If you were asked to picture a sports car in your head, you would probably have no trouble doing so. We may think we know what they are, but there are specific criteria to consider. For example, what is considered a sports car for insurance purposes?
For insurance purposes, a sports car is generally considered to have:
- A small body
- A large engine
- Usually 4 or more cylinders (typically a V8)
- A high power-to-weight ratio
Each of these factors alone don’t always constitute a sports car, and so we first need to go through each one to find out why and how they work together to make what insurers would deem a sports car, and how this kind of insurance differs from normal car insurance.
The 4 Sports Car Criteria For Insurance Purposes
1. A Small Body
The Shape & Size
Perhaps the main thing that most people would associate with a sports car is the body shape and size. The car will usually be much smaller than your average road car, both laterally and longitudinally. They will usually be quite low to the ground as well, and this gives the car a lower center of gravity which helps in terms of performance.
Two Seats & Two Doors
Sports cars also tend to have two seats, which means there is only room for one passenger. They will usually have less of a trunk as well, as they are made to be driven, rather than to carry things, also known as being single-purpose cars. They will also often only have two doors, omitting the trunk altogether in many cases, which saves weight and thus aids performance once again.
Finally, they will also tend to have a soft top, in the coupé style that makes them attractive to those that fancy a drive with the roof down on a nice day. All of these things correspond to the small body, which is usually the first thing that insurers will look at when deciding whether or not a car qualifies as a sports car and thus needs special insurance.
2. A Large Engine
The size and type of the engine in a car will also go a long way to determine whether or not it is a sports car. Most will have an engine size bigger than 1 liter, with some going past 2 and even 3 liters. However, anything more than that and you tend to be in a much bigger car, or what would be classed as a high-performance car. We will go into more detail about that shortly.
Anything smaller than a 1-liter engine will rarely be a sports car, due to the number of cylinders being required to qualify as a sports car.
3. Usually 4 Or More Cylinders (Typically A V8)
There will be cases where 4 cylinders is enough, but in most situations a V6 would be classed as a sports car if all of the other boxes are ticked as well, whereas a V8 is often deemed as the standard engine for a sports car.
V6 & Above
Anything less than a V6 is usually not going to be a sports car, and anything above a V8 will usually be classed as a high-performance car. We will talk more about that in a moment, but first we need to talk about what this engine size means in relation to the other factors, and how it affects the speed of the car as well, which is an important factor when determining insurance prices.
4. A High Power-To-Weight Ratio
The fact that the engine in a sports car tends to be bigger than that of a normal car means that the power-to-weight ratio is normally much higher as well. Essentially, the engine is bigger and the body is smaller, meaning there is more power available for a smaller amount of weight. This translates into more acceleration and speed, and thus sports cars are generally much faster than normal cars.
There doesn’t really tend to be a set limit in terms of power for a car to be classed as a sports car, and this is mainly because you have to consider the weight of the car too. For example, you could have a 4×4 that has 400 BHP, but weighs a couple of tons. Similarly, you could have a car with just 200 BHP that weighs around 1 ton that will offer much more speed.
So it is all about the power-to-weight ratio when it comes to sports car definitions, and the higher this ratio is the more likely the car is to be a sports car. However, it is also worth taking a look at what kind of brand and model the car is as well, as this will play a key role in determining insurance prices too.
Brand And Model Of The Car
The brand and model of the car is something that the insurance companies will look at as well, as some brands are known for producing high-end sports cars more so than others. The more expensive the brand, the more likely the car is to be classed as a sports car, although as always, the other factors will need to be looked at as well.
The Model Of The Car
These brands will also produce different models of cars, and some models may appear to look the same but have different engines, and so this is where it takes a bit more of an in-depth look to decide whether or not some cars are simply beefed up versions of normal cars, or if they are sports cars in their own right, and thus need a more expensive insurance policy.
Sports Car Insurance vs Normal Insurance
A Lot To Think About
Car insurance is a complex business, and there are so many different providers that offer many different policies. In general, you are going to pay a premium if you are not deemed a safe driver, or if you are driving a car in a higher insurance bracket. Cars are categorized by both model and brand, as well as the other factors that we have discussed above.
Safe Driving Discounts
Being a safe driver will give you discounts, as over time you will be able to prove yourself to the insurance companies by driving with a clean record without any accidents or other claims on your insurance. This can drive the price down, but for things like sports cars this discount will usually be much smaller than it would be for a normal car.
Sports car insurance is almost always more expensive than insurance for a normal car. This is due to a variety of factors, with the main one being that they are just faster and more powerful, which means they are more likely to be involved in an accident. Plus, the buyers of these cars are simply statistically more likely to make a claim, and thus a premium is charged.
More Likely To Be Stolen
You can be an extremely safe driver with a very good, clean record of driving, but still have to pay more for sports car insurance just due to the nature of the car itself. Another main reason for this price increase lies in the fact that sports cars are more likely to be stolen than normal cars, and thus this can drive the price of premiums up even further.
This is usually because sports cars are more attractive to thieves as the cars themselves tend to be more expensive, and some hold the value of being rare and so are worth even more. Obviously, this will be highly dependent on the make and model of the car, but as a general rule the more expensive the car the more expensive the insurance.
Expensive To Repair
Aside from the risk of theft, if the car is to break down or have any mechanical issues, or indeed if you were to get involved in a crash, the parts needed to repair the car will usually be much more expensive than they would be for a normal car as well. Repairing a sports car often needs specialist mechanics, and they charge more money, increasing premiums even further.
What You Get
Regardless of all of these factors, the actual insurance policies don’t tend to vary much from normal car insurance. You will still usually get full damage cover, as well as cover for things like fire damage and even theft. There may be more specific clauses in there, such as where the car may be sent to be repaired and such, but in general they are just more expensive but still straightforward.
Performance Car Insurance
Even Bigger Engines
So, now that you know what is involved in sports car insurance, what is the next step up? We touched on the idea of even bigger engines than the V8 that is often taken to be the staple sign of a sports car, and these can come in the form of V10s, V12s and even things like the 8 liter, W16 engine of the Bugatti Chiron, which is just absolutely huge in comparison to a normal car.
Bigger & More Powerful
These are known as high-performance cars, and the key word here is performance. These cars are built to be fast and powerful, and of course to perform at a high level on the track. They tend to be bigger than sports cars, although not always by much. They also tend to weigh a lot more, which usually has a lot to do with the larger engine sizes.
These cars are much more expensive even than sports cars, and thus their insurance premiums tend to be much higher as well. With the increased value of the car, the likelihood of the car being stolen increases, and so does the price of components required to fix the car if anything goes wrong. These both in turn cause the insurance prices to skyrocket.
Not only that, but because these cars are more powerful even than sports cars, they tend to be even more likely to get into an accident. This means that insurers will want even more money, as they see drivers of these cars as even more of a liability. The brands of high-performance cars tend to be some of the most well-known, such as Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The Actual Policy
Once again, the actual price of the high-performance car insurance premiums will vary depending on all of the factors listed above, but as a general rule the more expensive the car, and the more famous the brand, the higher the insurance price will be. These policies do tend to include things like specialist garage servicing, as the cars often need specialist mechanics to fix them.
Determining whether or not a car is a sports car takes a lot of consideration, as there are many different factors that come into play. The size and weight of the car is important, as this will dictate the power-to-weight ratio, which will in turn dictate the speed of the car too. The higher this ratio is, the more expensive the insurance premiums tend to be.
The engine size and type are also important to consider, as when the engine is really, big the car then falls into the high-performance car category, which leads to even more expensive insurance premiums. Regardless of which policy applies to your car, you will often get the same coverage, just at a much higher price, but driving safely can help to bring the price down over time.