Young or old, we all dream about the perfect vehicle. For families, it can be steady sedan that carries all the stuff you need, including all the bodies. For young singles, it can be something hot and high-powered. For those of us really suffering in this recession, it’s anything good value for money. Looking around the market, several things are increasingly obvious from the latest figures coming out of what’s left of our auto industry. Fleet sales are up – more sales but less profit. The same-old, same-old pickup trucks and SUVs we were all dumping when gas prices exploded are in fashion again. Gas is back under $ 3 a gallon and sales of light trucks are up by almost 18%. When you need a truck, only a truck will do which is good for Detroit because trucks are their most profitable line. The Cash for Clunkers program actually benefitted the foreign manufacturers and, truth be told, the small car market still tends to favor smaller imported brands. Even Toyota’s numbers are recovering after their recall problems in late 2009. Overall, new-vehicle sales were almost 17% higher in November. The industry is predicting a better 2011 despite weak consumer confidence. The estimate is 13 million new vehicles on the roads.

So if you’re one of the people thinking about a new vehicle, now’s the time to start doing a little research. Insurance is all about makes and models. Those actuaries who crunch the numbers have calculated the odds on every model being involved in an accident. That means the standard premium rate is based on the brand and then varied up and down depending on who you are and where you live. This means a focus on two key factors. How safe is the vehicle? and How likely is it to be stolen?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for testing all new vehicles to ensure they are safe enough to be driven on public roads. It also liaises with the manufacturers on recalls so that, as new problems are identified, they can be fixed before too many people are injured. If you google “safercar”, you’ll find the results of the crash tests and rollover ratings. This is presented as a 5-star safety rating by make and model. Remember that the insurance industry follows this information when deciding how to set the premium rates. Similarly, the National Insurance Crime Bureau publishes detailed statistics showing which vehicles are stolen most often, and where the vehicles are most likely to be stolen. Perhaps surprisingly, the most stolen cars in 2009 were the 1994 Honda Accord, the 1995 Honda Civic and the 1991 Toyota Camry. Before you buy, whether new or second hand, always check out the NICB’s latest reports.

Buying cheap car insurance is all about planning ahead. You look for the best information available on which vehicles stand up best in accidents and which are the most likely to be there for you when you wake in the morning. That way, when the car insurance quotes come through, you will be pleasantly surprised and can make the best buys.

To learn what Haz Duell has to say about other things and look on the things from his point of view, visit where he frequently writes on many different subjects that you will find fascinating.

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