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Gen Y's favorite cars, insured

Des Toups

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CarInsurance.com

Scion TC and Scion FRSIt’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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