And for the insurance.
It should come as no surprise that the more expensive the car, the more it will cost to insure it. But just how expensive may come as a shock. For modest coverage ($500 deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage, $100,000 each for personal and property coverage and $25,000 each for medical and uninsured coverage) on this year's $135,400 Mercedes SL, owners will pay about $22,536 a year.
For pricey cars like this, 20% of the base price is typical. But for those with low monthly payments on high-end cars, that could mean spending more on insurance than on the car itself.
"The cost of the vehicle is primary when setting the price of a policy," says David Wurster, president of Vincentric, a Detroit-based automotive data firm that studies car- insurance costs. Vincentric gets its data from state agencies and averages these figures in compiling its list of most expensive yearly rates. "But there's also the type of vehicle it is. Sports-car owners tend to drive them a little more aggressively."
This, in turn, leads to higher-priced policies. With this in mind, it's no surprise that racy offerings from Mercedes, BMW and Porsche make for some of the most expensive cars to insure.
How It Works
"We start with the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP)," says Kip Diggs, a spokesman for State Farm, the largest insurer of autos in the U.S. Diggs says State Farm then considers how expensive it is to repair each model. The more costly the parts, the higher the policy. For foreign brands with parts from afar, expect to pay more. "From there," Diggs says, "we look at safety features to see if a vehicle qualifies for a safety discount."
Allstate, the second-largest U.S. car insurer, also considers the MSRP, but places more weight on a policyholder's driving record.
"Pricing has more to do with the driver than the car," says spokesman Raleigh Floyd. "If there are two drivers with the same car, the driver with accident histories will have a higher rate. He has shown himself to be a higher risk." Those with a penchant for wrecking Ferrari Enzos on California's Highway 1, for example, can expect to pay more.
Age is also a factor. "A 17-year-old driver is going to be more expensive to insure than a 40-year-old with a family," says Floyd. "Experience counts. It counts a lot."
There are some anomalies in the ranking.
"You would think a Corvette convertible would be hideously expensive to insure," says State Farm's Diggs. "But that car is involved in very few accidents, so it's fairly low." This is because research shows Corvettes typically aren't driven every day.
More utilitarian models, like the Toyota Camry, however, can be more expensive to insure because with more road time, they are more likely to be involved in an accident. Vincentric doesn't collect data on exotics like Ferraris and Lamborghinis because, says Wurster, there are too few owners to make the data useful.
Policy pricing also has to do with where a car is garaged, with urban areas considered higher-risk. "In a more concentrated area, your chances of bumping into something are higher," says Floyd. "Jersey's going to be on one end of the spectrum, and a less populous state is going to be on the exact opposite."
But if you have a hundred grand to spend on a car, you're probably not worrying about insurance.
"For people of that caliber," says a salesman at Mercedes Benz Manhattan, "the cost of insurance really isn't an issue."
Copyrighted, Forbes.com. All rights reserved.-David Gelles