Kanetix provides practical shopping tips for consumers

For many people, shopping for a new or used vehicle can be both frustrating and time consuming because finding that 'perfect' car, the one that fits your budget and fulfills all your needs and wants, can be a real challenge.

Although purchase price is often a key factor for consumers when shopping for a vehicle, many people forget to factor in the cost of auto insurance prior to purchasing. As a consequence, many consumers experience further frustration when they call their car insurance company because they realize how much their new set of wheels will cost to insure.

Whether you're buying a vehicle for pleasure or business use, the following collection of top 10 lists can help you make an informed and practical decision when finding and buying a vehicle that fits both the budget you've set aside for the vehicle's purchase, and your annual auto insurance.

Top 10 quoted cars on Kanetix.ca

If you like to be en vogue and want to drive one of the most popular vehicles trending on Canadian roads, look no further. The following vehicles will help you identify what's popular. In 2011, the following cars were most often included in auto insurance quotes at Kanetix.ca:

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Toyota Corolla
  3. Honda Accord
  4. Mazda Mazda3
  5. Volkswagen Jetta
  6. Ford Focus
  7. Toyota Camry
  8. Chevrolet Cavalier
  9. Dodge Caravan
  10. Pontiac Sunfire

Is your car popular?

If using these cars as your guide to what's hot on the roads, don't forget to factor in the cost of car insurance before you purchase. The cost to insure can vary greatly between cars; even cars that have similar features, body types and are similar in price. Why the difference? Well, insurance companies rate cars based on the claims history of the vehicle. They look at things like accident frequency, repair costs, theft, vandalism and safety ratings (to name a few) for each make and model. The more (or less) money insurance companies have to pay in claims for a particular car, the more expensive (or cheaper) that car likely is to insure.

It is this variability that makes it good practise for drivers to compare auto insurance rates every time they go to purchase a new (or new to them) vehicle. Unfortunately, many do not. As a consequence, many drivers are surprised when they call their insurance company. For some drivers, the car may cost less to insure than the one they're trading in, but for others they're disappointed to learn that the overall price of the vehicle is actually more when auto insurance is factored in.

To avoid buying a vehicle that stretches your budget because it costs more to insure than you anticipated, or to help you make a decision between vehicles - make sure you shop around and compare auto insurance rates; doing so will provide you a better idea of what the car will really cost you.

Top 10 most expensive cars to insure

One of the most common questions, car insurance professionals get asked is- what is the most expensive car to insure? Believe it or not, it is not a simple question to answer. Nevertheless, if you are in the market for a vehicle and you're trying to keep your auto insurance costs low, it's handy to know which vehicles are likely to cost you more to insure.

Before naming names (or in this case, vehicle models), the following is a little background to help you understand why these particular vehicles are among the top 10 most expensive cars to insure.

Claims, claims, claims

When your auto insurance rates are calculated, the claims history of the vehicle is taken into account (in addition to your driving history). Every vehicle make and model has a unique claims history. For example, some vehicles are stolen more than others and some cars cost more to repair after an accident. The Insurance Bureau of Canada and individual insurance companies keep track of these claims and this is one of the factors an insurance company considers when determining rates. There are two primary types of claims:

Do you know what a collision claim can do to your insurance?

  1. Collision claims
  2. Comprehensive claims (such as vandalism, windshield damage)

Simply put, the more money your insurance company has to put into repairs from certain accidents or pay for theft claims - the more the insurance will be on that vehicle. Let's face it, no one likes paying for their auto insurance premiums however it is a necessary expense if you own and drive a car.

How you can get lower auto insurance

Everyone wants to find ways to reduce their car insurance premium and there are money-saving options available to you. For example, you can choose to increase your collision or comprehensive deductible, take advantage of discounts you qualify for, or comparison shop your auto insurance.

Based on the most recent information available through the Insurance Bureau of Canada's How Cars Measure Up publication, the following top 10 most and least expensive vehicles to insure are Kanetix.ca take on the data. It is important to note, the lists take into consideration collision and comprehensive coverage claims, and theft costs and theft frequency for 2009 models.

So without further ado, the most expensive cars to insure are:

  1. Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD
  2. Toyota Venza 5DR AWD
  3. Acura TSX 4DR
  4. Toyota RAV4 4DR 4WD
  5. Acura MDX 4DR 4WD
  6. Toyota Matrix Wagon 4WD
  7. Mercedes-Benz ML320/ML350/ML550/ML63 4DR 4WD
  8. Acura RDX 4DR 4WD
  9. Toyota Camry 4DR
  10. Honda Accord 4DR

The other end of the spectrum: the least expensive cars

If you have your eye on one of the most expensive vehicles to insure and now you are thinking about purchasing something that may have cheaper auto insurance - the following list may help you.

If you are interested in purchasing a vehicle that may cost less to insure, consider the:

  1. Pontiac Montana SV6
  2. Chevrolet/Pontiac Equinox/Torrent 4DR 2WD
  3. Chevrolet Impala 4DR
  4. Chevrolet HHR 4DR
  5. Kia Sportage 4DR 2WD
  6. Chevrolet Uplander EXT
  7. Hyundai Elantra 5DR
  8. Buick Allure 4DR
  9. Mazda Tribute 4DR AWD
  10. Pontiac Montana SV6 EXT

A big indicator of whether a vehicle will cost more to insure or not is the specific claims experience of that particular vehicle (e.g. if it's stolen a lot). Theft is a big problem and costs us all; according to the IBC, on average every auto insurance policyholder pays an additional $35 in premium because of auto theft.

Ten most stolen cars in Canada

No one ever wants to experience having their car stolen right from their driveway or parking lot. If you are spending your weekends test driving cars, you may want to be aware of the cars listed by the IBC as being the most stolen cars in Canada for 2009 (figures for 2010 will not be available until the end of this year):

  1. 2000 Honda Civic SiR 2DR
  2. 1999 Honda Civic SiR 2DR
  3. 2002 Cadillac Escalade 4DR 4WD
  4. 2004 Cadillac Escalade 4DR 4WD
  5. 2005 Acura RSX Type S 2DR
  6. 1997 Acura Integra 2DR
  7. 2000 Audi S4 Quattro 4DR AWD
  8. 2003 Hummer H2 4DR AWD
  9. 2006 Acura RSX Type S 2DR
  10. 2004 Hummer H2 4DR AWD

Is your car a target by thieves?

Statistics Canada reported 93 000 vehicles stolen in 2010-roughly 250 a day. Although a lot of cars are stolen every year, the good news is that police-reported motor vehicle thefts have declined for seven consecutive years, suggesting that anti-theft devices in vehicles work.

Coverage under your auto insurance policy for theft is optional - you can choose to include it as part of your auto insurance policy or exclude it. To have insurance coverage in the event of a theft claim - you will need either comprehensive, specified perils or all perils coverage. As a vehicle's propensity to be stolen increases, the part of the premium you pay for theft protection is also likely to increase.

If you have theft protection coverage within your policy, part of determining your premium requires the insurer to assess the likelihood your car will be stolen. This includes a review of theft rates in your region and how frequently thieves are attracted to your car's particular make and model.

As insurance companies differ by premium, it is important you take the time to shop around to find the best-priced premium and coverage to suit your needs.

If you want to protect your vehicle from thieves, the following are tips to help you:

  • Always lock the doors of your car
  • When you park your car, roll up all of your windows and don't forget the sunroof
  • Avoid leaving valuables in plain sight, thieves are attracted to items they can sell later
  • Park in well-lit areas with lots of pedestrian traffic; the more traffic the less likely a thief will break into your car with others watching
  • Park in a private driveway or locked garage
  • Protect your car with an anti-theft device. Call your insurance company to find out what devices are approved for an anti-theft discount

If you had set your mind on a certain vehicle, but are now having second thoughts due to its theft record, IBC has compiled a list of the 10 vehicles least likely to be stolen in Canada.

The 10 cars in Canada least likely to be stolen

  1. 2003 Buick Le Sabre 4DR
  2. 2006 Buick Rendezvous 4DR AWD
  3. 2007 Buick Terraza EXT
  4. 2009 Chevrolet Impala 4DR
  5. 1999 Ford Escort Wagon
  6. 2007 Ford Freestyle Wagon
  7. 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible 2DR
  8. 2006 Ford Mercury/ Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis 4DR
  9. 2004 Hyundai XG 350 4DR
  10. 2009 Kia Sportage 4DR 2WD

As vehicles become better equipped to deter thieves, sport utility vehicles are no longer the number one option for thieves. Have you ever considered purchasing a SUV, truck, minivan, or crossover? Interestingly, in 2010, the majority of Canadians in the market for a vehicle purchased a pick-up truck, minivan, SUV or crossover according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. If this current trend describes what you want to drive, the following list, compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, can help you determine what's popular:

Top 10 Trucks in Canada

  1. Ford F-Series (Pickup)
  2. Dodge Grand Caravan (Minivan)
  3. Dodge Ram (Pickup)
  4. GMC Sierra (Pickup)
  5. Ford Escape (SUV/Crossover)
  6. Chevrolet Silverado (Pickup)
  7. Hyundai Santa Fe (SUV/Crossover)
  8. Honda CR-V (SUV/Crossover)4DR
  9. Dodge Journey (SUV/Crossover)
  10. Toyota RAV4 (SUV/Crossover)

If the thought of purchasing a bigger vehicle is giving you second thoughts because you're concerned about the extra gas needed to get around, or you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you may be considering a hybrid. There are a number of hybrids to choose from, including cars, SUVs and pick-ups. Whatever your preference, chances are you can find a hybrid version. The most popular hybrids in 2011, as quoted online for auto insurance through Kanetix.ca, show how diverse the selection is:

Hot hybrids: The 10 most popular hybrids

Thinking about buying a hybrid vehicle?

  1. Toyota Prius
  2. Toyota Camry Hybrid
  3. Honda Civic Hybrid
  4. Ford Escape Hybrid
  5. Lexus HS 250h
  6. Lexus RX 400h
  7. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  8. Ford Fusion Hybrid
  9. Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited
  10. Honda Insight EX

As the popularity for hybrid cars grows, car manufacturers are making their hybrids more attractive, even to the pickiest of drivers. Some insurance companies even provide extra incentives, in the form of an auto insurance discount, to drivers who drive a hybrid vehicle.

Top 10 convertibles for any budget

If you want to spoil yourself with a sporty vehicle, but you do not know where to start, Kanetix has compiled a list of the top 10 convertibles from leading car authority - Edmunds. Although convertibles are often associated with the rich and famous, manufacturers have come out with affordable convertibles that fit everyone's budget. Some convertibles are priced as low as $20,000, so if you want to feel the breeze in your hair while driving, there are affordable options available. If you are looking for an affordable convertible that will not drain your savings these top rated convertibles are priced under $30,000:

  • Mazda Miata
  • Ford Mustang

If you are looking for additional features and perks, a convertible under $40,000 may be a good option for you. Two options in this price range are the:

  • Audi A5 Cabriolet
  • BMW 1 Series

If you are considering a convertible under $60,000 popular options in this price range include the:

  • Porsche Boxster
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Are you looking for the ultimate of luxury cars? Every car here is more than $60,000 and consists of nothing but pure and fast sleek luxury:

  • Porsche 911 Cabriolet
  • Audi R8 Spyder
  • Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Tips for getting the best insurance rate

No matter what type of vehicle you prefer, if you are shopping around for a new set of wheels, follow these tips to keep your insurance rates lower - even on a vehicle with historically higher rates:

  • Call your insurance agent or broker to review your policy for discounts. You may qualify for an anti-theft discount, multi-line discount, winter tire discount or alumni discount
  • Increase your deductible from $500 to $1000 or more - just remember to keep your deductible affordable because this is how much you will have to pay in the event of a claim
  • Maintain a clean driving record (no at-fault accidents or traffic tickets)
  • Commute to work by public transit, carpool with a friend or family member or join a car share community
  • Don't forget to shop around and compare car insurance rates as premiums vary between insurance companies

It is also important to note, whenever your life changes, chances are your insurance policy coverage will change too. Remember to call your insurance company to review your policy when:

  • Getting married
  • Your children move out of the house
  • Turning 25
  • Moving
  • Adding a teenager to your policy
  • Retiring
  • Your driving record changes

And if you have exhausted all discount saving options with your existing insurance company, remember you have the option to shop around. Comparing insurance quotes will help you determine if your existing policy is sufficient for your needs or if you should switch to another insurer.

Back to top