Looking for a hot new car? You better start thinking about saving money on your next auto insurance policy.

The annual Auto Show is coming to Chicago this weekend, as it begins to make the rounds nationally, and car manufacturers will be offering deals to tempt you into buying the newest model.

According to the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA), new cars are now selling at the highest prices in years, as demand improves. Higher prices mean you might have to think carefully about what options and features will fit into your budget.

If you’re looking at luxury models, be prepared for insurance sticker price shock. Some luxury cars will hike your auto insurance premium. However, other luxury cars are much cheaper to insure. If you’re looking to buy a new car, saving money on your auto insurance premium should be a factor in your decision.

For families, the Toyota Sienna LE minivan is a steal as the least expensive 2012 model vehicle for auto insurance, according to Insure.com.

“Minivans have always had a strong showing in our ‘least expensive’ rankings,” said Amy Danise of Insure.com. “They regularly prove to be safe, economical vehicles.”

Toyota takes the top two spots for least expensive cars to insure with the Sienna LE and the Sienna 4 cyl. Jeep takes the next two spots with the Patriot Sport and the Jeep Compass Sport. If you’re looking for a pickup truck, your wallet is safe. The GMC Sierra K1500 Regular Cab takes the fifth spot for least expensive vehicle to insure.

If you’re looking for something a bit sportier, it’s going to cost you. The 2012 Audi Spyder Quattro, a two-set V10 convertible is the most expensive car to insure this year. Audi, Mercedes and Porsche take the top five slots for most expensive cars to insure.

The flash factor isn’t the only criteria when insurance companies are looking at your car. Underwriters take into consideration the frequency of crashes for that model, the cost of repairs, the cost to insurers when a vehicle is declared a total loss and the cost of bodily injury claims.

The make and model can push an auto insurance quote higher or lower, but there are things you can do save money on your auto insurance premiums.

Install Safety Features. If safety features aren’t included in the basic model, shell out the extra cash to have safety features installed. You’ll be more secure on the road, and some insurance companies give discounts for safety-related items, like air bags, anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices.

Raise Your Deductible. Consider raising the deductible on new cars on your auto insurance policy. If you’re willing to pay more out of pocket to repair a new car, you’ll save more money. When your cars are a few years old, you can reduce the coverage. These cars have a lower market value, and any money you get from a claim probably won’t be more than the cost of the insurance and deductible.

Bundle Insurance Policies. Insurance companies want all of your business. Ask your insurance agent what kind of discount is available if you bundle your homeowners and auto insurance plans. Are you renting? You can usually save money on your auto insurance if you bundle your policy with a renter’s policy.

As you’re shopping for a new car, keep your auto insurance premiums in mind. A smart decision on the car lot can save you hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of your car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.