Are Fast Cars More Expensive to Insure?

Even just a decade ago, cars weren’t nearly as fast as they are today. In fact, 300 horsepower was expected only from V-8 engines, writes Forbes. But because of “direct fuel injection, turbocharging and other advances in engine technology and design, power and speed can be bought in a range of body styles, vehicle sizes and powertrain configurations.”

Speed – as measured by quickness of acceleration and pure engine power, and not top speed, which only matters on race tracks – is now more accessible than ever, and as Tesla just proved, we might see faster and faster cars on the road as more cars move to electric power. Tesla’s Model S is now the third fastest car in the world, writes The Verge (behind just the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder — both million-dollar hypercars). Upgrades to the battery allow the Model S to go from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, making us wonder:

Do fast cars cost more to insure?

bmw fast cars
2017 BMW M5

We looked at cars people might actually drive (we’ll save concept cars and supercars for another list, another day) and calculated insurance premiums based on a standard profile: a 30-year old single man living in Austin, Texas (ZIP: 78702) who rents his home, owns his car, has good driving history, a good credit score, and has had consistent insurance coverage for a basic level of insurance with a national carrier.

Keep in mind, the time it takes for a car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph can vary widely based on each driver’s skill, so results may vary. In no particular order (because their specs and model years differ), 10 of the fastest cars on the road, and their stats:

1. 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1SS

  • MSRP: $37,900
  • Engine Details: 6.2-liter V8, 455 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 4.0 seconds
  • Average Yearly Insurance Premium for a Chevy Camaro: $1,620

2. 2016 Jaguar XJR

  • MSRP: $118,000
  • Engine Details: 5.0 Liter V8 550 HP Supercharged
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 4.4 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $2,148

3. 2017 Cadillac CTS-V

  • MSRP: $85,595
  • Engine Details: 6.2-liter V, 640 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60, 3.7 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $2,112

4. 2016 BMW M5

  • MSRP: $94,100
  • Engine Details: 4.4-liter V8 TwinPower Turbo, 560 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 4.2 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $2,112

5. 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

  • MSRP: $67,645
  • Engine Details: 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8, 707 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 3.7 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,512

6. 2017 Audi RS 7

  • Engine Details: 4.0-liter V8 with two turbochargers, 560 horsepower
  • MSRP: $110,700
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 3.7 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $2,268

7. 2017 Volkswagen Golf R

  • MSRP: $39,375
  • Engine Details: 4-cylinder turbo, 292 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 4.5 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,560

8. 2017 Ford Mustang GT Fastback

  • MSRP: $32,920
  • Engine Details: 5.0-liter V8, 435 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in the mid-4 second range
  • Average Insurance: $1,512

9. 2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

  • MSRP: $39,995
  • Engine Details: 6.4-liter V8, 485 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in the low-4 second range
  • Average Insurance: $1,608

10. 2017 Volvo S60 Polestar

  • MSRP: $60,000
  • Engine Details: 3.0-liter Turbocharged inline 6-cylinder  345 horsepower
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 4.7 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,428
chevy camaro fast cars
2017 Chevy Camaro

What Do Average Cars Cost to Insure?

Compare rates for fast cars with insurance rates for the five most popular sedans, based on The Zebra’s own State of Auto Insurance Report, for the same insurance customer profile:

1. Chevrolet Cruze

  • MSRP: $16,975
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 7.6 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,056

2. Honda Accord

  • MSRP: $22,355
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 6.1 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,176

3. Hyundai Elantra

  • MSRP: $17,150
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 8 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,344

4. Nissan Altima

  • MSRP: $22,500
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 7.7 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,260

5. Toyota Camry

  • MSRP: $23,070
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 8 seconds
  • Average Insurance: $1,236

Findings: Do Fast Cars Cost More to Insure?

Our assessment: we can’t say for sure whether or not all cars with more powerful engines that can accelerate faster always cost more to insure than their slower counterparts, but all of the faster cars above come with more expensive insurance premiums than all of the slower cars we looked at.

Another potential insurance price factor: all of the faster cars also cost more (in some cases, a lot more) than all of the slower cars. We know that price has something – though not everything – to do with insurance pricing (which is still somewhat of a mystery, even to us).

As we’ve seen, equating insurance rates with one definable feature is tough: insurance rates weren’t strictly correlated with safety rating, either. But while we might not be able to say, with absolute certainty, that faster cars will mean more on your monthly premium, we do have proof that using that speed illegally is practically guaranteed to cost you.

Plus: What Happens to Your Insurance Rates When You Speed?

If you drive a certifiably fast car, always remember to follow the rules of the road, not only because it’s safer for you and everyone driving near you, but because beyond any traffic citations you might receive for speeding, speeding also has some pretty detrimental effects on insurance rates.

In 2016, if you were convicted of speeding, your insurance rates went up by the following percentages (national U.S. averages from The Zebra’s State of Auto Insurance Report):

  • Speeding in a School Zone: 18%
  • Speeding 6-10 MPH over the limit: 17%
  • Speeding 11-15 MPH over the limit: 18%
  • Speeding 16-20 MPH over the limit: 19%
  • Speeding 21-25 MPH over the limit: 20%
  • Speeding In 65 MPH Zone: 23%

That means, if we’re looking at the national average premium of $1,323, a single speeding ticket could raise your rates $225 to $304. (And that continues for three years after the violation occurs.)

Fast cars with great handling make for excellent driving – but stay safe (and under the speed limit!) – or you could pay in more ways than one.