Insuring Your Convertible: Considering the Costs Before You Buy

2004 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage

Ah, the convertible -- its cool, its fun, and it turns even the most routine excursions into an adventure. While most people would jump at the chance to own one, the costs associated with owning a convertible are just too steep for a sizable portion of the population. For starters, convertibles just cost more to buy. The technology and components involved in incorporating a convertible top into most vehicles will cost more than the technology and components needed to create a traditional hard top. This will place the sticker price for a convertible version of any given model at, at least, several thousand dollars above the hardtop version. Just think, a convertible Audi costs up to $3,000 more than a coupe and a high-end vehicle like a convertible Corvette will cost $7,000 or more than a hardtop Corvette. In addition, convertibles are more likely to find their way into a luxury, high-performance, or sports car line than any other.

Once buyers make it past the purchase price, there are still a number of expenses associated with owning a convertible that are not associated with most other cars. If you think safety issues drive up the cost of convertible ownership, think again! Convertible or soft tops are actually just as safe as hardtops. Manufactures understand the dangers of driving a vehicle that exposes the interior and exterior to the elements and environment. Manufacturers incorporate a number of reinforcements and sophisticated safety features to compensate for this.

One of the biggest concerns associated with owning a convertible is theft. Convertibles are consistently listed among the most stolen cars in the U.S., and are a constant target for thieves simply because they are easier to break into. In addition, convertibles are more likely to sustain damage from the elements, vandalism, or accidents simply because they are exposed and accessible more often than hard tops. So how does this relate to auto insurance? The value of the vehicle and the above average likelihood of theft or damage makes it a huge risk for auto insurance companies. Add the fact that many convertibles are sports, high-performance, or luxury cars and the insurance rates increase even more.

For example, a 2010 Volvo C70 convertible costs an average of $8,083 to insure over a 5-year period, and a total of $46,687 to own overall (depreciation, financing, state fees, fuel, maintenance, repairs), while a 2010 Volvo C30 costs $5,660 to insure over a 5-year period, and $34,387 to own overall. That's a difference of $2,423/$12,300 respectively. Sadly, many traditional auto insurance companies wont even bother to give a quote when a convertible is involved due to the risk and the costs.

When purchasing auto insurance for your convertible, speak with a specialist insurance agent or broker about which options offer the best protection. An experienced agent or broker will start by seeking specialty auto insurance providers for the best products. Next, he will recommend purchasing higher amounts than your states minimum requirements. Next, he will recommend both collision and comprehensive coverage. Once you have selected the best convertible auto insurance for your investment, your broker or agent might offer several discount options. Discounts for added safety features, low-mileage drivers, a safe or defensive driver certificate, or an excellent driving record are all possible.

Tip: While the national average insurance premium rate for convertibles may be less than $200 a month, it is important to remember that averages are rarely enough to protect you and your vehicle in the unfortunate event of an accident. 

Michelle Burton is a published author and contributing editor for Auto Insurance Tips, Trouvé Media, Internet Brands, and Publications International, Ltd.


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