Insurance Guzzles Savings From Fuel-Efficient Cars

Trading down to save money on gas results in higher premiums
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Oct 23, 2008 11:07 AM CDT
The Honda CRV sport-utility vehicle is a better bet for insurers because passengers in the bigger, safer vehicles incur fewer injuries in accidents.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Think you’re saving money by driving that small, fuel-efficient car you traded in your SUV for? Maybe, but you’re probably paying more for your insurance—a lot more, reports the Wall Street Journal. In accidents, small cars tend to sustain more damage, and occupants more injures, than larger vehicles. Hence a Honda Civic, for example, incurs higher premiums than the company’s larger SUV CR-V.

A 40-year-old man would pay $438 more a year to insure a Mini Cooper than a Toyota Sienna Minivan—though the latter gets 14 fewer miles to the gallon on the highway. Insurance industry experts say not only is there a safety trade-off when choosing smaller, lighter vehicles, but small cars also are stolen more often. Hybrids, meanwhile, are even more expensive to insure because of higher repair costs. (Read more fuel efficiency stories.)