Car insurance for smart cars

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You might have seen a smart car, like the Smart Fortwo, zipping around a city street near you. Although they tend to be compact, they are easy to park in congested urban zones and use very little fuel. Unfortunately, Mercedes is no longer producing the Smart Fortwo in the U.S. However, they are still sought after in the preowned market, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $17,490 for a 2017 Smart Fortwo Prime model.

If you are thinking about purchasing any smart vehicles in the near future, you may want to think about the factors that contribute to the car insurance for smart cars cost. The national average cost of car insurance for full coverage is $1,674 per year. However, many factors can affect the cost of car insurance for smart cars, including the model you own and its value, the number of miles you drive, the type of coverage you get and your age and driving history. To help illustrate the price, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team gathered average rates for the Smart Fortwo for comparative purposes.

Models included in this review:

  • Smart Fortwo EQ Prime
  • Smart Fortwo EQ Pure

How much does it cost to insure a Smart Car?

The average cost of car insurance is affected by many things — and a vehicle’s make and model is one of the most significant. The average cost of auto insurance is $1,674 per year, according to up-to-date rates from Quadrant Information Services.

Smart Fortwo vehicle-specific factors that could affect insurance rates include:

  • Crash rate stats per make/model: Smart Fortwos received the rating of “basic” to “good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Although they are fairly safe, their size may not provide much protection in a crash despite the steel shell.
  • Price of parts: The Smart Fortwo has higher than average repair costs, with an average expense of $751 per year. The cost of parts, as well as the limited number of mechanics familiar with the model may be contributors to the cost to insure Smart Fortwo vehicles.
  • Safety features: Smart Fortwos have a number of safety features. For example, the Tridion safety shell is a steel cage in the shape of a hemisphere that encompasses the car. The vehicles also come equipped with side and knee airbags, anti-lock brakes and smart seatbelts capable of detecting changes in motion.

Car insurance for a smart car: by model

Car insurance rates for smart cars can depend on many factors. The vehicle’s age, value and model can affect rates in similar ways as your location, driving record and average mileage. Bankrate collected quote data to bring you an average cost of auto insurance for small cars to use for comparison. To get a more accurate rate based on personal circumstances, you can get online quotes from a handful of car insurance companies to compare.

Car insurance for Smart Car Fortwo EQ Prime

The Prime is Smart Fortwo’s upper trim level. At the time of manufacturing, it was also available as a Sports or BRABUS Sports package. The model’s higher value may cause premiums to be slightly higher than lower trim levels.

Smart Car Fortwo EQ Prime car insurance Average annual premium
Minimum coverage $461
Full coverage $1,557

Car insurance for Smart Car Fortwo EQ Pure

The Fortwo EQ Pure is the most affordable, entry-level trim. Coverage is slightly less expensive than the Prime model.

Smart Car Fortwo EQ Pure car insurance Average annual premium
Minimum coverage $457
Full coverage $1,494

Cheapest car insurance companies for smart cars

Choosing the right insurance company could make the most significant difference in the cost of car insurance for smart cars. Bankrate collected quote data from five of the best car insurance companies with the largest market share to show you how rates may vary based on the carrier.

Average annual premium for full coverage by model

Car insurance rates for the Prime and Pure are closely priced. However, premiums can vary significantly for the same level of coverage from one car insurance company to another.

Car insurance company Smart Fortwo EQ Prime Smart Fortwo EQ Pure
Amica $1,254 $1,225
Erie $858 $895
Geico $1,185 $1,130
State Farm $1,299 $1,207
USAA $1,164 $1,136

Smart car features that impact insurance costs

Some smart car features could lower insurance costs, especially safety equipment, which may be the most important component that keeps insurance rates affordable. The Smart Fortwo’s safety features are designed in layers to protect the passenger and driver:

  • Tridion steel cage: The outer safety shell of a Smart Fortwo makes up for the vehicle’s small size, which could otherwise be vulnerable in a crash with a larger vehicle such as an SUV. The hard, crumple-resistant steel helps protect the driver and passenger in case of a collision.
  • Air bags: Smart Fortwos come equipped with dual front, side and knee airbags. They work together to reduce the risk of serious injury in case of a serious collision.
  • Smart seatbelts: The seatbelts are motion-sensing. They adapt before a crash occurs to restrain the driver and passenger shortly before a collision.

Other car insurance coverage for a Smart Car

Nearly all states require drivers to carry a minimum level of vehicle insurance. However, a state’s minimum may not be enough. It is likely that you will need liability coverage to drive legally. The problem is, liability insurance only pays for damages you cause to other vehicles, property or for injuries you cause to others who were not in your vehicle. If your car is damaged, liability insurance will not cover repair or replacement costs for your car. The following optional coverages could expand your protections:

  • Comprehensive and collision insurance: Together, the two coverage options make up full coverage, providing reimbursement for damages to your vehicle for a variety of causes such as collisions, theft, fire, flooding, hail damage and vandalism.
  • Medical payments: Adding medical payments coverage can pay for you and your passenger’s medical bills in case of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM): This add-on ensures repairs will be made using the original manufacturer’s parts.

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 Smart Car of the following model types, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually:

  • Smart Car Fortwo EQ Prime
  • Smart Car Fortwo EQ Pure

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

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.
Edited by
Insurance Editor