Car insurance is probably your biggest motoring cost of the year - save perhaps a large repair bill. But how much you pay for cover is really determined the moment you purchase your vehicle. Make and model have a huge influence on the cost of your annual insurance. Here we look at some of the main reasons why the car you choose is so important to insurers.
Upgrading from a 1.6 litre to 1.9 litre might add several hundred pounds to your insurance premium. That’s because those with larger engines are statistically more likely to be involved in an incident. This is particularly the case for new drivers. If you have just started driving, you might consider buying a car with a smaller engine and driving it for a year or two before upgrading to a bigger car.
Certain makes and models are statistically more likely to be stolen, or to be broken into. These 'stealable' cars attract commensurate premium hikes. According to vehicle tracking firm Tracker, the most stolen (and recovered) models of 2018 were:
BMW 3 Series
BMW 5 Series
Range Rover Vogue
Land Rover Discovery
Range Rover Sport
Mercedes S Class
If you do own any of the cars listed above, investing in additional security features may reduce your premium. Ask prospective insurers about how such measures might cut the cost of cover.
Naturally, some makes and models are worth more than others. An insurer will have to pay out a lot more for a written-off top-of-the-range Audi than a 'totalled' ten-year-old Dacia. Additionally, expensive cars are more costly to repair. However, be aware that even if your car has little value, your insurer must cover any damage to other vehicles - so don’t expect the premium to be a great deal lower even if you do buy an entry-level runabout.
Certain makes and models have better safety features than others. Insurers will see you as less of a risk the more safety features your vehicle has.
It's well known that insurers don’t like it when you modify your car. That’s because the original manufacturer built the car with safety in mind - and any alterations may well diminish this safety. Some modifications may also make your car more attractive to thieves. If you do make any modifications, tell your insurer immediately or your cover may become invalid. Your age, driving experience, driving history, location, job and the way you drive your car (daily commute or weekends only?) will also have a direct impact on your premium.