How Vehicle Make and Model Affects Your Insurance Rates

How vehicle make and model affects your insurance rates depends on the car you drive. Bigger, boxier models have higher insurance rates because they can cause more damage in an accident, while older models will have lower rates because they cost less to compare. To mitigate a vehicle's make and model effects on your insurance, start comparing multiple auto insurance quotes online to find the best coverage. You can use our free comparison tool below.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2020

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A number of factors go into the cost of car insurance – including everything from your ZIP code to your driving history. However, your vehicle’s make and model can also have a significant impact on your car insurance premiums. Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how vehicle make and model affects your car insurance rates.

vehicle make model affects car insurance rates

Comprehensive Insurance Versus Liability Insurance

First, it’s important to distinguish between comprehensive insurance and liability insurance. Liability insurance is the bare minimum insurance required to drive on the road. It’s the policy you need to legally drive. It covers any damages you inflict on other people or property during an at-fault collision.

If you have basic liability insurance, then your vehicle’s make and model will have a limited impact on the price you pay for car insurance coverage. After all, liability insurance doesn’t cover your own vehicle – it covers other vehicles and people you might damage. Whether you’re driving an old Ford Fusion or a new Toyota Tundra, your insurance company isn’t covering the value of your vehicle after a collision if you only have liability coverage.

If you have comprehensive or collision insurance, however, then your insurance rates will be affected by the vehicle’s make and model. With a comprehensive or collision insurance policy, your car insurance company is required to cover the value of your vehicle. That’s why a newer or higher-end vehicle will cost more to insure than a cheaper, older vehicle.

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Newer Vehicles Are Generally Worth More, So You May Pay More for Car Insurance

Generally speaking, your 2018 Honda Civic is going to be worth more than a 2010 Honda Civic, all other things being equal.

That’s why it’s probably going to cost more to insure a newer model year vehicle than it costs to insure an older model year vehicle. Make, model, and year have a significant impact on car insurance premiums.

Bigger, Boxier Vehicles Can Cause More Damage to Other People and Property

Typically, the make and model of your vehicle doesn’t have a significant impact on basic liability car insurance rates – at least not compared to things like your driving history.

However, there is an exception to this rule: bigger, boxier vehicles can come with higher liability insurance costs than smaller vehicles.

The reason is simple: it’s because bigger, boxier vehicles can do more damage to other vehicles on the road. You’re going to cause more damage if you smash into someone with your Ford F-350, for example, than you would if you were driving a Smart Car. Your insurance company might charge higher premiums for this reason.

It Costs More to Insure a More Valuable Vehicle

If you have collision or comprehensive insurance on your vehicle, then your vehicle manufacturer is required to cover the cost of your vehicle. Your insurance company needs to pay to repair your vehicle, for example, or cover the replacement value of your vehicle.

That’s why you’re going to pay more to insure a high-end, foreign, luxury vehicle than you would to insure a lower-end domestic vehicle. The manufacturer of your car can have a significant effect on the price you pay for collision and comprehensive coverage.

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Your Model Also Affects Car Insurance Prices

For the same reasons above, your vehicle’s model will have an impact on car insurance prices.

The SE, SEL, and GT are all different versions of the same vehicle, for example. Depending on the value of your particular model, you might pay more or less for car insurance. Typically, a sports edition or higher-end model will come with higher car insurance prices than a lower-end model.

Certain Makes and Models of Vehicles Have Better Safety Features

Insurance companies analyze hundreds of factors to provide a car insurance quote. One thing they look at is the safety features of your vehicle. Vehicles with more or better safety features will typically have lower car insurance prices than vehicles with no safety features. That’s because if the vehicle is involved in a collision, then the safety features can prevent significant damage to the driver and passengers of the vehicle, which means the insurance company doesn’t have to cover costly medical bills.

An insurance company might charge lower insurance premiums for a vehicle with airbags, for example, compared to a vehicle without airbags. Car alarms, anti-lock brakes, and other safety features can also impact car insurance prices.

Your insurance company will look at accident data to determine which vehicles are associated with more serious injuries than other vehicles.

Certain Makes and Models Have Higher Rates of Theft

Certain vehicles are easier to steal than other vehicles. Thieves are more likely to target these vehicles. If your vehicle’s make and model has a high rate of theft, then your insurance company might charge higher premiums for comprehensive coverage.

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The year, make, and model of your vehicle all have a significant impact on car insurance rates. However, you can expect your vehicle’s make and model to have a more significant impact on collision and comprehensive car insurance premiums than on basic liability premiums.

Remember: the make and model of your vehicle is just one of many factors that go into car insurance premiums. Car insurance companies also look at your driving history and other factors to calculate your car insurance rates.

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