If you own a sports utility vehicle, you recognize the image of pure brawn, safety and ruggedness associated with cars like yours. Driving up high off the road gives many SUV owners a feeling of power, and many never give a thought to gas mileage, accident rates or the cost of SUV insurance.
But along with those larger-than-average rides—originally designed to be driven at much slower speeds over very rough terrain—often comes considerably higher-than-average car insurance prices, costlier repairs and higher fuel consumption than seen with smaller cars.
For many dyed-in-the-wool SUV enthusiasts, the trade-offs are worthwhile. But regardless which side of the fence you’re on, with the right strategies under your belt, driving your SUV doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Why the Insurance Rate Discrepancy?
So why are SUV insurance rates typically higher than average?
According to recent reports released by ABC News and Consumer Reports:
- Insurance rates are directly related to risk—and there are more risk factors associated with SUVs than their smaller counterparts.
- When involved in accidents, SUVs do more damage to other vehicles, their passengers and pedestrians than cars.
- Though many people think SUVs are safer than cars, the opposite is actually true.
- SUVs are more costly to repair than cars because their manufacturers aren’t bound by the same federal standards in low-speed crashes.
- Due to their high center of gravity, SUVs are more than twice as likely to tip and roll over as cars.
- Because they’re popular and trendy, SUV theft rates run higher than those of most cars.
Now, for the good news! Since SUV insurance companies set rates according to the particular model you drive, where you live, your driving record, your credit history and the safety equipment installed in your vehicle, you can use these factors to your benefit and keep your SUV insurance rates low.
10 Strategies for Reducing Your Premiums
Ready to take control of your SUV insurance premiums and cut your rates by 50 percent or more?
Try these money-saving strategies to keep your insurance costs under control:
- Shop your insurance rates with more than one company. Applying for free quotes is the best way to accomplish this. You’d be surprised how much rates on the same coverage can vary from one insurer to another!
- Buy smart. Before you drive away in a new SUV, give your insurance agent a call to find out what kind of rates you can expect from that particular vehicle. If it’s more than you want to pay, consider a different model.
- Drive defensively. The better your driving record, the lower your rates. So keep your foot light on the gas pedal and your eyes on the road to help you get the best insurance rates.
- Keep your credit score high. Paying your bills in full—and on time—demonstrates financial responsibility. The more you do so, the higher your credit score…and the lower your rates.
- Raise your deductibles. If you can cover a little more out-of-pocket in case of an accident, your insurer will reward you with lower premiums.
- Install safety equipment in your SUV. Besides possibly saving your life, devices such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and park assist can keep you from hitting another vehicle or completely totaling your car. This makes you less risk to your insurance company, and qualifies you for additional discounts.
- Consider dropping unnecessary coverage on older SUVs. The older your SUV, the less it’s worth. Since comprehensive and collision compensates you for damage to your own vehicle, it’s often worthwhile to either lower or completely cancel these coverages (depending on its age).
- Stay with the same insurance company as long as possible. Once you establish a good payment record over a period of time, you’ll begin receiving discounts when your SUV insurance automatically renews.
- Buy your home and SUV insurance from the same company. Insurers will love you for doing this—and you’ll get a multi-policy discount!
- Ask about group insurance. If you’re a member of a local auto club, you may qualify for lower rates with a particular insurer.