Auto insurance rates are largely determined by the make, model, model year, body style and trim level of the car.
A car’s make refers to the brand of the vehicle, and the model refers to the name of a car product and most times the range of products. Howbeit, these two terms are most times used interchangeably or separately as the case may be.
What is the difference between cars of the same model?
Body style and trim level may vary significantly in cars of the same model. Thus just knowing the car model may not suffice for identifying a car when,
- You are shopping for auto insurance
- When registering a car
- When buying or selling a car.
Some car manufacturers might make a certain car model with several different body style options. Examples include Coupe, Sedan, Hatchback, Convertible, Wagon, and SUV.
The body style most times describes the vehicle’s general shape, the number of doors it has as well as the mechanical setup, like the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Thus, body style can be the most important distinction for a vehicle because it has such a major impact on what a car is best suited for.
Car manufacturers most times offer several trim-level options for a given model. These trim levels relate to the equipment and the styling on a particular vehicle.
Common trim levels
- Standard: no upgrades
- Sport: Upgraded engine performance and handling
- Luxury: Upgraded interior and smoother suspension.
Some vehicles have alphanumeric naming conventions, which makes it difficult to determine the difference between the model name and trim level of a vehicle. Vehicles that fall in these categories include BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus. What this means, is that you must decode the name of a vehicle to find the model name and trim package.
The model of a car is one of the main ways to can differentiate cars of the same make and model. Howbeit, a vehicle’s model year may not necessarily be the same as the year it was manufactured.
Differences between car make of the same manufacturer
Manufacturers can have several distinct makes or brands of cars which they produce.
Note also that car companies sometimes have different brands because they have bought or merged with other auto manufacturers. Manufacturers may also create separate brands to target different markets. This goes to say, that when you are asked the make of your car, you should provide the car’s brand name.
How to locate your car’s make and model
If you can’t find your vehicle’s make or model by inspecting the exterior of the car, you can locate it, printed on the vehicle registration certificate or in your owner’s manual. A car’s make, model and trim package are often indicated by badges, emblems or decals situated on the rear exterior of the vehicle.
You can also find it using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to find information about your cars such as equipment specifications, model year and even the factory where it was manufactured. (Your Vin, is on the driver’s side dashboard).
VIN has been 17 digits long since the model year 1981.
The VIN tracking tool can also be used to look up information about your vehicle.
When your car make and model matters
- When you are planning to sell your car or purchase a new one, the model will largely influence the value of your car, thus you should know it.
- Insurers will also consider how often drivers with your vehicle’s model and body style file liability insurance claims when setting premiums.
- Insurers will check how safe your car is for you and your passengers. Note that, additional safety features will usually lower insurance premiums.
- The more claims filed for a specific car, the riskier it becomes in your insurer’s eyes.