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Why Do Sports Cars Get a Bad Rap?

Published May 9, 2022
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This article has been reviewed by licensed insurance industry expert, Moshe Fishman.

If you’ve ever thought about buying a sports car, there’s something you should know—sports cars have a bad rap with insurance companies. Designed for speed and maneuverability, the things that make sports coupes and convertibles fun to drive are the same things that make them expensive to insure.

Depending on the car, sports car insurance can be twice as much as the premium on a regular car. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up the idea of owning a sports car. Learn about these cars and why auto insurance companies put a price tag on performance before deciding if a sports car is right for you.

What is a sports car?

First-time sports car buyers are aware of the expenses associated with buying a sports car. But many people don’t consider how their shiny new toy will affect their insurance for as long as they own the car.

A sports car is defined as a vehicle that has a high horsepower engine, two seats, and a smaller frame. Although insurance companies will differ in their exact definition of a sports car, they usually consider three factors: make and model, number of cylinders, and body height and weight. Let’s look more closely at the factors that insurance companies consider when defining if a car is a sports car.

Make and Model

There are certain car brands that automatically qualify a car as a sports car such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Bugatti. This is because sports cars are the only type of car they make. However, some luxury car manufacturers like Aston Martin make a variety of vehicles ranging from luxury sedans to James Bond-worthy GTs.

There are also certain car manufacturers that make “everyday” cars such as SUVs and sedans that also make sports cars. These include Chevy, Ford, Dodge, BMW, Mitsubishi, and Tesla. Here’s where the car model comes into play and where the definition becomes trickier to pinpoint.

Obviously, a Ford Mustang is a sports car, but what about a Mini Cooper, a Nissan Maxima, or a Dodge Dart? How about a Honda Civic? Now, you might be smiling, but the hot Civic Type-R certainly qualifies.

Number of Cylinders and Horsepower

A car that goes very fast in a short period of time is more likely to be in an accident. Accidents that occur at high speeds will also cause more damage not only to the car, but more injury to the occupants. Therefore, a car’s horsepower is a significant factor in deciding insurance rates.

The more cylinders a car has, the faster power can be generated, and the more expensive it will be to insure. Insurance companies will look closely at all the vehicle’s specs when determining the insurance premium.

Body Height and Weight

Insurance companies will also evaluate the body height and weight of the vehicle. Sports and GT cars tend to be lighter, smaller, and have a lower profile compared to other cars. It’s their weight and size that allow them to be so fast and highly maneuverable.

When speed and maneuverability increase, so does the risk of accidents. The body of such cars tends to be lighter and less durable, which means an accident will cause more damage and cost more to repair. It costs insurance companies a lot to replace a totaled sports car.

What is Sports Car Insurance?

These specialized insurance policies cover the same things a standard policy covers for a non-sports car:

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Personal injury
  • Property damage liability
  • Uninsured motorist coverage

Additional insurance may be added to minimize out-of-pocket expenses after an accident.

These additions include:

  • Classic car insurance for these high-performance cars that are also categorized as classic cars will cover the total replacement cost of the vehicle. This is essential considering that classic cars tend to gain value over time.
  • Sound system coverage replaces stolen sound system equipment or pays for damage to equipment.
  • Medical payments coverage comes in handy in the event of an accident that results in severe injuries to the driver and passengers.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) covers medical bills, lost wages, or childcare after an accident.

Additional Associated Risks

These cars carry a higher risk for insurers than non-sports cars because of associated risks such as:

Performance

Fast acceleration, quick stops, and high-speed turns mean that accidents are more likely. Owners of sports cars may drive recklessly which leads to an increased risk of speeding tickets and accidents. Of course, even a flagship sedan like a Mercedes Benz S Class can be driven recklessly, but that's another story.

Repairs

Sports cars are notoriously expensive to repair. Both parts and labor tend to be more expensive, especially for classic and rare cars.

Theft

Flashy sports cars are highly appealing not only to car thieves but to vandals as well. Sports cars that have been abandoned by thieves are usually found with a significant amount of damage and missing parts. Comprehensive coverage will cover both theft and vandalism but will come at a high cost.

Driver’s Age

The younger the driver, the more they’ll pay for sports car insurance. Young, inexperienced drivers are already more likely to get into accidents. When you add the high performance of a sports car, the cost to insure a young motorist can be astronomical. Auto insurance premiums for sports car owners who are under age 25 can cost up to $3,000 annually for liability only and up to $12,000 for full coverage.

How To Lower Sports Car Insurance Premiums

Shop Around

For any type of insurance, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes. This is especially true for sports cars where one insurance company may charge much more than another. Bundling your sports car insurance with other types of insurance can also result in a lower rate.

Safety Features

Having these safety features may result in rate discount:

  • Adaptive headlights
  • Crash-imminent braking
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Forward collision warning
  • Blindspot detection
  • Rearview camera

Drive Safely

Taking a defensive driving class can also help lower auto insurance rates, often by around 10%. A safe driving record and credit score will help lower auto insurance rates, no matter what type of car you drive.

Wait Until Age 25+

Sports car insurance premiums drop significantly after age 25 when most insurers consider drivers to be less risky.

Drive Less Often

If your sports car is the car you intend to use for your daily commuter, expect a higher insurance premium. But if you only drive it a few times a month and keep the mileage low, you’ll get a discount. You can also save money by storing your car in a locked garage when not in use.

The Bottom Line

If you can afford to buy a sports car, you can probably afford the expensive sports car insurance premium. Consider the cost of insurance when factoring in all the costs of owning a sports car.

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