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Understanding Insurance Variables: The Insured Vehicle

Understanding Insurance Variables: The Insured Vehicle

For most, the cost of insuring a vehicle comes as an afterthought to its purchase. Thinking about insurance cost post-purchase is a mistake and, worse, it often ranks among the most expensive mistakes you can make when you review the total cost of owning and operating your vehicle on an annual basis. Think of it this way: if you get an incredible deal on your vehicle's lease which essentially cuts your current car payment in half but the cost of insuring the new vehicle is nearly three times what you are paying now, how much did you save? The answer: nothing - in fact, you are now paying more than you were before!

Just like the personal factors that are considered when determining your policy's end-price, so too are there common vehicular qualities which will contribute to your policy's cost. We will cover three major categories of vehicle qualities in this section: considerations for standard vehicles, considerations for specialty vehicles, and common myths that are not actually taken into account when calculating the price of a policy. You should be especially familiar with these factors if you are currently in the process of buying a vehicle or if you are actively searching for a way to lower your current rate.

Considerations for Standard Vehicles

For the purposes of this section, a "standard vehicle" means any vehicle you intend to drive regularly which is itself common in the vehicular marketplace. An easy way to tell if your vehicle is a standard vehicle is to ask yourself two questions: (1) could I drive this car to work or school every day, and (2) if I were in an accident, would it be easily replaced by my insurance company with a vehicle of the same make/model combination or similar value. If you said yes to both of these questions, then you are thinking about a standard vehicle and the articles below pertain to you.

Car Insurance Prices by Make

The manufacturer of your car sets the stage for your overall insurance premium price. Which makes cost the most to insure? What might your monthly payment look like? While the premiums paid by any two drivers will invariably be different, we put this guide together to give you a good idea of what your premium might look like on a make-model basis.

» Read more about Manufacturers (Makes) & Insurance Price

What's in a Body (Style)?

After manufacturer considerations, the body style of your vehicle is one of the most heavily weighted characteristics on your policy. Typical body styles include coupes, sedans, trucks, SUVs, and so on, but which one is the most expensive and why do insurers even care?

» Read more on Body Styles & Insurance Price

For Motorcycle Owners

In the insurance world, motorcycles are not considered to be a body style but instead in a different class of vehicle entirely. Because the rules that govern motorcycle riders are so different than those that would govern the driver of a typical car or truck, so are the costs of a motorcycle insurance policy.

» Read more on Motorcycle Insurance

Turning the Page with Age

As a vehicle ages, what happens to the cost of its insurance? Why does age even matter? Will the cost of your vehicle's policy stay about the same within a year's time, or can you expect some pretty wild fluctuations from year-to-year?

» Read more about Vehicle Age & Insurance Price

Vehicle Titles & Ownerhsip / Insurance Implications

Every vehicle owner should be familiar with the status of their vehicle's title before completing the buying, selling or insuring process. What kinds of vehicle titles are out there? What do they mean? What should you do if your vehicle has anything less than a clean slate?

» Read more about the Different Types of Vehicle Titles

Considerations for Specialty Vehicles

In this section, a "specialty vehicle" would be considered to be any vehicle which meets either of these two criteria: (1) driven infrequently for any reason, or (2) difficult to replace or repair in the event of an accident. In both cases, specialty policies or custom addendums to your current policy are likely to be issued. To learn more about what that entails, select the specialty vehicle you are interested in from the list below.

Rental Vehicles

Speaking solely about rental vehicles that are used for recreational purposes (as opposed to those that are issued to you while your vehicle is in the shop after an accident,) most renters are asked whether or not they want to purchase a one-time insurance policy from the rental company - but is this policy actually necessary?

» Read more about Rental Cars & Recommended Coverage

Classic / Antique Cars

Seeing a classic car on the street reminds us of what vehicle ownership was like back in the day - it's too bad the prices can take us back to the future. Luckily, there are a few smart ways to minimize your expense while protecting your hunk of history.

» Read more about Coverage for Antique or Classic Cars

Sports / Recreational Vehicles

You're probably not riding your jet ski to work daily, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't have daily coverage in the event of an accident on or off the water. This article covers vehicles like jet skis, recreational vehicles (RVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), golf carts, scooters, and so on.

» Read more about Insurance & Specialty / Sport Vehicles

Fact or Fiction: Myths about Certain Vehicle Characteristics

Common knowledge and actual fact are two very different things. While there are all sorts of legitimate considerations that should be made before selecting a vehicle for purchase, there are also a bevy of bogus claims floating about the insurance world that are completely unsubstantiated by evidence or real-world underwriting processes. In this section, we'll review some well-known fallacies and confirm some of the stranger fiction - and you just might be shocked when you discover which is which from the articles below.

Seeing Red: Do Red Cars Pay Higher Premiums?

Would a car of any other color command the same premium price? Do yellow cars, red cars, or any cars with non-traditional colored paint jobs cost more to insure? If so, why so? If not, where did this crazy rumor come from?

» Does the Color of Your Car Affect Your Insurance Rate?

Vehicle Classifications & Insurance Rates

Most motor vehicle departments will classify a vehicle as a certain class or code depending on how its used (thus making them eligible for certain sorts of license plates) but does this classification impact the vehicle's insurance rate? If so, why?

» Does Your Vehicle's Classification Change its Insurance Rate?

Minimum Requirements for Owned, Leased, and Financed Vehicles

If you own your car outright, do you need comprehensive or collision coverage? Will your dealership make you carry extra coverage if you lease a vehicle from them? What about your bank or credit union if you buy a car - what other options do you have?

» What are the Minimum Insurance Requirements for Owned, Leased, and Financed Vehicles?

Vehicle Ownership & Insurance Policies

Some drivers like to play it safe - and there's no harm in that - but attempting to get an insurance policy on a vehicle you don't own comes with more strings than most people realize, including possible accusations of fraud, unwanted legal liability, and just plain unnecessary coverage.

» Can I (Should I) Insure a Vehicle I Don't Own?