First of all, congratulations on getting your first car! This is a big step toward adulthood and a really exciting time for you. Regarding your question, I did a little bit of research online and discovered that in 2004, the ten least expensive cars to insure were the:
- Chrysler PT Cruiser
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Saturn L300
- Saab 9-5
- Volvo V40
- Subaru Legacy
- Pontiac Sunfire
- Ford Focus
- Oldsmobile Alero
- Jaguar X-Type
I'm sure this list is comparing the ratio of a car's sticker price (as new) against the car's average insurance rates, so don't get too excited. If you've got your mind set on driving a brand new Jag, you're still going to pay a pretty penny.
Let's go out on a limb and assume that driving a Subaru Legacy or Oldsmobile Alero will make you feel like you borrowed your mom's car for the day. Jettas seem to be all the rage right now, but their reliability records are only so-so, and a Jetta might still feel a little bit too mature for your taste. I bet you'd be happy with a Saturn, a Sunfire, or a Ford Focus.
Even though they're not on this list, Honda and Toyota both have excellent safety records and last for years and years with proper care. Find a good used car from these makers and you'll be good to go. The flagship Subaru is the WRX, generally cheaper, with a turbocharged engine and a body that's pretty "cool." Also, the Hyundai Tiburon is a safe, stylish, fun car with a great reputation. The Mini Cooper isn't a bad choice, either.
Whichever car you pick, a safer and lower-priced used car will be cheaper to insure than almost any new car. Used cars are also less likely to be stolen.
Which cars are the absolute coolest? That depends on a lot of things, most importantly on you. You could put a real jerk behind the wheel of a Ferrari and that won't make him cool — he's still going to be a jerk. Conversely, you could find a reliable, safe, 15-year-old station wagon and make it the coolest car in the student parking lot if you give it some personality and make it your own. Being cool is about a whole lot more than what you drive; it's about embracing what you have and who you are, and being respectful of others when you're behind the wheel and everywhere.
Want a few more tips for keeping your insurance premiums low?
- Be a good student. If you have a B average in school, many insurers will offer you a discount of 5 percent to 10 percent
- Take a driver's education course that's approved by your insurer.
- Find and complete a safe driver program, which may cut another 5 percent from the additional premium.
- Comparison shop. Just because your dad was in the same fraternity as your family's insurance agent doesn't mean he's giving you the best deal.
- Drive safely. Traffic violations and accidents will cause your premiums can jump by several hundred percent.
And lastly, I don't want to scare you, but here's a somber point to ponder: According to statistics kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers under 25 are four times as likely as older drivers to die in a car accident. Enjoy the open road, the wind in your hair, and all the freedom that comes with having a car of your own. But always be careful.