Convertibles aren’t exactly the most practical way to get around in Canada, given the long-lasting, harsh winters. But there’s no denying they're stylish, versatile, and fun to drive. There’s nothing quite like feeling a cool summer breeze blowing through your hair as you cruise down an open road with the top down.
However, before you purchase a shiny, fancy convertible, it’s wise to get acquainted with the insurance implications. Perhaps you’ve heard that open-top cars cost more to insure than regular cars, given their steeper price tags, safety concerns, and other factors. But is there any truth to this claim, or is it just another car insurance myth?
Do convertibles and other open-top vehicles cost more to insure?
According to an emailed statement from an Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) spokesperson, “When it comes to the insurance cost associated with a vehicle, a convertible doesn’t necessarily cost more to insure when compared to a regular vehicle.”
“Liability premiums are typically the same for both a convertible and non-convertible. However, premiums for optional damage coverage (e.g., collision coverage) could differ.”
The amount you can expect to pay for car insurance for a convertible will depend mainly on the level of coverage you require. So, while liability coverage for convertibles is comparable to standard vehicles, additional coverage for repair and replacement costs can be more expensive, which can bump up your premium.
Why convertibles cost more to insure
Two types of optional coverage can make insuring an open-top vehicle more expensive than its hard-top counterpart: collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. The former reimburses you for damage if your vehicle collides with another car or stationary object. The latter covers damage from all other incidents, such as a falling tree branch, natural disaster, or vandalism.
Here's how these two types of discretionary coverage can result in you paying more to insure your convertible.
Higher replacement and repair cost
“One factor influencing premiums is the vehicle’s overall replacement cost and its cost to repair,” says the IBC. “Some convertibles will cost more when purchased new and may also cost more to repair. Therefore, premiums could be different for a convertible than a non-convertible of the same make, model, and year.
Depending on the type of vehicle you own, it may cost your insurance provider a hefty amount to replace it should it sustain severe damage. Not surprisingly, they’ll offset this risk by charging you a higher premium.
Convertibles may require more extensive repairs than a regular car. The unique mechanical and electrical parts that facilitate the operation of the retractable top can significantly increase the expense of getting the vehicle road-ready again. In addition, the various components that make up the retractable roof are more difficult to source, given that convertibles are not as common as vehicles with a roof.
Greater vulnerability to weather damage
Open-top vehicles are more prone to harm from the elements. All it takes is a single tear in the roof — or someone forgetting that they left it open — for water to begin pouring in during a rainstorm, causing damage to the interior.
Increased risk of theft and vandalism
Convertibles are an enticing target for thieves and vandals, as it’s easier to break into them. This risk is primarily associated with soft top convertibles as their plastic rear windows can be slashed with a knife without effort.
What to consider from an insurance perspective before purchasing a convertible
If you’re keen on purchasing a convertible, ensure you understand the impact on your car insurance. While your liability coverage premium will likely not increase, any collision and comprehensive coverage you add to your policy may result in a steeper premium. However, since convertibles can cost a bundle to repair, including collision and comprehensive coverage is a wise move.
Luckily, not all convertibles cost a small fortune to insure, so set a budget you're comfortable with and shop sensibly. Don’t purchase a luxurious sports car with the latest technology and a V8 engine if you anticipate struggling with the insurance payments. Consider brands like Mazda, Fiat, and Chevrolet instead of BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.
Furthermore, you may save on insurance costs if you opt for a hard top convertible over a soft top one. The latter offers better security against thieves and is less prone to damage. Also, consider driving your convertible during the summer only and insure it as a seasonal vehicle. By parking it in your garage most of the year, you may be able to remove the liability and collision coverage from your policy, resulting in a more affordable premium.
Whatever tactics you employ to keep your premium low, one should always be to shop around and compare car insurance rates from multiple providers to secure the best deal. That way, you can enjoy cruising down the highway in your new convertible without breaking the bank.
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