February 9, 2004

A recent national survey by Mayfield Village, Ohio-based vehicle insurer Progressive, found that new car owners know much more about the features of their vehicle than they do about the insurance that protects it, themselves and others.

The company found that a vast majority of drivers who had recently purchased a new vehicle knew its transmission type (98 percent) and number of cylinders (91 percent). Also, nearly all drivers who recently purchased a new vehicle said they knew how many airbags it had and where they were located (99 percent).

By contrast, more than half (51 percent) did not know the amount of bodily injury liability coverage they had for one person, and 62 percent didn’t know their liability coverage limits per accident.

The survey revealed that almost one in three drivers (30 percent) didn’t know how much they paid every six months to insure their newly-purchased vehicle.

Progressive estimated that more than 10 million U.S. households are planning on buying a new vehicle in 2004. The insurer asserted that new car buyers should know that the make and model they choose does affect insurance premium. That’s because rates are determined not only by driver characteristics such as age and gender, but also by vehicle characteristics, which generally include the car’s make, model and year, weight, horsepower, body type, wheel base, and vehicle type, such as passenger car, van, pickup, SUV, etc. To illustrate how the cost of insurance can vary by vehicle, Progressive compiled a list of the most and least expensive 2004 vehicles to insure.

The top five most expensive cars to insure were the Dodge Viper, Acura NSX, Jaguar XKR, Porsche 911 and BMW M5. The least expensive to insure were the Oldsmobile Silhouette, Pontiac Montana, Saturn SL, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Saturn SC.

Through its survey Progressive found that only 87 percent of drivers consider auto insurance as a factor in deciding whether to buy a new car, or which make or model to purchase. Still, almost two-thirds, some 63 percent, of new car buyers said they expected to pay more to insure their new vehicle.

Older respondents—those aged 55 to 64—were more likely to know the amount of their deductible than were younger respondents—those in the 18-to-24 age group. However, the younger age group was more likely than the older group to know how much they paid every six months.

While men knew more about their new car’s features than women, females were more likely than males to know how much they paid every six months to insure their new car. More men than women knew how much bodily injury liability coverage they had for one person, their coverage limits per accident and the amount of their property damage liability coverage.

Of those drivers who did not know their six-month premium amount, 71 percent knew their car’s fuel capacity and 96 percent knew the transmission type. Of those drivers who did not know the amount of their deductible, 74 percent knew the type of brakes their new car had and 56 percent knew its fuel capacity.

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