Survey Reveals Drivers Don�t Understand That the Choices They Make When Buying or Leasing a New Vehicle Can Influence Their Auto Insurance Rates

New Car Season Is Here; Do You Know What Vehicle Characteristics Affect Auto Insurance Rates?

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, OHIO, SEPTEMBER 30, 2002 � You just pulled out of the dealership to test-drive a new car. You’ve got the keys, the new car smell, and a salesperson talking to you about rebates and lease incentives. But there’s something else you should be thinking about that could either save or cost you hundreds of dollars over the life of the car.

With the 2003 models debuting, a survey from Progressive reveals that many drivers don�t realize that the decisions they make about their new vehicle can also affect the cost of their auto insurance.

According to the online survey by Progressive (NYSE: PGR), whose companies comprise one of the country�s largest auto insurance groups, more than one in ten consumers think that the cost of auto insurance would be about the same regardless of the type of car they purchase or lease. And while 37 percent of consumers said they plan to purchase/lease a new vehicle in the next 12 months, many were unsure of what vehicle variables impact their auto insurance rate.

The survey found that consumers believe that vehicle color (42 percent of consumers), sunroofs (29 percent of consumers), tinted windows (26 percent of consumers) and stereo speakers (12 percent of consumers) influenced rates. The fact is none of these directly affect auto insurance rates at most companies.

However, when it comes to which vehicle characteristics do influence insurance rates, the survey found that many consumers did not realize that the weight of the vehicle (37 percent of consumers), the cost of the vehicle (16 percent of consumers), the body type, that is, four-door versus two-door (11 percent) and whether or not the vehicle is a convertible (nine percent) can play a role in determining rates. In general, the more expensive the vehicle and the heavier the vehicle, the more it can cost to insure. In addition, two-door vehicles, including convertibles, can also cost more to insure than four-door sedans.

�Auto insurance companies are in the business of predicting future losses or accidents. They use information about you, your vehicle and the accident experience of customers like you to calculate a price that will cover the cost of those future accidents. And because each company has had slightly different experiences with drivers and accidents, prices will vary from company to company. So if you�re buying or leasing a new car, shop around for auto insurance,� said Toby Alfred, site manager,

�We surveyed consumers to see what vehicle characteristics they think affect rates to use that information to help them better understand what really affects rate and to let them know that they can help control the cost of their auto insurance through their vehicle choices.�

In order to understand what consumers consider when buying or leasing a new vehicle, the survey also asked what they thought to be the most important factor when buying/leasing a new vehicle. Eighteen (18) percent of consumers said vehicle performance and 12 percent said it�s important to buy a vehicle that reflects a lifestyle (family, single, sporty). Also, women (23 percent) were more interested in safety features than men (13 percent), while men (23 percent) were nearly twice as likely than women (12 percent) to list vehicle performance as a primary factor.

When asked what safety-related or environmentally friendly options they would be willing to pay more for, 39 percent of consumers said they would pay more for a vehicle that ran on electric or solar power and 67 percent would pay more for a vehicle that warned them another vehicle was in their blind spot. Also, consumers said they would pay more for a vehicle that had better fuel efficiency (84 percent) or woke them up if they fell asleep behind the wheel (44 percent).

The Progressive group of insurance companies, in business since 1937, ranks fourth in the nation for auto insurance and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7, in-person service. The companies offer insurance by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE, online at and through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies. The Progressive Corporation, the holding company, has headquarters in Mayfield Village, Ohio. More information can be found at

Tips for buying a new car and the latest full-motion video crash test footage and analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) can be found on