What's it like to drive a Porsche with 530 horsepower and a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $194,000? Thrilling, no doubt -- not that most of us will ever know. On the bright side, most of us will never have to pay the insurance bills associated with such a car.
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Insure.com's annual ranking of average car insurance premiums reveals that the Porsche 911 Carrera GT2 two-door coupe is the most expensive vehicle to insure among 2010 models. A 40-year-old man would pay a national average of $2,943.78 for car insurance annually, and that's assuming the driver had a good driving record.
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On the other end of the scale is the Mazda Tribute I, a two-wheel-drive, four-door SUV, the least expensive 2010 vehicle to insure among all vehicles examined. Looking across other categories, the Dodge Caliber is the least expensive sedan or coupe to insure; the GMC Canyon WT (two-wheel drive, two doors, 2.9-liter engine) is the least expensive pickup to insure; and the Honda Odyssey LX (two-wheel drive, five doors) is the least expensive minivan to insure. (Check premiums for virtually any vehicle using the tool to the right.)
"The least expensive vehicles are ones you have to drive and no one wants to. The most expensive list includes cars that people don't have to drive but want to," observes Kim Hazelbaker, the senior vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, a division of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The profile of the average person who drives a particular model has great influence on the average premiums for that vehicle. Rates for collision and comprehensive coverage are based on the model's loss history. For example, small cars that are often driven by young, inexperienced drivers tend to be more expensive to insure than other cars.
In many ways, the "soccer mom" driving a minivan is among the best insurance customers, Hazelbaker says. Such a motorist is much less likely to make a claim because she generally doesn't drive during peak commuting hours, doesn't drive often late at night and is probably not an aggressive driver. (The ideal insurance customer doesn't drive her car at all.)
Insurance rates also tend to rise with horsepower. Hazelbaker says: "The number of series available with 500 hp and up has exploded. The Viper is 600 hp. These are insane numbers. The Carrera is a race car in street clothing. And they're being driven on occasion by people using this horsepower. And these are expensive vehicles, $100,000 and up, so if you have a total loss, that's a big factor (in insurance rates)."