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article imageHow the car you drive affects your auto insurance rates

Cars assessed as having lower claims risk and cost of claims settlement attract less expensive insurance rates.
Canadian insurers consult the Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) system to assess how likely it is that the car you drive will be involved in a claim and what that claim will likely cost. CLEAR is based on data detailing claims history ("claims experience") for different makes and models of cars.
If you already have your mind set on buying a particular type of car, a quick way to assess your likely insurance rates relative to other types of cars you could buy is by looking up “How Your Car Measures Up” data provided by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
Among the least expensive vehicles to insure in Canada (2010 model year):
• Nissan Sentra
• Jeep Patriot
• Dodge Journey
• Chevrolet/GMC Traverse/Acadia
• Chevrolet Malibu
• Nissan Rogue
• Mercedes-Benz E350/E500W
• Honda CR-V
• Ford F150
• Ford Escape
The most expensive cars to insure in Canada (2010 year model) include:
• Toyota Highlander
• Toyota RAV4
• Acura MDX
• Toyota Tundra
• Honda Odyssey
• Toyota Camry
• Dodge Ram 1500
• Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 2500
• Chevrolet Camaro
• Hyundai Genesis
It is helpful to learn about the factors insurance company actuaries consider when assessing any type of car for insurance premiums.
Depending on the type of coverage you purchase, some variables that determine insurance rates for the car you drive include:
The risk of the car being stolen
It’s not only big and flashy cars that can be expensive to insure; cars can be expensive to insure if they happen to be among the most frequently stolen cars. According to the IBC, the top 10 most stolen cars in Canada in 2012 were:
• 2000 Honda Civic SiR 2DR
• 1999 Honda Civic SiR 2DR
• 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS 4DR 4WD
• 2007 Ford F350 SD 4WD PU
• 2005 Cadillac Escalade 4DR AWD
• 2006 Ford F350 SD 4WD PU
• 2002 Cadillac Escalade 4DR 4WD
• 2005 Ford F350 SD 4WD PU
• 2004 Ford F350 SD 4WD PU
• 1999 Acura Integra 2DR
Cost of repairs and replacement
Expensive cars attract higher insurance rates because they cost more to repair and replace if you get into an accident or if the car gets stolen. A Cadillac Escalade, for instance, attracts high insurance rates because it is an expensive luxury vehicle.
Likelihood of an accident
Flashy sports cars with souped-up engines, for example, could mean higher insurance premiums compared to base models. Since these cars are being designed for speed, there is a higher risk that the driver will hit the gas pedal hard and get into an accident.
Crash test safety ratings
Poor crash test safety ratings translate automatically into higher insurance rates. Some makes and models fare better in collision and result in less injury to occupants and less damage to the car.
Although Transport Canada conducts its own crash safety tests, ratings by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are the most widely recognized North American benchmarks.
You can look up the crash test rating for your car here.
Vehicles with more safety features, such as airbags and anti-lock brakes, are more likely to have lower insurance rates.
Keep in mind that each car insurance company has its own "propriety formula" for assessing insurance rates for different types of cars. It’s best to seek quotes before you buy your dream car.
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