The newly introduced Nissan Leaf is a blessing to the environmentally-conscious mind, but at an average rate of $1544 per year for the 2012 model and $1458 for the 2011 model, is it one of the more expensive hatchback vehicles to insure.
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However, the Leaf does offer some distinct advantages over other similar size vehicles, and the test of time and historical data will likely work in the Leaf’s favor. Not all insurance companies will offer the same rate, so it is wise to gather multiple quotes before making a decision.
What insurance advantages does the Nissan Leaf offer over other vehicles?
Most importantly, the Nissan Leaf boasts a 5 Star Safety rating from the government’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). This is the highest rating possible and means that it scored well in the frontal and side crash tests, as well as the rollover evaluation. In terms of safety, this is important because the Leaf poses a low level of risk for the insurance company, which will result in lower rates.
In addition to the NCAP rating, the Leaf is also billed as a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Vehicles that achieve good scores in front, rear, and side impact testing, as well as roof strength, are given this esteemed rating.
Not only is the Nissan Leaf considered to be a safe car, it also offers many other advantages in terms of insurance rates. It is entirely electric and can go an average of 100 miles on a single charge. You should be aware that this varies greatly depending on driving conditions, speed, and the use of cabin temperature controls, however. This limited driving range actually works in the owner’s favor because it decreases the probability that the car will be involved in an accident.
Another significant benefit that Nissan offers is an eight year, 100,000 mile warranty. This can be a huge benefit when insuring a vehicle because it decreases the repair costs the insurer may be required to cover. The manufacturer will take responsibility for a majority of these expenses.
Why are insurance rates high for new cars?
While the Nissan Leaf does offer some distinct advantages over other vehicles in its size class, the rates remain significantly higher. The reason for this is that there is a very limited set of data from which the insurer can assess the risk of insuring the vehicle, and therefore a lot of uncertainty.
Insurers are extremely risk averse and will quote insurance rates reflective of the amount of risk they believe they will be taking on by insuring a vehicle or driver, which points to two more reasons why new cars are generally more expensive to insure.
New cars are more expensive to repair in general. For the most part, new cars require new parts. There is very limited, if any at all, availability of parts from salvage yards or the aftermarket. If parts are more expensive to acquire, the vehicle will be more expensive to insure.
Parts for new cars may be more expensive for the Leaf, but labor charges can also be exorbitant.
The technology of this vehicle is undoubtedly cutting edge, so it may be difficult to find a mechanic qualified to work on electric vehicles. Those that are qualified charge significantly higher hourly labor rates.
Where can I find more information about insurance rates?
The Nissan Leaf can be expensive to insure because of the issues discussed above, but it does offer quite a few amenities that insurance companies will view with favor as well. This is why it is important to do your research to find the best coverage for the best price.
Furthermore, the vehicle is not the only factor the insurance company looks at when conducting a risk assessment. The driver is also a significant factor in the equation.
Many companies will offer discounts based on your driving record–if you have been accident-free for a specified period of time, for instance. Discounts are also offered for those younger drivers who are in school and successfully working hard to maintain good grades. Both of these drivers are viewed as a lower risk than their peers who may not have clean driving records or good report cards.
There are several factors that are taken into consideration when determining insurance rates. The Nissan Leaf offers many advantages, but also a significant amount of disadvantages to an insurer. Over time this car, and electric vehicles as a whole, should become more insurance friendly. If you are considering purchasing a Leaf, get multiple quotes and weigh the benefits and exclusions of each policy carefully.
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