UPDATED: Mar 12, 2020
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You are not alone in your search for automobile affordability. Apart from your monthly car payment, it’s also important to find a vehicle fits your budget regarding other expenses, like gas mileage, maintenance costs and insurance rates.
Crunching the numbers for all of these factors can be overwhelming.
Luckily, there are a number of reputable resources available to you for researching automobile safety, performance and insurance plans. And, when it comes to insurance, remember the research can’t be put off. The grace period most insurance companies give customers to get a new plan for a new vehicle is usually just 4 days.
Here’s the low-down on Volkswagen, from its the most popular models to safety and insurance information.
Make sure you know what sorts of minimum coverages you must have on your vehicle in your state. And remember, you know what type of vehicle and vehicle coverage makes you and your family feel the safest. We’re just here to help you see all the options.
A brief history on Volkswagen
Perhaps no other car company in the world has such a dark historical distinction. In 1937, in the effort to rebuild the German economy, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party formed a new state-owned automobile company. It was ultimately called Volkswagenwerk, which literally translated means “The People’s Car Company.”
It took a few decades for the impacts of the war to fade, and in 1960 the German government sold 60 percent of Volkswagen’s stock. The move away from a nationalistic brand was met warmly worldwide. Just over a decade later, the VW Beetle reached a worldwide production of 15 million vehicles.
In recent years, Volkswagen has been hit with penalties and fines for false advertising about the cleanliness of some of their vehicles. However, the automaker remains well-regarded for vehicle performance, style and safety.
We’ve used two online sources to help paint the picture of Volkswagen’s safety record:
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—Through vehicle performance standards set by the government, the NHTSA seeks to reduce everything from injuries and deaths to economic loss from vehicle crashes. A “Ratings” tool online is provided by the organization, but you can also use their “Vehicle Comparison” tool to make a more informed choice between two or three makes and models.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety—This organization was founded by corporate insurance interests, but today it is an independent, nonprofit that uses data, research and education to increase safety in vehicles. A user-friendly “Ratings” tool on their website gives vehicles ratings for crashworthiness (how well occupants are protected in a crash) and crash avoidance and mitigation (how well the vehicle can prevent an accident or lessen its severity). The ratings are: Poor, Marginal, Acceptable or Good. To qualify as a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn positive ratings across a variety of categories, such as:
- Overlap tests
- Roof strength
- Head restraint tests
- Front crash prevention
- Headlight ratings
How do insurance rates fare?
Oregon is considered the national median for insurance rates. We use ZIP code information from the area to give a fair representation of the national average rate for car insurance. Here’s what the price of insurance, for each model of VW, would be if you were based in Oregon.
To calculate each model accurately, we used to following information:
- 2018 model
- Up to 15,000 miles driven annually
- Basic coverage
- No accidents in the past 5 years
- Driver located in Oregon
- Good credit
Here is how it breaks down, by model:
The average insurance cost is $122 a month — or $1,464 a year.
The average insurance cost is $115 a month — or $1385 a year.
The average insurance cost is $124 a month — or $1490 a year.
The average insurance cost is $111 a month — or $1330 a year.
The average insurance cost is $123 a month — or $1480 a year.
The average insurance cost is $117 a month — or $1405 a year.
Even the sportier GTI model has reasonable rates compared to other vehicles with similar power. Take for instance Acura’s TL model which estimates about $2,256.00 in insurance coverage per year.
Volkswagen’s popular remake of its classic small-car gets top-notch marks on all categories of crashworthiness but one—driver side overlap. That means the deployment of the airbag can lose effectiveness, since the driver’s body and the bag do not necessarily align perfectly. Meanwhile, the passenger side overlap went unrated.
Overall, especially for a small car, the Beetle is a safe vehicle (and fun to drive). Side impact, roof strength and other factors all get the highest safety ranking. It should be noted, however, there is no special equipment on the Beetle to avoid or mitigate frontal impact collisions.
What the Beetle was to early VW days, the Golf has been from roughly the 1980s onward. It’s also considered a small car, although the hatchback makes it slightly larger than the Beetle. It also tops the Beetle in terms of overall safety. The 2018 Golf received the highest safety rating for five out of the six crashworthiness categories. Passenger-side overlap was the only category that did not receive the highest rating of “Good.” It did garner the next best ranking of “Acceptable.”
The Golf does have a frontal crash avoidance and mitigation system, which is a positive safety factor in and of itself. However, it received only one point in a six-point system.
Most drivers believe the GTI is, essentially, a Golf with more powerful guts. They’re not wrong, but they may not realize it also produces better safety results. With the exception of passenger-side overlap, every single category of crashworthiness gets the highest ranking available. Even the child seat anchor ease of use category was given the highest rating, something allusive to most vehicle makes and models.
The Golf’s crash mitigation and avoidance system received only one out of six safety points, but it is important to note such a system is included in the Golf, and that alone increases vehicle safety.
The Volkswagen Jetta is a sporty, midsize car that has been popular since the 1980s. Its crashworthiness ratings are all top-tier with the exception of passenger-side overlap, which gets the second-highest safety ranking of “Acceptable.”
Although the overall crash avoidance and mitigation system received two out of six points—a notch higher than other VW models—the headlight element got only “Marginal” rankings. The ease of use for the child seat latch also received “Marginal” rating.
VW’s midsize car is the popular Passat, and like the automaker’s other models, it earns strong safety ratings. Out of six crashworthiness factors, only one doesn’t get the highest rating. That loner is passenger-side overlap. The crash avoidance and mitigation system earned three out of six points and the ease of use of the child seat safety latch received the highest safety ranking.
Testing of the headlights showed that when using the high beams, visibility around curves was limited. This garnered the system the lowest possible safety ranking.
Volkswagen’s midsize SUV is the automaker’s only Top Safety Pick, scoring the highest safety rating on all categories of crashworthiness. It also tallied a perfect six out of six score for its crash avoidance and mitigation system.
The Tiguan is not perfect, though. Its headlight safety rating is a subpar “Marginal” thanks to low beams that don’t shed adequate light around curves. And its child seat anchor ease of use is only at the second best rank of “Acceptable.”
Vehicle insurance savings tips
Nothing is set in stone, including insurance prices. You can sometimes save big when you know the factors used to set rates. Here are some helpful tips to reduce your auto insurance costs.
Control the things you can control
Your age and sex impact your insurance costs. You can’t anything about that, but you can change these:
- Location—Some locations are more prone to accidents than others. For instance, a basic commute in the suburbs is riskier than an hour-long, rush-hour commute through a high-traffic urban area. You may not be able to move or change jobs just to reduce your insurance rates, but you can be diligent about how and where you drive. Rule of thumb: Shorter and safer equals cheaper.
- Driving record—Tickets will increase your insurance rates. Make sure you go to traffic schools to wipe tickets off your record. Otherwise they won’t clear for 2 to 5 years.
- Credit score—Your credit score is used in part to determine accident risk, as predictive analysis is beginning to show a correlation between people with bad credit and bad driving records. The best bet, regardless of insurance rates, is to keep your balances low. This will help your financing rates, too.
- Vehicle type—The value of your car will impact your insurance rates, because replacing a brand new Porsche is more expensive than replacing a 1973 Pinto. That’s right, insurance is a business.
Choice is the key
Compare price estimates from a variety of insurance companies because not all carriers offer the same discounts. Some carriers are able to bundle your vehicle insurance with other forms of insurance, such as life, renters or homeowners insurance. It’s not uncommon to save a couple hundred dollars a year on car insurance when you get a good bundle.
Also consider programs like Progressive’s Snapshot. It’s a machine learning system that monitors someone’s driving habits. Essentially, a tiny computer will track:
- How often you drive
- How fast you drive
- What time of day or night you drive
Then, data is used to assess a driver’s true risk factor in order to charge a more accurate insurance premium.
Please call us if you have questions about your insurance situation. We have feature articles about traffic and vehicle safety, too.