Get a more expensive car, and you might expect the insurance premium to be quite a bit higher.But that's not always true. Instead, the most expensive cars are often those models most often involved in accidents. Insurance companies know they're more likely to have to pay out a claim on cars that, for whatever reason, tend to be involved in more crashes than others.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an auto safety research lab funded by a consortium of insurance companies, publishes a list of the cars that cost its members the most money in claims each year.
The Institute doesn't publish numbers until it has three years' worth of data on each model, so the current list is for 2008 model year cars. But the list is an excellent predictor of the cars that will be most expensive to insure next year...and the worst of the bunch may surprise you. Three of the top five can be bought new for under $20,000.
They may look cheap up front, but these cars will cost you in the long run.
The IIHS reports six types of claim -- how much insurance companies paid out to cover collision claims, property damage claims, bodily injury claims, medical payments, personal injury protection claims and comprehensive losses. This year, for the second time since the data has been published, only one car was labeled a "substantially higher risk than average" in every single category. The Mitsubishi Lancer can be fun to drive, but it will cost you when that little green lizard sends you his bill. The Lancer is a popular choice among young driving enthusiasts, and its Evo model puts a lot of power in your hands at a surprisingly low price. Those traits, however, make it popular with young men looking to drive too fast, and insurance companies have the data to prove that doesn't always end well.