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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.
Posted: June 5, 2012 - 2:18PM
Author: Don Bain

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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.

You can also reduce your annual mileage, which might be a good idea as some states are considering replacing the gas tax with one based on how many miles you drive. So drive a little less while enjoying it a lot more in your new BMW.

Save the money you gain on gas and insurance until you have enough for that new M5 – but be ready to pay a little more than the Mercedes owner for the insurance.

On the other hand, why would that bother you? When driving a new BMW M5, why would anything other than a congested roadway disturb your blissful rapport? That’s something we simply cannot imagine.

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