How Do a Car’s Make Model and Trim Affect Insurance Costs?

Your car’s make, model, body type, trim, engine size and year all impact on auto insurance costs. A high-end brand of an auto with sporty body, luxury trims and bigger engine will cost a lot more than a fairly common brand of a sedan of the same year. Details of the vehicle insured is one of the most significant factors in premium calculations, just like details of the drivers. That is why quote forms have questions about them and companies require Vehicle Identification Number to get all its details right so that they can offer accurate quotes.

Make is the brand of the vehicle and model is a distinctive version of the brand. For example, Toyota is the Make and Yaris is the model in Toyota Yaris. Usually, they are described by the year as manufacturers usually make changes to the model each year.

Trim describes the specifications within each model and they usually have 3 main trim levels but it can be more. Trim refers to the level of customizations in the factory that improve look, feel and cost of the vehicle. Each level of trim increases the repair and replacement costs of a vehicle and therefore impacts insurance costs as these costs increase the claim settlements. When you have Collision and Comprehensive coverage and the vehicle is damaged as a result of one of the perils listed on the policy, the insurer will have to pay for the repairs or actual cash value if the vehicle is totaled.

Here are the 3 main trim levels and their specifications.

Standard is the most basic vehicle produced in that model and the cheapest.

Sport comes with additional features and gadgets and in the middle price range

Luxury is the high-end trim level with the most extras and most expensive.

Body type describes the look and functionality of the car and affects insurance costs as well. For example, coupe is a sporty body type with 2 doors and smaller internal space and sedan is the more typical 4 door body type with bigger overall appearance and space. In this comparison, coupes are usually more expensive to insure in comparison to sedans because they are usually faster, more expensive and chosen by drivers who like speed and therefore higher-risk, which affects the statistical data negatively.

Body style affects the perception of the vehicle, costs, crash statistics and speed. For example, trucks are obviously a different kind of vehicle bought by certain people who are more recreational activity oriented than sedans, which are mainly used for commute and family activities. So, the type of drivers using a particular style of automobile adds a nuance into the equation and is considered in premium calculations as well as their crash statistics, costs and speed.

Here are commonly used car body types;

Multi-purpose Vehicle (MPV)CrossoverSports Utility Vehicle (SUV)
ConvertiblePickup Truck

Year of production is self-explanatory as it gives away the age of the vehicle. Just because of age and current value, older models are usually cheaper to insure. Also, certain year make and model cars may have known issues or are considered to be more reliable.

All these details are known to auto insurers and they rate every make, model, trim, body type and year accordingly. As a general rule, an automobile with a sporty body and larger engine would cost more to insure in comparison to more modest versions of the same make and model car because sporty cars are bought for their speed and they cause statistically more accidents and damages. In the same way, a luxury car brand usually costs a lot more than a modest make because of the noticeable differences in costs to purchase and repair them.

Here are some of the characteristics of cars with cheaper insurance costs;

  • Modest features and typical body style makes a vehicle cheap to buy and insure. They usually have plenty of parts and can be repaired easily and cheaply.
  • Smaller engines limit the speed of an automobile and make them easier to drive, control and navigate on the roads. They are ideal for youngsters and novice drivers.
  • Medium body type cars are usually cheaper to insure because they cover and grip the road well and don’t rollover in accidents. They also don’t cause large damages and injuries to other people and vehicles.
  • Safer automobiles are preferred by insurers because they reduce injuries.
  • Vehicles with anti-theft features make them less appealing to thieves.

The good news is that motorists can get quotes even before they purchase a vehicle. This would be a sensible thing to do to make sure you don’t end up with an expensive to insure car if you are on a tight budget and you would at least know if you don’t have budgetary concerns.