Why are the make and model of a car important to insurance companies?

The make and model of a car will impact your insurance rates because of the risk factors associated with specific vehicles. This includes the size, type, and cost of the vehicle as well as risks involving car theft that are all related to make and model. If you want to save money on your insurance rates, it's a good idea to compare insurance rates on a particular make and model before you buy a car.

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent Cynthia Lanctot

UPDATED: Feb 16, 2022

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A Concise Overview

  • The make and model of a car can impact your insurance rates significantly for many different reasons
  • New, expensive, and large cars can increase your insurance rates because of the risk factors involved
  • You should research how much it will cost to insure a car make and model before you purchase it

Insurance companies have to consider many different complex factors when determining insurance rates. However, one of the biggest factors happens to be the make and model of a car.

Depending on the make, model, and trim level of your car, insurance companies may charge higher rates. That’s because certain cars are more prone to accidents, thefts, and insurance claims in general. Some cars are also more expensive to repair.

Before you decide to purchase a new car, think about the insurance rates that come with a specific make and model. You can avoid any surprises and ensure that you can afford full coverage auto insurance for your new car before you buy.

We also want to encourage you to learn more about how to buy auto insurance.

Speaking of insurance coverage, we encourage you to compare rates offered by some of the top companies. Take a moment to use our comparison tool by entering your ZIP code and looking at free quotes for your make and model from insurance companies in your area.

How the Make and Model of a Car Affects Insurance Rates

When shopping for a new vehicle, you always have to consider the costs associated with the car make and model. How do these particular details affect your insurance rates? There are many factors involved, and we have listed a few here.

Engine Size

When insurance companies obtain information on your new car make and model, they’ll also learn about the size and power of your engine. They are well aware of the fact that cars with bigger engines can achieve higher speeds. Powerful engines serve as a springboard for reckless driving, which is a major cause for concern with insurance companies.

Car Theft

Certain cars are also much more susceptible to theft, which will likely require you to pay a lot more money on your insurance rates. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the following cars had the greatest likelihood  of theft:

  • Ford pickup truck
  • Honda Civic
  • Chevrolet pickup truck
  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Camry

Knowing the car make and models that are more prone to theft will also help simplify your search for auto insurance coverage.

Vehicle Cost

The amount of money your car costs to purchase will also be a factor when it comes to your insurance rates. Certain auto manufacturing companies have higher retail prices for their cars, which means that it’ll also likely cost a lot more money to repair those cars. In general, luxury cars will have dramatically higher insurance rates.

Vehicle Size and Type

Certain vehicles types will also have hgher insurance rates due to their size or the way they are built. For example, large and heavy SUV-style cars will have higher insurance rates. That’s because these vehicles tend to create a lot more damage when involved in multi-car collisions. They’re also expensive to repair.

Insurance companies also raise your rates for larger vehicles because they have a history of causing higher losses and damages. Some of the more compact cars, on other hand, pose a much lower risk of causing massive amounts of damage. On the other hand, there may be more seious injuries in smaller cars.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the following vehicles are among many that have a high insurance risk:

  • Chevrolet Malibu. This particular make and model car has a much higher average of causing bodily harm, often resulting in significant medical debt and higher numbers of personal injury claims.
  • Nissan Altima. This make and model has a history of higher-than-normal collision rates, which also results in expensive medical payments and numerous personal injury claims.

It’s also worth mentioning that if a particular car has low collision rates, your insurance company will view it favorably. The Subaru Legacy 4WD causes lower property damage and bodily injury to individuals on average.

Hybrid and electric cars also tend to have high insurance rates due to the cost of repairs.

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Other Factors That Can Impact Your Insurance Rates

The make and model of your car will be a big part of what you pay for car insurance. However, other factors that influence your insurance rates include:

  • Age. Drivers under the age of 25 will typically pay more money for auto insurance. That’s because many of the top companies consider them high risk.
  • Location. Certain areas are simply much more prone to car accidents and collisions. Also, some other risks that insurance companies consider are car theft and vandalism rates.
  • Credit Score. Your credit score can also factor into your insurance rates. Some insurance companies view low credit scores as a high-risk indicator for filing claims. However, we also want to mention that this practice is illegal in certain states.
  • Driving History. If you have a clean driving history, insurance companies are much more likely to provide you with lower rates. However, drivers with a history of infractions, violations, and car crashes will likely have to pay higher insurance rates.
  • Mileage. The mileage on your car indicates how often you are driving. Drivers who spend more time on the road are also more likely to file an insurance claim. If you drive your car sparingly, you should consider signing up for usage-based insurance.
  • Other specifics related to your insurance coverage. The more coverage you choose, the more you will have to pay for it. Liability car insurance, for example, is usually the cheapest option. Adding higher limits and full coverage will mean higher rates.

Shopping for car insurance is a lot easier when you understand the factors that can affect your rates. Take the time to learn more about the different types of auto insurance coverages.

What is the make of a car?

The make refers to the company that manufactures the car, with some of the most popular examples including Ford, Nissan, Honda, GMC, and Tesla. An easy way to remember the make of a car is to think about the brand associated with a specific product.

Car Model

Every auto manufacturing company also has multiple models that they design and produce. The model further distinguishes the vehicle by giving it a more unique name.

Many companies will use letters and numerals to give the car model an even more distinctive name. Some examples include the Honda CR-V or the BMW X3. Beyond that, each model has trim levels that denote what features have been added to the base model, like a sunroof or leather seats.

Why Make and Model Matter to Insurance Companies: The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the make and model of your car play a huge role in determining your insurance rates. That’s because many of the top insurance companies use this information when assessing the risk factors involved.

The make and model of your car can increase your insurance rates for several reasons, which include the engine size, cost, and other significant factors. Remember, the greater your car’s liability level or risk level, the more money you’ll have to pay for car insurance.

Determining exactly how much you should pay for car insurance can be tricky, which is why we recommend that you use our auto insurance calculator to simplify the process.

Searching for auto insurance coverage can also be a lot simpler when you make use of our free comparison tool. It’s incredibly easy to use. Simply enter your ZIP code and to compare rates for your car’s make and model today.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Car Make and Model

Below you will find some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the make and model of a car.

#1 – How do you find the make and model of your car?

It’s very easy to learn about your car make and model. Simply look through the maintenance guide or warranty that comes with your car. You can also look up the vehicle information number (VIN) of your vehicle online to determine the make and model (you can locate the VIN in the lower-left section of the dashboard in your vehicle).

#2 – Is the vehicle make always the same as the vehicle manufacturer?

For the most part, your car make is the same as the manufacturer. However, this isn’t always the case. Some auto manufacturers serve as the parent company for other brands.

One example includes Lexus, which is a luxury brand of the auto manufacturing company Toyota. Furthermore, General Motors owns multiple brands, which include GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Buick.

#3 – What are some other reasons to know car make and model information?

There are several scenarios in which you will need to know your car make and model. For example, a parking garage where you have a pass might ask you to submit information regarding your vehicle’s make and model. Buying parts for your car and requesting free insurance quotes are also situations that apply here.

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