Automobile.com, which is a center for auto insurance-related information and quotes, has done research on insurance costs that should be considered before buying a used minivan or SUV. Some obvious choices may be less expensive.
Take for example, the minivans vs. sport utility vehicles. Logic might dictate that minivans would be less to insure because more men prefer SUVs and minivans, as family carriers, are usually driven more safely and by more women.
Well, according to Automobile.com that assumption would be wrong. Its findings, reported Oct. 26, 2012, show that "On average … SUVs were slightly cheaper to insure at an annual cost of $825.25 compared to $842.53 for the minivan models." For the purpose of the study, Automobile.com compared the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox SUVs to the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey and Dodge Caravan minivans.
According to the Automobile.com study the Honda CR-V was the cheapest SUV to insure annually at an average of $797.66, followed by the Chevrolet Equinox at $835.63 and Ford Escape at $851.55. Comparatively, the Chrysler Town & Country was the cheapest minivan to insure at an annual average of $778.91. The Dodge Caravan followed closely at $832.53 and the Honda Odyssey rounded out the group at an average cost of $940.63 each year.
As the study shows, the disparity between SUVs isn't that great at less than $60 a year but the significance could be substantial within the minivan segment at more than $160 a year. Over six years that's almost $1000.
That thousand dollars is going to help you offset the higher initial cost of the Chrysler Town and Country, which has an Edmunds.com value of $19,258 vs. the comparably equipped Honda Odyssey's dealer value of $16,882. The difference of $2376 is suddenly whittled down to $1376 when the insurance savings are factored in over the course of five years. Ultimately, you end up paying about an extra $24 a month for the Town and Country, which is a little bit more luxurious of a minivan.
By the way, here's some good advice that I agree with from Automobile.com. It recommends "drivers looking to save money on car insurance should compare the specifications of SUVs and minivans and compromise over performance characteristics. Choosing a less powerful engine while opting for upgraded safety features can help bring down the cost to insure. Additionally, using an unbiased insurance cost comparison tool will allow consumers to compare policy rates side-by-side before purchasing coverage."
It's my sense that the minivan market is going to start to heat up in the used car segment. As HuffingtonPost.com reported in May, "While sales of the boxy vehicles (sometimes called "mom-mobiles") have spiked 10.6 percent so far this year, according to AutoData, that's only because car sales in general are rising (by 10.3 percent year to date). But minivans sit on dealer lots eight days more than other kinds of cars, the latest 2012 data from J.D. Power show."
That last bit of information is going to be useful in negotiating the price of your next minivan. They may be increasing in popularity but that doesn't mean they are selling any faster. It's expensive to keep used or new vehicles sitting on the dealership lot.
You can used a vehicle history report to estimate how long a vehicle has been sitting on a dealership lot. What you want to look for is when the previous owner transferred title. If it's been more than two months, you're in a position to negotiate on the vehicle.
This is only an estimation but odds are the vehicle is costing the dealer about .5% a month to keep on the showroom floor (or dealership lot). After two months, that's only about $100 on a $20,000 vehicle, which doesn't sound like much. However, the dealer might be faced with having to drop the price more and still pay the floor plan financing.
Faced with the prospect of dropping the price and still having to pay financing costs, the smart dealer is going to be willing to drop the price on a used minivan. Heck, even if you save only $250, it's still money in your pocket and that much less that has to be financed.
By the way, also keep in mind the used minivan safety rating before your purchase. Some are better than others (and keep in mind less obvious choices like the Kia Sedona).