The top 10 cheapest and most expensive 2011 cars to insure

Mercedes-Benz car shown in their show-room on ...

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A new year means many things for car buyers; new safety ratings, new models, and new costs. Another aspect of a car search to consider is the cost of Auto insurance; preferably before Royce rolls his brand new auto from the lot.

Fortunately, Insure.com has done the world a great service by ranking the most expensive and least expensive cars to insure. Most of the cars on these lists will come as no surprise to you, but nonetheless good information to have before you adventurously strike out to haggle with the peddlers of the automobile world.

Least Expensive (2011)(Cheapest first)

  1. Chrysler Town and Country LX
  2. Toyota Sienna
  3. Toyota Sienna LE
  4. Honda Odyssey LX
  5. Nissan Murano
  6. Jeep Wrangler
  7. Honda Odyssey EX
  8. Toyota Sienna
  9. Ford Escape
  10. Toyota Highlander
Most Expensive (2011)(Most expensive first)

  1. Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG
  2. BMW 750i
  3. BMW 750Li
  4. Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG
  5. Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG
  6. Aston Martin DB9
  7. Mercedes-Benz CL600
  8. Porsche 911 Carrera S
  9. Aston Martin DB9 Volante
  10. Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG

It’s important to note that the car you drive is NOT the only factor that affects your auto insurance rates. Several other factors, including age, gender, area of residence, and annual mileage also play a part in determining the number at the bottom of your car insurance bill. We’ve also written about how each of these affects your insurance, if you’re interested.

As for the car itself, there are reasons that some cost more to insure than others. This is due to safety ratings, top speed, anti-theft devices, and cost. It makes sense that a fast, poorly protected car will be the apple of a thief’s eye and therefore cost more to insure.

Performance: what can this baby do on the highway?

If your car’s engine could power a third world village, your insurance is going to be higher. Insurance companies have to assume that high performance cars are bought for just that reason: to drive fast and practice risky driving behaviors. If you want to keep your insurance low, stay away from performance vehicles.

Foreign Cars:

If your dream car has parts from obscure companies and/or locations, beware. Should you get into an accident (even a minor fender bender), the replacement parts will be much more costly than high supply auto parts. That factors into your insurance cost; in fact, it may factor in even more in the future if gas (and thus shipping) prices continue to rise.

Bigger is not always better:

First and foremost: YOU ARE NOT NECESSARILY SAFER IN A BIGGER CAR. There are many large trucks and SUVs that have inherent safety flaws.  Consult crash test reviews and data before you commit to a larger car. However, even if safer, SUVs are not necessarily the best way to obtain low car insurance. Big cars tend to have a higher liability coverage rate because they do more damage to other cars in accidents.

Consider a ‘family car’:

Remember the ‘high performance, high insurance’ paragraph? Well the converse is also true. Cars associated with ‘routine, safe’ driving behavior are going to cost you less. These are the cars that many think of as ‘family vehicles’: minivans, station wagons, and family sedans. This is due to the fact that ‘family vehicles’ are statistically involved in fewer crashes than other types of cars; therefore, they will cost you less to insure.

 Remember:  insurance companies play a game of numbers; if your car is going to cost more to replace, then you’re going to pay more for it.  With that in mind, go forth and buy the right car for you and your insurer.

And, of course, if you find yourself in an auto insurance pinch, look to Gordon Insurance: we provide both a wealth of information on our website and would be happy to place you with the right insurance agency for you.

Appealing a Surcharge

 

Before you start the process of appealing a surcharge, it is important to first understand how the Merit Rating Board and Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) work.

 The Merit Rating Board:

All Massachusetts auto insurance companies are required to report at-fault accidents and out-of-state driving records to the Merit Rating Board (MRB). The MRB is the state agency that maintains driving records.
The MRB driving record consists of surchargeable incidents. A surchargeable incident is any event in which you are:

  1. Convicted of, or pay a fine for, a motor vehicle violation
  2. Assigned to an alcohol education program or controlled substance treatment or rehabilitation program
  3. Found to be more than 50 percent at fault for an accident, and your insurance company makes a claim payment above a certain threshold

If you decide not to pursue an appeal, the surcharge can increase your premium and SDIP step.
In addition, each surchargeable incident counts toward possible license suspension.

You are considered to be more than 50 percent at fault in an accident if your insurance company:

  1. Finds you at fault according to one of the 19 At-Fault Standards  and
  2. Has paid a claim of more than $500 for Collision, Limited Collision, Damage to Someone Else’s Property, or Bodily Injury to Others.

Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP)
The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) is mandated by state law to establish classifications of risks to fairly reflect the driving records of insureds and adjust premiums based in part on at-fault accidents. The Plan encourages safe driving by rewarding drivers who do not cause accidents or incur traffic law violations with a credit to their automobile insurance premiums, and discourages unsafe driving by requiring high-risk drivers to pay a greater share of insurance costs. Massachusetts, unlike many comparable jurisdictions that afford no or limited due process rights, provides the right to a hearing before an impartial hearing officer of the Board.

If you believe that you are not more than 50% at-fault for an accident in which you received a surcharge, you may appeal the motor vehicle accident surcharge to the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal.

Your insurance company will mail you a Notice of Surcharge.

  1. If any of the information listed on the Surcharge Notice is incorrect (name, driver’s license number or date of accident), contact the issuing insurance company to make the corrections before appealing.
  2. If you do not receive a Surcharge Notice or misplace it:
  3. Contact your insurance agent for a copy of the Surcharge Notice     OR
  4. Request a late appeal from the Merit Rating Board.
  5. Complete the Surcharge Appeal Form located on the reverse side of the Notice of Surcharge.
  • The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the surcharge date.
  • If you did not submit your appeal within 30 days because you never received a Surcharge Notice, you must obtain a Late Appeal from the Merit Rating Board. The Board of Appeal must receive the Late Appeal within 30 days of your policy renewal.
  1. Submit a $50.00 check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts/Board of Appeal.
  • The fee is non-refundable.
  1. Mail your appeal to the post office box designated on the application. Late appeals must be sent directly to the Division of Insurance, Board of Appeal.
  2. Upon receipt of your surcharge application, the Board will mail you a postcard to acknowledge your appeal. Your cancelled check will serve as an additional receipt of your filing.
  3. The Board will mail you a Notice of Hearing approximately 3 weeks prior to your hearing date.
  4. Appeal hearings are scheduled in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Peabody, Plymouth, Somerville, Springfield, Waltham, or Worcester. Carefully note the location of your hearing listed on the Notice. Directions are included at the bottom of the Hearing Notice.
  5. Upon receipt of the Hearing Notice, you have three options for which to pursue the appeal:
    1. Appear in Person.
      Bring your Hearing Notice to the scheduled location.
      Bring copies of all relevant information, any documents/photographs etc. that you want the Hearing Officer to consider when making the decision.
    2. Submit a Written Statement in lieu of your appearance.
      The Board must receive your written or typed statement via mail or facsimile at least 5 days priorto your hearing. The statement must include:
      • copies of all relevant information, any documents/photographs etc. that you want the Hearing Officer to consider in making the decision
      • your signature on the Hearing Notice that identifies you are waiving a personal appearance in favor of your written statement & affirms that your statement is truthful.
    3. Select a representative to appear on your behalf.
      If you elect to submit a written statement via a representative, instead of appearing in person, it must include:

      • Copies of all relevant information, any documents/photographs etc. that you want the Hearing Officer to consider in making the decision
      • your signature on the Hearing Notice that identifies you are waiving a personal appearance in favor of your written statement & affirms that your written statement is truthful.

The hearing is informal and public, lasting approximately 20 – 30 minutes. The Hearing Officer will make an audio tape recording of the hearing. You and your insurance company representative will be given an opportunity to present all pertinent information. You may also bring a witness or a witness statement to the hearing. The Hearing Officer may ask you or the representative questions to clarify the information presented or the circumstances of the accident.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer will take your appeal under advisement. The facts and circumstances presented will be reviewed in accordance with the governing laws and regulations.

The Memorandum of Finding and Order, the Board’s decision, will be mailed to you within 2-4 weeks. The Board will also contact the Commonwealth’s Merit Rating Board and your insurance company so that your driving history record will be properly updated.

  • If the decision is marked VACATE, the Board has found that you were not more than 50% at-fault for the accident. Any points that you received on your driving record as a result of the accident will be removed.
  • If the decision is marked UPHELD, the Board has found that you were more than 50% at-fault for the accident. The surcharge points will remain on your driving record.

If you disagree with the determination of the Board, you may appeal the decision to your county’s Superior Court or in Boston Suffolk County Court. You must file this appeal within 30 days of your receipt of the decision.
A surcharge incurred due to a traffic violation or a non-moving violation are not appealable to the Board…

Bill Cordaro
Commercial Accounts
Andrew G. Gordon, Inc.

Car Crashes: a word to the wise from the not-so-wise

Honda CR-V photographed in Rockville, Maryland...

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Let it be stated for the record that I, Corbin Foucart, am henceforth a TERRIBLE driver. This shall be reflected in both my crushed ego and in my insurance premium. However, until 6:57 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, April 1st 2011, I considered myself a good driver. Why the transformation? Because that morning I took my cherished 1994 Honda CR-V and slammed it into a tree.

Now some explanation. I don’t have the right to make excuses; I was ENTIRELY at fault, BUT…

  1. The roads were slippery. It was snowing on April 1st!!
  2. The roads on which I drove were untouched by plows.
  3. Another student totaled her car on the same road that morning. Misery loves company.
  4. I was going around a curve
  5. I was going very slowly (Less than 20 mph). The airbags didn’t go off, and there was barely an impact.

…but I know that I should have been traveling even slower.

As I rounded the curve, the Honda began to slip off the road. Threshold braking did not help at all. Under different circumstances, I would have described the “crunch” sound as very satisfying. At the moment, it sounded like the lid of my own coffin closing. I tried shifting into reverse and backing out, but the Honda had grown attached to the tree and was holding it in a twisted metal embrace. So I called home. Uh oh.

My mom actually thought it was an April fool’s joke. I had to repeat myself several times before she understood that I wasn’t pulling her leg.

 I totaled the car; even though it wasn’t that bad of a crash, the undercarriage was bent.

What I find weird is that it wasn’t a stereotypical ‘bad morning’. I’d been accepted by Stanford, my dream school, the day before and that morning I was still running on a feeling of elation.  I was in no rush, and was looking forward to the day. Needless to say, the collision brought me crashing –no pun intended- back down to Earth. In the grand scheme of things, a totaled car is a small price to pay for my sister’s life and my own, but still frustrating nevertheless. The very sobering reality is that now I have no personal freedom to travel where I please. Doing things I took for granted with a car now has to be coordinated in advance.  

An interesting article by Insurance journal (which is worth having your teen read, by the way) states the a new study showed that the vast majority of teen crashes are caused by failing to scan for possible hazards, speeding, or becoming distracted. While I would argue that my personal case falls under the category of “poor weather or road conditions”, which they cite as rare, I know from the vast majority of accidents and fender-benders my peers are involved in that these three causes are legitimate. Another student I know totalled his car earlier in the year going to fast and driving into a rock wall. Another student did the exact same thing last month. Another student I know hit a tree while texting in the car. I’m sure as a reader you can think of countless similar anecdotal evidence to support the article’s conclusions.

The moral of the story to me is that accidents can happen WHENEVER you let your guard down.  Be safe, be vigilant, and as I’ve learned, BE SLOW!

The tree could not be reached for comment.

Hurricane Preparation: Take 2

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...

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Hurricane Earl was not as bad for New England as weather experts anticipated. Where I was, there were 2-3 inches of rain and some light wind gusts; no apocalyptic storm was this. But that’s ok; it served as practice for the peak of Hurricane Season, which we have just begun to experience.   

I had gone to the grocery store and bought three cases of bottled water in anticipation of Earl; as frustrating as it was to waste time and money on preparations such as these, it was and is a good idea to prepare before any major storm. There is no time like the present to make a survival kit, draw up an evacuation plan, or check your insurance coverage. All these things become exponentially more difficult to accomplish when an actual hurricane is approaching.  

One of the most helpful things you can do insurance-wise is to take pictures/video of your house. Should a devastating storm occur along with damage, having photographic evidence of what exactly was damaged will facilitate your interaction with your insurance provider.   

One of the greatest tragedies of Hurricane Katrina was the amount of displaced animals after the disaster occurred. Before any sort of storm is forecast, make sure you have up-to-date pictures and paperwork of your pets, as well as immunization records. Should the need arise to keep a pet at a shelter or clinic following evacuation, it is vital to have all this paperwork and identification information at hand. Appropriately sized pet-carriers should also be purchased before hurricane season in case of evacuation (pet carriers should have enough room for pets to stand and turn around in). After a large storm, pets should be walked on leashes to become re-acclimated to their new environments. Avoid large pools of water, as downed power lands and displaced reptiles could pose a threat to household pets.   

After a storm is forecast, make sure automobiles have full tanks of gas. If evacuated, traffic and congestion will arise. Running out of fuel while waiting in traffic on the highway would only compound the danger of a hurricane or severe storm.
Lastly, KNOW YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE. Most flood damage is not covered by homeowners policies.    

For more relevant insurance resources to save you time and money, visit the Andrew G. Gordon, Inc. website.    

Get Registry reminders…automatically

With the Registry providing less notice by mail for license renewal reminders, we recommend everyone sign up for automatic email reminders for renewing your driver’s license, registrations, state inspection stickers. You can use Plymouth Rock’s on-line service, available through our web site at: www.agordon.com. Don’t let an expired inspection sticker, or worse, an expired driver’s license become the reason your insurance costs go up! For the best auto insurance advice, choice, and rates, visit www.agordon.com.

Do YOU Understand The New Cell Phone Laws?

The era of operating motor vehicles under the influence of electronic distractions has hopefully come to an end following the passage of new legislation, the so-called “Safe Driving Bill”. The Bill was given gubernatorial blessing and signed into law July 2, and is now in effect for all Massachusetts Drivers. Here’s what it means:

For All Drivers:

What this bill means for EVERYONE in the state is simply that texting behind the wheel on any handheld electronic device is against the law. Violators will be subject to hefty fines that increase with each subsequent offense from $100-$250-$500. Texting while driving has also become a primary offense, which allows Law Enforcement Officers to stop any motorist suspected of texting. However, texting while driving is not considered a moving violation and is not subject to an insurance surcharge.

Additionally, under the new law, any driver who acrews three or more surchargeable incidents within a two year period will be required to take a driver retraining and safety course or face the suspension of their license.

New Drivers:

Drivers under 18 cited for using any type of cell phone or mobile electronic device with or without a hands-free feature will be subject to a $100 fine and a 60-day suspension of their driver’s license. Offenders will also have to complete a driver attitudinal retraining course before their license is reinstated.

Elderly Drivers:

The MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles will also require any driver age 75 or older to renew their license in person at an RMV branch or office location and undergo a vision test every five years. The division will also develop standards to help law enforcement, health care providers and families better assess a driver’s ability to handle a vehicle safely.

 

It’s never convenient to completely disconnect from the communicating world when on the road, but this legislation represents Massachusetts taking a step towards safer driving in a state that already bears a reputation for aggressive and antagonistic drivers. The legislation will ultimately serve to make the roads safer for all of us. As an insurance company, our job becomes significantly easier when drivers exercise good habits, and we strongly encourage all to follow the new legislation, even before its activation in October.

And for insurance and risk management solutions coupled with topical and relevant insurance information, visit us at our homepage.

Auto Insurance Discounts

Car insurance is a fact of life for drivers in Massachusetts, an expensive fact for many of us. However, there are many opportunities to reduce the amount of money paid into auto insurance through discounts offered by insurance companies. I’m Geoff Gordon, a representative of Andrew G. Gordon Insurance and Risk Management, and here I discuss these discounts and show you how to save money on your car insurance.

For a look at our auto discount form, see our Auto Insurance quote page.

And for topical insurance information and risk managment solutions, come visit us at our website.