors, including your own driving habits. However, Smart cars are generally considered to be safe. The 2017 Smart Fortwo received a rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some Smart cars have optional features, including forward collision warning and rear-view cameras that could help increase safety.

Are Smart cars a good buy?

The car you choose is a personal decision. Smart cars may be appealing to drivers looking to lower their carbon footprint, as the vehicles are less reliant on fossil fuels than other makes (some models and years are fully electric). However, because new Smart cars are no longer sold in the U.S., your choices will be limited to the models that you can find used, which might leave you with fewer choices than other vehicles.

What are the maintenance costs on a Smart car?

Even the most reliable cars require maintenance sometimes, and Smart cars are no exception. The cost you pay for maintenance will largely depend on what kind of work your Smart car needs. However, because these vehicles are not common in the U.S., finding an authorized dealer and service center might be difficult. Depending on where you live, there may not be an authorized Smart car service center near you.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 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 and female 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 base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional and technical writing from Indiana University East. She began writing for Bankrate in January 2021 and has nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent. Cate has worked with over a dozen insurance companies and is experienced with auto, home, flood, umbrella and life insurance.
Edited by
Insurance Editor