Convertibles are not the most practical ride, but they are just plain fun. Dropping the top and hitting the road is a summertime ritual that is a blast. While convertibles are always fun, they are also come with a high sticker price and are often very costly to insure.
According to Insure.com’s “Average insurance rates for your 2020 car” data, the nationwide average insurance premium for a convertible was $2,475 a year, which is a whopping 30% more than the national average for all vehicles, which comes in at $1,904.
We decided to look at convertibles and identify the top five cheapest and most expensive to insure drop tops. On the cheap side of things, the Mazda Miata starts at a very affordable price of $26,000 while managing to keep insurance costs at $1,459.
Suppose you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget for your convertible. In that case, the Audi R8 5.2L V10 Spyder Quattro comes with a starting sticker price of $182,000 and an average insurance premium of $4,011, topping the most expensive to insure side of the list.
Keep reading to find a ragtop that will make summertime driving tons of fun but won’t break the bank, along with a list of luxury rides that most of us will never be able to afford, but it’s always fun to dream.
Why convertibles cost more to insure
There is nothing like cruising down the highway in a convertible, but it can be an expensive treat when it comes to insurance. Insure.com’s rate analysis data show that convertibles’ insurance costs are 12% more costly than hardtop cars.
Convertibles are almost always more expensive to insure than a hardtop for several different reasons:
- Cost of the car: Droptops tend to be more expensive than hardtops, and the purchase price of a car can significantly impact insurance costs. “The price of the car itself can be major rate factor, as are repair costs,” says Loretta Worters, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.
- Repair costs: Convertibles come with several additional components that can push up the cost of repairs, making them more expensive to insure. For example, a motorized top can add significant expense to a repair, and insurers always factor in repair costs when setting a premium. “Just think of the mechanics used to put down the top, and that gives you an idea of why convertibles are more expensive; plus less droptops are sold so the parts aren’t as cheap or easily accessible,” notes Penny Gusner, senior consumer analyst for Insure.com.
- Weather damage: In addition to repair costs, a soft top increases your risk of weather damage. A tear in the roof or broken seal can result in a car full of water during heavy rain leading to an insurance claim.
- Easier to steal: Insurers also consider theft rates when determining a premium, and convertibles are often easier to steal than a hard top. The soft top is an easy entry point for thieves. “If it’s a soft top, it’s very easy to break in and steal the car,” says Worters. “In fact, convertibles are consistently listed among the most stolen cars in the U.S. and are a constant target for thieves simply because it’s easier to break-in to them.”
- Big engines: Finally, convertibles are often more expensive to insure because they are often high-horsepower sports cars, as the costly side of our list makes clear. Obviously, there are inexpensive convertibles with reasonably sized engines under the hood (the inexpensive side of our list is filled with examples). Still, the truth is, the majority of convertibles fall on the high-end sports car side of the spectrum.
Most affordable convertibles to insure
We pulled quotes on a wide range of convertibles to find which ones were the cheapest to insure. While you’re not going to set any land speed records in these vehicles, they all have a drop-top and are incredibly affordable to insure.
Fortunately, the cost to insure the convertibles on this side of our list is well below the national average. The cheapest convertible to insure on our list com comes in $1,016 less than the national average for convertibles ($2,475), and even the Ford Mustang (number five on the list) comes in $697 below the average.
If you are looking to put a convertible in your garage, you can’t go wrong with one of these:
2020 Mazda Miata
Average annual premium: $1,459
The Miata is an iconic roadster that is fun to drive, loaded with safety features and extremely affordable to insure. While most of the convertibles on our list would not be considered a sports car, that is not true for the Miata.
The Sport is the base model of the Miata lineup and starts around $26,000. While the Miata is often considered a sports car, it’s not too muscly, which can push up insurance rates. The four-cylinder under the hood means it’s not going to set any top speed records anytime soon, but the mild-mannered engine helps keep insurance reasonable.
A wide array of standard safety features also helps keep insurance costs in check. “The Miata is loaded with safety features and has a record of low loss costs paid out to settle claims,” points out Mike Kariotis, owner of Insure on the Spot.
The Miata comes with smart city brake support, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a rearview camera as standard equipment across all trim levels. Insurers love advanced safety features that help prevent accidents and claims and they offer discounts for vehicles equipped with them.
2020 Fiat 124 Spider Classica
Average annual premium: $1,471
The Fiat 124 Spider grabs second place with an annual insurance cost of $1,471. It is probably considered one of the sportiest cars on the list, but the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine only puts out 160 horsepower, making it pretty tame in the world of sports cars.
The Spider also boasts a low starting price. The base model starts at around $25,000. Various safety equipment such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection up the safety factor and keep insurance costs low.
2020 Mini Cooper Convertible
Average annual premium: $1,540
The MINI Cooper convertible is not just cool looking; it is very easy on the pocketbook when it comes to insurance. The Cooper took the third spot on our least expensive to insure list with an annual premium of $1,540. The Classic trim level starts at $27,400
The TwinPower Turbo 1.5-liter inline 3-cylinder engine only puts out 134 horsepower, which insurers like. That, along with standard safety features such as automatic pop-up roll hoops, electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, rearview camera and rear parking sensors make the Cooper very cheap to insure.
“The MINI has rock-bottom theft rates, often making least-stolen car lists which is a big reason the MINI is so affordable to insure,” says Chris Riley, founder of Gearheads.
2020 Chevrolet Camaro 3LT
Average annual premium: $1,769
The Chevrolet Camaro claims the number four spot and brings with it a big jump in insurance costs and horsepower. The Camaro is $310 more to insure than the cheapest car on our list and the 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine put out 275 hp, significantly higher than the first three cars on the list.
The 3LT starts around $39,000, making it dramatically more expensive than some of the other cars on the list and pushing up insurance costs.
2020 Mustang Ecoboost
Average annual premium: $1,778
The Mustang Ecoboost rounds out the top five. This American muscle car classic pushes the horsepower up 310 with a 2.3L EcoBoost engine under the hood. While the price tag is significantly less than the Camaro, it starts at $32,000; it is still much more expensive than the first three convertibles on our list.
Despite their higher starting prices and bigger engines, the Camaro and Mustang are still bargains to insure in the world of convertibles.
Most expensive convertibles to insure
If you like convertibles that come with massive engines and seriously unaffordable price tags, you are in the right place. Most of the vehicles on this side of the list are either high-end sports cars or luxury rides packed to the brim with expensive materials and technology. A high starting price combined with high repair costs will always result in sky-high insurance premiums.
2020 Audi R8 5.2L V10 Spyder Quattro
Average annual premium: $4,011
The Audi R8 is top of the heap when it comes to insurance premiums. It will take a cool four grand a year to insure this beauty and another $182,000 to buy it in the first place. The R8 has a high starting price and a big engine under the hood, making it very unpopular with insurance companies.
The R8 has a V-10 quattro® S tronic® in the engine bay that produces 602 horsepower and will push the R8 up to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. That type of performance will always result in a hefty insurance premium. The leather interior and other luxury appointments make repairs pricey, which also increases insurance costs.
2020 Mercedes AMG GT C
Average annual premium: $4,009
The AMG is another high-end sports car that comes with a hefty price tag and major engine. You will need $150,000 to put this one in the garage and $4,009 a year to insure it. The AMG comes with a Handcrafted 4.0L AMG V8 biturbo engine that puts out 550 horsepower.
The interior is pure luxury with heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control and carbon-fiber interior trim, all of which help drive up insurance costs.
2020 BMW M850i XDrive
Average annual premium: $3,953
This high-performance luxury sedan is full of expensive technology, but it does come with a slightly more affordable price. If you have an extra $112,000 lying around, you can put this sweet ride in your garage.
While more sedan than a true sports car, the M850i sill comes with a hefty engine, the 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V-8, 32-valve produces 523-hp. The interior features 16-way, powered leather heated seats and a remote engine start, rain-sensing wipers and a wireless charging station.
2020 Mercedes S560
Average annual premium: $3,766
The second Mercedes to hit the top five (they managed to put four cars in the top 10) is the S560. This Mercedes is a luxury sedan that starts around $107,000. It comes with a 4.0L V8 biturbo that cranks out a respectable 463 horsepower. The S560 ups the luxury factor, adding a massage feature to the heated leather seats, remote start activated by your phone as well as 64-color/3-zone LED ambient lighting.
2020 BMW 840i XDrive
Average annual premium: $3,679
This is the second vehicle that BMW managed to put in the top five; they had three in the top 10. The 840 is the only vehicle in the top five that worked under $100K; it starts at a mere $88,000.
It’s also the only vehicle in the top five with a six-cylinder under the hood. The 840i comes with a 3.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder powerplant that puts out 335 horsepower. As with the rest of the vehicles on this side of the list, it’s loaded with luxury features that include a premium Harman Kardon® surround sound audio system with 16 speakers, remote start and an automatic 4 zone climate control system.
As with all of the vehicles on this side of our list, all of this luxury combined with a high purchase price and a big engine translates into a ton of risk for insurers, which leads to a big insurance premium.
Tips for insuring your new convertible
Regardless of whether your convertible falls on the cheap or expensive to insure side of our list, there are a few things you can do to help lower your premium:
Compare car insurance quotes
It’s always a good idea to shop for coverage whenever you purchase a new vehicle. “You want your car budget to include any car payment and your insurance cost to make sure you can afford the car,” says Gusner. “Otherwise you may be in for a terrible surprise when purchasing your dream droptop if you find out the insurance is much more than what you were expecting – and now you need to reconsider the purchase.”
Insurers rate risk differently, which can result in dramatic differences in premium quotes, so it really pays to shop around. Shop at least five different insurance companies and make sure you compare apples to apples when it comes to coverage levels and deductibles.
Bundling and discounts
Always ask your insurer about discounts. Insurers offer dozens of deals and getting all the discounts you qualify for can help lower your insurance costs. Common discounts include:
- Bundling: Bundling your auto and home policies with the same insurer will always result in a pretty significant discount.
- Claim free: If you haven’t filed a claim on your policy in several years, you should get a discount.
- Good student: If you have a teen on your policy or are in college and maintain at least a “B” average, most insurers will offer a break on your premium.
- Low mileage: A convertible is unlikely to be your daily commuter car. For that reason, you should see if you qualify for a low-mileage discount. Also, see if there is a separate classification that can bring down your rates, such as a “pleasure” car. Typically, this means to insurers you drive it less and keep it garaged so the base rates are less than that of a commuter vehicle.
There are also discounts for new customers, multiple cars on a policy and mature drivers, just to name a few. Contact your agent and ask them to do a discount review to ensure all available discounts are applied to your policy.
(All vehicle images courtesy of their respective manufacturers. All other images: Getty Images.)