When considering car insurance discounts, most people think of the effects of their own behaviors. While a safe driving record and good credit score can certainly contribute to affordable coverage, the type of car you drive plays an important role in setting your insurance rates. If you’re shopping for a new car, it’s a good idea to think about how much it will cost to insure it. Even if you already own a vehicle, you can save money on its coverage by making some changes or improvements.

Why the Car Matters

Insurance protects the vehicle that it covers, so all policies are vehicle-specific. Because the insurance company will need to pay to replace the car if it’s ever totaled in an accident, they will need to insure a vehicle at its worth. This means that expensive vehicles tend to cost more than cheaper cars.

Additionally, vehicles that are expensive to repair will cost more to insure than those that are less expensive. For example, foreign vehicles and cars that require specialized labor or parts will have higher rates than domestic cars. This is also true of hybrids, electric cars or other vehicles that utilize new technologies.

Auto insurance companies also assess the risk of a vehicle by reviewing crash data for that type of car. Vehicles with high safety ratings cost less to insure, and cars that are statistically involved in more collisions will cost more to insure. For example, high-performance muscle cars tend to be pricier to insure because they get into more accidents than other types of vehicles.

Some cars also have a higher incidence of theft than other models. Thieves are most likely to target cars whose parts are in high demand, like popular older-model domestic and Japanese cars and certain luxury vehicles. If a car is frequently targeted by thieves, it will cost more to insure it.

Ways to Reduce Your Insurance Costs by Modifying Your Vehicle

If you already have a vehicle, you can reduce the cost of your insurance by making certain modifications:

— Make sure your insurer knows about your vehicle’s features

The insurance company will run a VIN check on your car and base rates off of the make and model information the check brings up. If there are any after-market additions to you vehicle or features that make it different from the standard car of that make and model, be sure to tell your insurers about them. These features may make a major difference in your coverage.

— Install an anti-theft device

Ideally, you’ll want to double-up on your defenses. Insurance companies will give deeper discounts for multiple types of anti-theft measures, and it will provide the most thorough protection for your vehicle. Consider combining a mechanical device like The Club with a car alarm or GPS tracking device.

— Install safety devices

If your car doesn’t come with safety features like backup sensors, you may be able to install them. Be sure to discuss your options with your dealership or mechanic. Not only will this make your car cheaper to insure, it’ll also be safer for you to drive.

— Maintain a low mileage

Try to put as few miles on your car as possible. Your low annual mileage will help you save on insurance, and the car will be worth more if it’s totaled. If you drive infrequently, consider enrolling in a usage-based insurance plan to increase your savings. These will assess not only how frequently you drive but also what driving behaviors you engage in and set rates accordingly.

— Keep your vehicle stored somewhere safe

You can qualify for a discounted rate on insurance simply by keeping your car stored in a garage at night rather than parking in the driveway or on the curb. Garages protect cars from theft, vandalism, weather and hit-and-run collisions. If you keep your car in the garage, be sure to tell your insurance company and see if you can negotiate a lower price.

If you already own a vehicle, you can employ these tactics to minimize your risk and reduce the cost of insurance. If you’re looking to buy a new car, keep some of these things in mind. Cost of insuring a vehicle shouldn’t be your only deciding factor when purchasing a new car, but it is something to keep in mind. When calculating the cost of a car’s ownership, insurance is an important long-term expense that must be accounted for. Keeping low insurance rates makes a car more affordable overall.