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Cheapest, most expensive vehicles to insure

(12/06/2010) - Generally, the cheaper the motor vehicle, the cheaper the cost of auto insurance, but not always.

InsWeb recently compared all car insurance rate quotes requested by its customers between January and September of this year for 2010 model-year vehicles.

More than 400 models were in the study to determine which vehicles cost the most to insure and which cost the least.

Here's the Top 10 for each list.

Least expensive cars to insure

1. Kia Sedona
2. Mazda Mazda5
3. Ford Escape
4. Hyundai Santa Fe
5. Mercury Mariner
6. Chrysler PT Cruiser
7. Ford Explorer
8. Subaru Outback
9. Kia Optima
10. Chevrolet Equinox

Most expensive cars to insure

1. Acura ZDX
2. Audi TTS
3. Audi A5
4. Cadillac Escalade
5. Chevrolet Corvette
6. BMW Z4
7. Lexus SC
8. Jaguar XF
9. Cadillac STS
10. Dodge Challenger

Visit to see the entire list of 25 least and most expensive cars to insure.

So what makes a vehicle more or less expensive toinsure?

Value. The value directly affects what the insurer will have to pay if the vehicle becomes a total loss. Most of the vehicles on the most-expensive-to-insure list cost at least $40,000.

Loss history. Loss history reflects a specific model's record of insurance claim involvement. A model with an expensive liability and comprehensive claims history runs up the insurance expense more to insure.

Also, ask your car dealer to show you the "Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information Booklet," produced annually by and available online from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Highway Loss Data Institute, likewise offers data on types of losses by vehicle model.

Your insurer has similar information.

Driver behavior. How you drive also plays a role.

A model's loss history is also affected by driver behavior because driver behavior can cause incidents that can lead to claims.

Younger drivers often choose cheaper vehicles and they tend to be involved in more insurance claims. Similarly, those low slung sports cars are generally driven by people with a need for speed and speed is a factor in many claims.

Most of the vehicles on the least-expensive-to-insure list are minivans, wagons and small SUVs -- vehicles driven by more experienced, careful drivers with families -- those least likely to engage in risky driving behavior.

"It's no coincidence that the majority of the most expensive vehicles to insure are performance vehicles," said Brad Cooper, an InsWeb veep.

"It's very possible that the types of drivers who purchase these vehicles are more aggressive by nature, which could lead to a higher likelihood of claims on these vehicles," Cooper added.

Other factors that affect the cost to insure a vehicle include:

• Repair costs. Some vehicles are simply less expensive to repair than others. Models with easily available and affordable parts are often less expensive to insure.

• Safety features. Vehicles with safety features such as vehicle stability control (VSC) and side curtain airbags tend to be involved in fewer accidents with severe injuries.

• Security features. Vehicles with security features such as vehicle location devices (LoJack, OnStar, etc.) and audible alarms are less likely to be stolen.

In addition to driving carefully, maintaining good credit and not leaving valuables in your car to encourage smash-and-grab thieves, there are other things you can do to reduce the cost of car insurance.

• Up the deductible. Raise your deductible to as much as you can afford out of pocket to reduce your premium.

• Use discounts. Discounts are available for buying all coverage (car, house, health, etc.) from one insurer, but don't neglect to shop around. A group plan, say through your employer, business or alumni association, union or other large group, can lower your rate.

• Drop coverage on older cars. If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, purchasing the coverage may not be cost effective. Save the money for car repairs instead. Look up your vehicle's value online at Kelley's Blue Book.

• See's "Auto Insurance - The Best Plan for You."


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