The 2012 BMW 328i. Photo by Don Bain

Why BMW drivers pay 25 percent more for insurance than Mercedes owners

Mercedes car insurance is 25 percent cheaper than what BMW drivers pay, but there’s a way BMW drivers can lower auto insurance premiums.

The insurance rate any driver pays is based on a complex formula factoring in things like age, record, make, model, residence, location and so on.

Mercedes and BMW are both fine European luxury sedans, topping the luxury automotive market perennially. They trade the number one and two slots from time to time, and have so far managed to edge out the Lexus line.

So why do Mercedes owners get a break on their insurance, all things being equal. There’s the rub – the BMW tends to cost a bit more.

If you compare the BMW 3-series with the roughly equivalent Mercedes C-class, both have similar IIHS safety ratings and presumably the buyers’ demographics such as age and income are somewhat similar. So why will the BMW driver pay up to $860 more a year to insure their sedan or coupe?

If you do a little pricing online you’ll discover the disparity seems to follow the price paid for the vehicle, as the BMW 3-series tends to cost 26 percent more than the Mercedes C-class (source survey).

So what can the driver who simply must have the ultimate driving machine do? First pick a model with the highest safety rating that still suits your tastes. Then consider downsizing the engine just a little.

The new stop-start, turbocharged four-cylinder BMW 328i actually performs much like the V6 model, but gets better gas mileage and leaves the insurers thinking your right foot has considerably less lead content.


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FYI, the higher trim level in the BMW 3 series is an inline 6, not a V6.