Gen Y's Favorite Cars, Insured

It's probably no surprise that young people prefer sporty compact cars.

J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network this week released a list of new-car models with the highest percentage of Gen Y (ages 16-35) owners.  Volkswagens and Acuras dominate the list.

Yet there is one big surprise: The most powerful car in the lineup is the cheapest to insure, which may matter a little more to this expensive-to-insure demographic. (See “ The cheapest age for car insurance.”)

We created a typical Gen Y buyer -- a 24-year-old male -- and dropped him in a hipster hot spot: Seattle. We gave him a clean driving record and chose a leased, sporty or high-tech variant of each of the models on the list.  Using the cheapest rate we found in our comparison-shopping engine, annual premiums for the top 10 Gen Y favorites ranged from $2,039 a year for the 370-horsepower Dodge Charger R/T to $3,236 for the 237-horsepower Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.

Here's how Generation Y's top 10 stacked up:

Model, Gen Y % and annual premium
  • Acura ILX 2.4 Premium: 40.2%  $3,016
  • Acura TSX Tech 34.3%  $2,516
  • Dodge Charger R/T: 34.7%  $2,039
  • Mazda 3 S: 40.2%  $2,480
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart: 48.6%  $3,236
  • Scion tC: 50.2%  $2,571
  • Subaru Impreza Sport Premium: 37.4%  $2,596
  • Volkswagen Golf TDI: 34.7%  $2,367
  • Volkswagen GTI: 44.5%  $2,727
  • Volkswagen Jetta GLI: 35.2% $2,503

For context, we also put the same driver into the most boring car we could find and into one of the most exciting.  Our hipster would pay $2,126 a year to insure a 178-horsepower 2013 Toyota Camry SE -- and $2,854 to insure a 505-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

 “There's no getting around your age,” says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for CarInsurance.com.

“You're paying more for the added statistical likelihood that you will crash a car. You're paying more for the fun urban neighborhood you live in. But you're also paying more because cars driven mainly by younger people tend to have more claims. Insurers notice.” (See “ How a car gets a bad reputation.”)

Methodology: CarInsurance.com compared quotes for a 24-year-old male driver, no accidents or violations, driving 12,000 miles a year with a 10-mile one-way commute to work. He has good credit, is single, is a college graduate and is buying $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage (up to $300,000 per accident) and $50,000 in property damage liability coverage. He carries a $500 deductible on comprehensive and collision and has purchased uninsured motorist coverage. He also has bought $10,000 in personal injury protection.

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