Car insurance for your Smart car

Smart cars are appealing for their low sticker price and compact size, but how much does insurance cost for a Smart car? Just because your Smart car is tiny doesn’t mean you don’t need robust car insurance to protect it.

Anna Swartz 1600

Anna Swartz

Published December 27, 2019

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Smart cars, a type of microcars popular in some big cities, need car insurance just like any other vehicle

  • Buying car insurance for a Smart car is just like buying standard car insurance, but the car's low purchase price may affect how much coverage you want

  • It's difficult to predict how much car insurance costs for a Smart car because so many other factors matter, but it may be slightly cheaper than getting insurance for a larger car

While the Smart car brand officially announced in early 2019 that it would no longer sell its signature tiny compact cars in the United States and Canada, there are still plenty of Smart cars on the road. The Smart Fortwo, Smart’s two-seater microcar, is especially well-suited to driving in congested cities like New York City or San Francisco, where street parking is a precious resource and city-dwellers only need their wheels for quick day trips and errands, not long-haul driving.

Drivers who are interested in buying a Smart car can still find plenty of pre-owned Smart Fortwo models for sale, both the electric version and the older, gas-powered ones. And Smart cars often sell for under $10,000 — the low purchase price is one of the appeals of the Smart car in the first place. But how much is car insurance for a Smart car, and does it’s uniquely small size make it easier or harder to insure?

Buying car insurance for a Smart car is similar to purchasing insurance for any other compact car, you’ll want to consider what types of protection you need and how high to set your coverage limits. Read on to learn more about how much insurance you need for a Smart car.

In this article:

How much does insurance cost for a Smart car?

As with any make and model of car, the cost of your car insurance premiums is determined by a number of personal factors that your insurer uses to calculate how likely you’ll be to file a claim. Those factors include:

  • How much coverage you need
  • How high or low you set your deductible
  • Your age, address and ZIP code
  • Your driving record, including any past accidents or violations
  • Your driving habits, including how frequently you drive and how many miles per year you average
  • Your credit history

The make and model of car you drive is just one of many factors that go into determining how much you’ll pay for car insurance. For that reason, a Smart car isn’t predictably more or less expensive to insurance than any other type of car.

That said, we can still look at a sample policy. Our sample driver is a single, 30-year-old woman in Minneapolis, Minnesota who drives a 2015 Smart Fortwo. A major insurer quoted her $408 for a six-month, full coverage policy. That was slightly less than a sample quote for a driver with the exact same details but a 2014 Toyota Camry instead of a Smart Fortwo, who was quoted $578 for a six-month policy with the same coverage.

Car insurance for Smart cars

Car insurance for a Smart car isn’t functionally different than car insurance for any other type of car, it’s just a matter of considering which types of coverage you need, and how high to set the limits of your coverage.

Whether you’re buying car insurance for your Smart Fortwo or for any other vehicle, it’s important to remember that a car insurance policy is actually made up of several components of coverage, which all offer different types of protection. Here’s a quick overview of the different components of car insurance coverage:

Coverage TypeWhat It Does
Bodily injury liabilityThe part of your liability coverage that pays for medical bills if you've injured someone in an accident
Property damage liabilityThe other part of liability coverage, covers the cost of property damage you've caused in an accident
Personal injury protectionCovers medical expenses for you or your passengers after an accident
Uninsured/underinsured motoristCovers the costs if you're in an accident caused by a driver with little or no car insurance
ComprehensiveCovers damage to your car that happens when you're not driving
CollisionCovers damage to your car after a car accident, no matter who was at fault

These are the components of car insurance that go into what’s usually called a full coverage car insurance policy.

There are also other types of coverage you might want to consider including in your policy, like roadside assistance, which covers the types of car emergencies that leave you stranded on the side of the road, or gap insurance, which pays off the rest of your lease or loan if your car is totaled and you’re still on the hook for payments.

How much car insurance do I need for a Smart car?

Car insurance protects you from the financial liability if you’re in an at-fault accident, and it can also cover damage to your own vehicle from a collision or another outside force, like extreme weather, vandalism or theft.

At least a minimum amount of car insurance is required in almost every state, but most drivers need more than the state-required minimums in order to be adequately protected.

When you purchase car insurance, you don’t just need to choose the types of coverage you want, you also need to choose your coverage limits and deductibles. Liability coverage, for example, only covers you up to the coverage limits you set when you purchase the policy.

Say you’re in a car accident in your Smart car that causes $30,000 worth of damage, and you’re determined to be the at-fault driver. If you only have $20,000 worth of property damage liability coverage, you’d be on the hook for the remaining $10,000. That’s why it’s smart to set your liability coverage limits relatively high, although higher coverage limits can lead to a higher premium.

Other components of car insurance require you to set a deductible rather than choose coverage limits. Both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage pay for damage to your own vehicle, either from a car accident or another incident, like extreme weather, falling objects or theft.

Typically, both comp and collision will require a deductible, often $500 or $1,000 per claim. The higher you set your deductible, the lower your insurance premiums will be — but don’t set your deductible too high, because you may have to actually pay it someday.

Do I need comprehensive and collision coverage for a Smart car?

If you lease your Smart car, or you financed it with a car loan, your lessor or lienholder may require you to include comprehensive and collision coverage in your car insurance. If not, you can consider whether or not they’re worth including in your policy.

Since Smart cars have a relatively low purchase price to begin with, they don’t represent as large as an investment as a larger, pricier car. If your Smart car isn’t your primary car, or if you aren’t concerned about replacing your Smart car if it’s totaled in a car accident, you can consider dropping comp and collision coverage and saving some money on your insurance premiums.

However, if your Smart Fortwo is your daily driver, or if it’s relatively new, it would be wise to invest in comp and collision coverage to protect your Smart car in case it’s damaged or stolen.

Car insurance discounts for Smart cars

Car insurance discounts are a good way to save on your insurance premiums. The same discounts frequently apply to Smart cars as traditional cars, such as safe driver discounts or discounts for bundling your auto and home insurance with the same insurer.

If your Smart Fortwo is electric, you could potentially earn a discount for going green. Common car insurance discounts include:

  • Safe driver discounts for going multiple years without an accident
  • Discounts for paying your annual premium in full rather than monthly
  • Driver’s education discounts for completing a defensive driving course
  • Good student discount for maintaining above a certain GPA

Bear in mind that Smart cars are a relatively new type of car. Auto insurance companies likely don’t have as much information, compared to more traditional cars, about how Smarts fare in crashes or how often they’re stolen.

That makes it difficult to predict what your Smart car will cost to insure. The only way to find out how much your Smart car insurance premiums will be is to get quotes from different insurers and compare coverage costs.

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Car insurance costs by type of car

While it’s difficult to predict what any given driver will pay for car insurance for their Smart car, not all cars are equally expensive to insure. Car insurance costs car differ by type of vehicle.

AAA’s 2018 Your Driving Costs study examined the ownership costs associated with different types of cars. The study found that the cheapest vehicle to insure was a small SUV, at an annual cost of $1,074, and the most expensive to insure was a small sedan, with an annual cost of $1,315.

Type of carAnnual cost of car insurance
Small SUV$1,074
Medium SUV$1,102
Minivan$1,114
Hybrid$1,200
Large sedan$1,209
Electric$1,215
Medium sedan$1,232
Pickup$1,242
Small sedan$1,315
Insurance Expert

Anna Swartz

Insurance Expert

Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius in New York City, and an expert in auto insurance. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic, writing about news and culture. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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