Going Green While Stifling the Green-Eyed Monster
What with global environmental concerns on the rise, and the improvement of green technology, people are starting to buy more hybrid vehicles. But there is a little green-eyed monster lurking in the trunk that we seldom consider before making a purchase. I am not talking about a Shakespeare reference to Othello but rather the little monster I speak of is the car insurance creature that tends to sink its fangs deeper into the meat of green vehicles. When you go to compare car insurance rates you will want to keep this fact in mind. Understanding why rates are higher for greener cars will help you find a policy that fits well into your ideal sphere.
Fact of Fiction
It is indeed a sad fact that hybrid cars tend to be more expensive to insure than their gas-guzzling cousins. Most people are under the assumption that this is due to the materials used in making the cars, such as lightweight plastics that offer little protection in a collision. But this assumption is pure fiction. In a bumper test done by the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the findings revealed that the total repair costs for bumper tests performed on the Toyota Prius was $9,070. The non-hybrid Hyundai Elantra and the VW Rabbit totaled at $8,976 and $9,511. Really, there is not a huge difference here.
Also, hybrids perform as well as or better in high-speed crashes. In fact, IIHS Top Safety Pick awards were granted to the Mercury Mariner hybrid, Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid and the Mazda Tribute Hybrid. This simply testifies that these cars earned top scores in front and side crash tests, as well as whiplash protection tests. So rest assure that these green cars are indeed safe, and that the question of their safety is not to blame for the higher cost of auto insurance.
The real reason why these cars cost more to insure rests in their size and the habits of their drivers. Smaller cars are harder to see and their small size increases the chance of a wreck. Also, people who buy hybrids do so because they typically have long commutes and want to cut back on fuel costs. Also, hybrids are usually loaded with the latest and greatest in technology and it reflects on their sticker prices. Another fact to consider is that because these cars have modern components, they in turn cost more to repair.
Is Going Green Worth the Higher Premium?
Yes. Although your premium will be higher, when you factor in the amount of gas you will be saving, paying more for insurance is worth it. But if you have the opportunity to purchase insurance with a locked in rate, do it! In an article by Green Car Reports, the author warns readers that the cost of insuring hybrids will only continue to go up. He states that when the first green vehicle came out, buyers were a select few who drove cautiously and spend very little time on the road. Today, however, the Toyota Prius is the third best-selling car in the country, and the driver behind the wheel has changed his profile. As gas prices have skyrocketed, more people (including younger drivers) have bought them. Not only are there more hybrids on the road, the average age range in ownership has dropped significantly.
Hybrids are still excellent choices. J.D. Power reported that hybrid owners tend to have larger incomes than non-hybrid drivers, are college educated, are more likely to claim to have gone skiing or participated in yoga, eat more organic food, and the majority of them identify politically as Democrats [see Hybrid Cars]. Part of the hybrid lifestyle is to be healthy and responsible. Finding a car insurance policy to cover the wise purchase of a hybrid is just another smart investment, as is investing in the body with a good diet and physical activity. Those things cost a little more too, but the results always prove to make the sacrifice well worth it. When taking a second look, that little green-eyed monster may not turn out to be such a bad fellow after all.
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