Smart fortwo

As we always say here at CoverHound, the main takeaway was that the three main factors determining the cost of insuring a specific vehicle were and will remain safety ratings, damage susceptibility, and likelihood of theft.

In other words, you may get some social rewards from driving a new Jaguar, but you won’t save much (or at all) on car insurance.

So let’s take those three factors and look at the forthcoming class of cars and see if we can find a handful of the best cars to insure for 2012.

Honda Accord. Old reliable, updated. The Accord perennially earns high safety marks (including a perfect 10.0 from US News last year). It’s very sturdy for its size, and holds up extremely well in accidents. Further, though the Accord has always been popular with young professional crowd, it’s not as attractive on the black market. The 2012 Accord will sport a re-designed exterior but the fundamental specs and features that drivers and insurers have come to love over the years will stay basically the same.

Volvo XC90. I know the old adage that cars with more horsepower are more expensive to insure -- and the 2012 Volvo version will certainly have plenty of pick-me-up. But keep in mind that a large subset of insurers’ definitions of “safety” is tied up in who actually drives these cars. This Volvo is predominantly a family car and, as you might expect, people with children tend to drive more carefully and get into fewer accidents. Plus, Volvos are still built like German tanks and emerge from most accidents without major damages. And lastly, while the Vovlo XC90 might be extremely attractive within the young, affluent parent set -- it’s less enticing to thieves because of its large size and tendency to guzzle gas.

Smart Fortwo. This might surprise some, as the Smart Car connotes smallness -- and therefore fragility. Two thousand and twelve will mark the entrance of the Smart fortwo electric drive (aka smart ed) on to the market. And while electric cars are not always darlings in the eyes of the insurance agencies -- remember, greener is not always better in terms insurance costs -- Smart actually has an excellent track record when it comes to safety. The car is also not as flimsy as it seems, and holds up pretty well in collisions. And of course no thief worth his grain of street cred is going to want to be seen in one.

So hopefully this scouting report proves helpful as you enter the 2012 car buying season. Remember to consider insurance costs when homing in on the price of a car, as the difference could be as much as a few hundred dollars a month.

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