Insuring luxury cars comes at a price
Feb 14, 2013 (The Buffalo News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
When it comes to cars, luxury comes with a price. In New York, it also comes with a steep insurance bill.
At the other end of the spectrum, reliable crossovers and SUVs top the list of the cheapest to insure.
A report by Insure.com found that 2013 high-end sedans from the German automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz are likely to cost their drivers at least $2,900 a year and up to $3,800 a year for insurance.
And that's after the drivers have already spent at least $80,000 and as much as $200,000 to buy them.
Indeed, it's that high purchase price and the likely high costs of major repairs or total replacement that drive up the insurance costs, said Irene E. Connors, general sales manager for Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo in Clarence.
"These are usually special-order vehicles with minimum global production," Connors said. "I would venture to say the buyer of these automobiles would already have the expectation of a higher insurance premium and would not be deterred."
Cars in the bottom 10 include the BMW 650i coupe, $2,928; Mercedes-Benz S600, $2,885; Porsche 911 Turbo, $2,883; Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, $2,822, and the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, at $2,872. All are also more expensive to insure in New York than nationwide.
On the other hand, Subaru drivers could be saving the most -- especially if they're in an Outback. Two models of the popular crossover vehicle were among the five cheapest new vehicles to insure in New York State.
The regular Subaru Outback 2.5i took the top spot, while the Premium five-door model came in fourth. And the four-door Premium was the sixth-cheapest to insure.
"The Outback's one of Subaru's most popular cars. It's safe. It's all-wheel-drive. That helps prevent it from being in accidents," said Joe Hurley, general manager for Northtown Subaru on Sheridan Drive in Amherst, which sells about 1,000 Subarus a year, of which 30 percent are Outbacks.
"The people who tend to own Subarus tend to be more responsible," he said, noting that the cars' reliability attracts "doctors, teachers and people who have to be places in inclement weather."
The study found that sport utility vehicles, crossovers and minivans are all among the least-expensive vehicles to insure in the state -- and less expensive than the national average.
Also in the top 10 of the cheapest to insure are the Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4-door vehicle, $1,060; the Toyota Sienna LE and base model, $1,066 and $1,068; the Jeep Patriot Sport, $1,083; and Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, $1,094.
The ranking of 750 current-year models also found that Japanese automakers such as Subaru, Toyota Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. dominated the list of vehicles that are the least expensive to insure in New York State. The Ford Edge SE and the Jeep Patriot and Grand Cherokee Laredo were the only American cars in the top 10.
And in what the study characterized as a "remarkable upset" compared with past years, minivans "are no longer the go-to vehicles for the best car insurance rates." While three minivans made the top-10 list in New York, none made the cut nationally.
"It's not surprising, since family vehicles usually have the lowest insurance losses for crashes ... SUVs are the new minivans and are often the family vehicle of choice," said Russ Rader, spokesman for the industry-funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
"Moms and dads are among the safest drivers. They're usually not speeding, darting in and out of lanes or doing other risky things behind the wheel that lead to crashes."
The average rates were calculated using data from six large insurance carriers -- Allstate Corp., Farmers Insurance Co., GEICO Corp., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Progessive Corp. and State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. -- in 10 ZIP codes in each state. The averages are based on a single 40-year-old male, commuting 12 miles to work each day, with $100,000 coverage for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage, plus a $500 deductible.
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