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Three Things You Didn’t Know About Your Car

June 16, 2011

When it comes to choosing a new car, there are many factors to consider. Certainly, price is a major determinant, as is the make and model of the vehicle, colour and a host of other criteria as well. However, one thing that many people don’t consider is the effect your vehicle choice has on your insurance.

Insurance premiums vary widely amongst various vehicles. A vehicle that seems to be within your price range may not be quite so manageable when you factor in the cost of insurance.  

With that in mind, here are three things you may not know about your car when it comes to insurance.  

1.    Most and least expensive vehicles to insure

The amount you pay for insurance on any vehicle depends on the loss experience (claims history) of that particular vehicle’s make and model. For example, some vehicles are more expensive to repair while others may be at a higher risk for theft and other vehicles may not have as many safety features which could cause personal injury as a result of a car accident, the higher an insurance company’s claims experience for a particular make and model the higher your insurance premium is likely to be, assuming all other factors are equal.

The insurance industry keeps track of these statistics and uses them to set premiums for each type of vehicle in the market. By purchasing a vehicle that is statistically less expensive for an insurance company to repair after an accident, you may save on insurance costs.

More expensive to insure: Examples of these are the Toyota Venza and Acura TSX which occupy the two of the top places on the most expensive list. 

Less expensive to insure: Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Impala are examples of some of the least expensive cars to insure.

If you have your mind set on a car of a particular make and model that may be expensive to insure there are some things you can do to keep your insurance costs down:

- Maintain a clean driving record. Your past driving record is one of the most important factors that insurance companies consider when setting your rates. Accidents for which you are at fault and traffic tickets can significantly raise your premiums, so drive as safely as you can and obey the rules of the road. It can save you money.

- Drive less. If possible, move closer to work or walk to work. Statistically speaking, the more you drive, the greater your chance of being in an accident so driving less can lower your premiums.

- Shop around.Premiums vary from one company to another. Shopping around for the best deal could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.

2.    Most and Least Frequently Stolen Vehicles

Most auto insurance policies provide coverage for vehicle theft. If your car is stolen and not recovered, your insurance company will pay you the replacement value of your car. Therefore, it makes sense that cars that are more likely to be stolen will generally come with higher insurance premiums than those that tend to be less attractive to thieves.  

More likely to be stolen: According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the most likely vehicles to be stolen in Canada are the Honda Civic, the Cadillac Escalade and The Acura RSX. 

Less likely to be stolen: The three least likely cars to be stolen are all Buick models, the Le Sabre, the Rendezvous and the Terraza.

Beyond choosing a particular make and model, there are some important things you can do to make your vehicle less of a target for thieves:

- Keep your vehicles locked and the windows rolled up at all times.

- Don’t leave your vehicle registration or proof of insurance in the glove box of the car. If thieves do get into your car, they can easily find and use this information.

- Don’t leave valuables in plain view in your car. This makes your vehicle a more attractive target.

- Whenever possible, park in a visible and well-lit area with lots of pedestrian traffic nearby. This makes it more difficult for thieves to steal your car without being seen.

- At home, park inside your garage if possible and make sure the garage itself is locked.

- Install an approved anti-theft device. Check with your insurance company to find out which anti-theft devices are covered.  This may also decrease your insurance premiums so it’s worth the investigation.

3.    
Most and least safe vehicles

Statistically safer vehicles come with a lower insurance premium than those that are considered less safe. One of the biggest expenses that insurance companies have to pay is the cost of accident benefits for people injured in car accidents. The safer your vehicle, the less likely your insurance company will have to make a large payout and hence the lower your premiums. 

Safer vehicles: Mid-sized cars tend to be the safest, with the Acura TL, Saab 903 and Subaru Legacy topping the list. 

Less Safe: The Buick Rendezvous, Ford Ranger, and Mazda B series all scored low on important safety criteria.

To improve the safety of your vehicle:

- Drive within posted speed limits. The faster you drive the less time you have to react to dangerous situations and the greater the force of the collision.

- Obey all traffic signs. Many accidents occur as a result of drivers who miss stop signs, red lights or fail to yield.

- Respect the weather. If possible, limit your driving in conditions of bad weather or poor visibility.
Consider enrolling in a driver safety course if you haven’t taken one recently.

- Check the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website for more information on “How cars measure up”

When you decide to purchase a new vehicle, it pays to keep in mind the safety, insurability and theft resistance of the car you’re about to purchase. If you have any questions, speak to a licensed insurance professional before you buy to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Last but not least you can shop your rate online, sites like InsuranceHotline.com allows you to conveniently shop your rate yourself. It’s fast, quick and best of all it’s free.