If you are planning to buy a new car, get auto insurance, register for a parking spot at your work, or your school, you need to know what is the make of a car means?
Car make and model are two terms used to describe your vehicle. It determines how much you pay for your insurance.
This article addresses all that you need to know about car make and mode. The report also covers the most frequently asked questions about car makes models and their effect on insurance prices.
What is Car Make VS Car Model?
Car make and car models are two different terms used to describe your vehicle.
Car make simply means what company manufactured your vehicle, while the car model refers to what brand or product is your car.
- What Does Car's Make Mean?
Your car makes the company that created or manufactured your vehicle—for example, Ford, Nissan, Honda, GMC, and Tesla.
Carmakers are multinational corporations, and usually, the car make is linked to the home country. For instance:
- Japanese automakers include Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, and Toyota.
- Korean automakers include Hyundai and Kia
- American automakers include Ford, Chevrolet, and Chrysler.
- European automakers include Volkswagen, Fiat, BMW, and Porsche
- What Does Car's Model Mean?
The model of the car refers to the brand, product, or range of products.
It is what you usually hear or see commercials and ads.
Some of the common brands include Mustang, Corvette, Prius, Explorer, and Beetle.
Here are some examples of car's models and makes:
- Toyota is the car make, and Camry is the car model
- Honda is the car make, and Civic is the car model
- Tesla is the car make, and Model S is the model
In the car market, some people might be interested in a specific car model and make; they atomically select the make of the car.
So, if the car makes and car models are this simple, why do people get confused?
The car makes and model is not the complete way to describe your vehicle. Your friend with the same car make, car model, driving history might pay less insurance coverage than you.
Why do cars with the same car make and car models have different insurance prices? Keep reading to know why.
How Can Cars with the Same Make and Model Be Different?
Knowing your car model and car make is not enough information if you are shopping for auto insurance, registering your car, or buying and selling a car. Of course, the car model plays a significant role when shopping for auto insurance (e.g., Model S always costs higher insurance than Civic); however, other information is also needed.
There are other factors you need to keep in mind when describing your vehicle:
- Body Style: The body style of a car tells you the shape of the car, the number of doors, and the mechanical setup (e.g., engine, transmission, and drivetrain).
Body style can help you decide which car best suits your car usage. For example, Toyota Sedan has four doors body style, and Mitsubishi coupe has two doors body style.
The same model can come in different styles. Some of the standard car body styles include sedan, hatchback, SUV, convertible, wagon, and coupe. For example, 2018 Honda Civic can come with three different body styles:
- Sedan, or four doors
- Coupe, or two doors
- Hatchback, it looks like a classic truck with a rear hatch
Similarly, Mazda Mazda3 can come with two different body styles:
- Trim Level: Trim level, tier level, or car versions refer to the same thing.
They refer to the level of options or add-ons you put on your vehicle.
These add-ons can be related to performance, technology, and styling.
If you are shopping for a cost-effective vehicle, you might need to skip trim levels (e.g., heat seats, moonroof, and upgraded sound system.)
Trim levels can range from no-options to the most options. Trim levels can include:
- Base models or entry-level models: which means no additional features were added to the car.
- Sport models: which include additional features, were added to upgrade performance.
- Luxury models or fully loaded models: which means that additional features were added to upgrade interiors, technology, and performance.
The higher you go in the trim level, the more features added to the vehicle. Some of these features and factors that affect trim level include:
- Body styling (e.g., four-door, two-doors, convertible and hatchback)
- Transmission (e.g., all-wheel drive, automatic, automated manual)
- Interior add-ons (e.g., seat material, entertainment systems, navigation system)
- Type of engine (e.g., powertrain, suspension)
- Safety options (e.g., backup camera, safety blind-spot monitoring).
Trim levels can be letters, numbers, or both added after the model name. For example, Honda Civic Sedan has six different trim levels: LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, Si, and Touring.
Similarly, one of the 2019's top-selling cars, Toyota RAV2, has three trim levels: LE, LE hybrid, and XLE. If you are interested in knowing more about these trim levels, Toyota offers a grid to compare the three of them on their website.
Another example is the 2019 Dodge Charger, and it has six trim levels: SXT, GT, R/T, SXT AWD, Scat Pack, and SRT Hellcat.
Mazda Mazda3 has four trim levels: base, select, preferred, and premium. While Mazda
- Model Year: The model year does not mean the year the car was manufactured in; it means when the car was initially produced or released.
For example, the 2018 Honda Civic was ready by summer 2017, and the 2020 Honda Civic was released in October 2019.
Model year means higher value, for instance, a 2019 Chevrolet worth much more than Chevy Suburban 1980.
The model year can refer to vehicle upgrades, which can range from small add-ons to the trim level or major full-on car redesign. For example,
Why There Are Multiple Car Makes for the Same Manufacturer?
It is not uncommon to see the same manufacturer having multiple cars makes. For example, Toyota Motor Crop. Owns Toyota, Scion, and Lexus.
Many of the car brands were merged, bought, or sold to different manufacturers. For instance, General Motor Corp. used to own Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac in the early 1900s.
Another reason for having multiple brand names for the same manufacturer is simply to target different markets. As an example, Toyota created Lexus to target the luxury market. Similarly, Toyota made two distinct brands: a more affordable brand (Ford) and a more luxury brand (Lincoln).
Therefore, it is essential to know that it is inaccurate to say:
- My car makes Toyota, instead, say Scion
- My car makes Honda MDX, instead, say Acura MDX
- My car make is Acura Civic, instead, say Honda Civic
When Does My Car's Make and Model Matter?
Car make and model are big players when it comes to car value. However, car make and model cannot determine the car value without knowing the body style, trim level, and model year. So, if you say my car is 2018, Toyota Sedan is not a complete description to get information on car value or request insurance quote.
The Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) can vary significantly for the same car make and model with different trim and body styles.
For instance, the same make and model of 2018 Toyota Sedan, the car value varies drastically; Camry XSE V6 can cost you $34,950, while Corolla L can cost you $18,550.
Also, Honda Civic with different body styles can have about $1,950 difference in price. The same car with varying levels of trim can have about $8,900 in pay.
How Does Vehicle Make and Model Affect Auto Insurance Rates?
In general, insurance companies try to limit the risk of paying more than expected for car repairs. Similarly, they want to make sure they charge you the appropriate amount.
Insurance companies can review your driving record, zip code, your demographics. Most importantly, they will look at your car make, model, trim level, and model year.
When it comes to insurance rates costs, you have two different scenarios for your car make and model:
- You will pay more:
- Car value: in general, the higher the car value, the higher the insurance rate price. You will pay more to insure a luxury car than what you will pay to protect a standard truck. This is because luxury cars cost more to be repaired. For instance, you will pay higher insurance prices for a Ferrari versus Subaru.
- The number of claims: if there are many liability claims filled for the same car model or make, the insurance rate price will be higher.
- Advanced safety: if there are no safety add-ons added to the vehicle, you will pay more for car insurance relative to what you pay for the same car equipped with safety add-ons. The type of vehicle can also determine their safety, and for instance, sports cars tend to have more accidents than other types of cars. Therefore, sports cars can cost more when they get insured.
- Sometimes, insurance companies will look at your ZIP code and determine how many claims were filed for specific car make and model. The more claims filed, the higher the insurance price. Moreover, if there are lots of reported thefts or accidents, then you might need to pay higher insurance prices. There are many online sources that you can find to determine the average insurance rate by ZIP code.
- You will pay less:
- Higher safety rate: if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates higher safety rates for your vehicle make and model, then you should spend less insurance price.
- If the car is equipped with safety features and anti-theft features, then you will pay less for car insurance.
Annual auto insurance prices for the same car make can vary by model. For example, see the table below for the comparison of average yearly insurance for Toyota Camry:
|vehicle||Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)||Annual insurance|
|Camry XSE, 4-door sedan, V6 (cylinders)||$34,850||$2,406|
|Camry XSE, 4-door sedan||$29,725||$2,405|
|Camry XLE, 4-door sedan, V6 (cylinders)||$34,300||$2,403|
|Camry Hybrid XLE, 4-door sedan||$32,975||$2,380|
|Camry XLE, 4-door sedan||$29,175||$2,403|
|Camry Hybrid SE, 4-door sedan||$30,100||$2,365|
|Camry SE, 4-door sedan||$25,800||$2,395|
|Camry Hybrid LE, 4-door sedan||$28,400||$2,355|
|Camry LE, 4-door sedan||$24,600||$2,405|
|Camry L, 4-door sedan||$24,095||$1,944|
The price of annual auto insurance depends on the combination of factors mentioned above and here is a real-life example of insurance coverage for a 40-years older adult living in New York with a clean driving record:
- Discounts: the man received discounts for having daytime running lights, anti-theft alarm, and anti-lock brakes.
- Coverage: $50,000 for property damage, $100,000 for accident injuries, $50,000 per person and comprehensive collision with $1,000 deductible.
Read through the frequently asked questions to know more about the meaning of each coverage type.
Along with this article, we did comprehensive research on what are the frequently asked questions about car make and car models. We also collected the top experts' and analysts' pieces of advice to answer these questions. Read below.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Make and Car Model
- What Does Car Make and Model Mean for a Car?
The car makes simply means the manufacture who “makes” your car. Car Model refers to the brand of the vehicle you have.
- Why Should I Know My Car's Make and Model?
You will be asked about your car make and model in any of the following situations:
- If you want to service your vehicle
- If you are shopping for new auto insurance or you want to change the existing auto insurance.
- If you are requesting roadside assistance
- If you want to report a stolen car to the police
- If you want to buy a new car or if you're going to sell your existing car
- If you're going to fill your car's information for a parking spot at your work, insurance, or the area you live in.
- How Do I Know My Car Make or Model?
There are many ways you could find out your car's make or model:
- On your vehicle exterior: on the back of your vehicle, you can find the make (the manufacturer name) on one side and the model (brand or product) on the other side. Usually, there will be a company logo in the front and the back of your car.
- On the owner's manual: you will find the car make and model either on the cover page or on the first few pages of the owner's manual
- On car registration or car title: both documents should have the car make and model.
- Using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): you can use the VIN to get much information about your vehicle, including the car make and car model. See the question below for more details.
- Using your car history report: you can request the car history report from your local Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) if the car was owned by a different person previously. The car history report contains much information like:
- Vehicle's title
- Record of previous ownership
- Any liens
- Any maintenance is done on this vehicle
- How to Check My Car's Make and Model By VIN?
It is hard to find the car make and car model on the older car's exterior. Another right way to find it is by using the VIN.
The VIN is a 17-digit large number associated with cars made after 1981.
You can find your car VIN using several ways:
- Printed on the driver's dashboard
- Printed on the car's registration
- Printed on the vehicle's metal part on the driver's side door.
Once you find your car's VIN, you can go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and they have a VIN tracking tool that can give you all the information about your vehicle, including the car make and model.
- How to Read the VIN Number? How to Decipher a VIN Number?
As we mentioned before, the vehicle identification number (VIN) is a 17-digit unique number that can provide much information about your vehicle, including your car make and model. Here is what each digit means:
- The first number is the manufacturer country
- The second letter is the car's manufacturer
- The third number is the type of vehicle
- The fourth to eighth (letters and digits) represent the car brand, model, and series.
- The ninth number is a security check number generated by the U.S Department of Transportation. This number can help them check if the VIN is real or fake.
- The tenth number is the car model year
- The eleventh number is the assembly plant
- The twelfth to seventeenth number is the vehicle's unique ID
- What is the Insurance Cost for My Car's Make and Model?
As mentioned before, every insurance company try to mitigate risk. You need to make sure that the insurance company charges you the appropriate amount.
You can visit online resources (e.g., Zebra) that can tell you the average insurance cost for your vehicle make and model. Using this information, you can shop and call multiple insurance companies to get the best deals.
- Which Car's Makes and Models Cost the Most Insurance?
Usually, higher value cars will cost more insurance. Here is a list of typical high price insured cars
- Performance or sport cars
- Luxury or high-end trim level cars
- Antique or vintage
- Exotic vehicles
- How Can I Buy an Auto Insurance for My Car Make and Model?
Although there are online resources that can tell you the average insurance cost for your vehicle's car make and model, it is a good idea to call at least three insurance companies and get quotes and compare.
First, remember that insurance companies will cover you and any people you are planning to add to the list. Also, insurance companies will only cover personal domestic uses and will not cover commercial purposes (e.g., deliver pizza, ridesharing). Some insurances do, though.
Below are the recommended steps on how to shop for auto insurance:
- Call and get quotes: the first step you need to do is to call the insurance company and get quotes. Remember, any quote you get is just an initial estimate, and you will not figure out the final insurance price until you finish the application.
Before you call the insurance company, you need to prepare a list of specific information:
- Your driver's license, the list of people you want to add to the policy
- Your age and gender
- Your driving history
- Your car's make, model, trim level and model year
- Your vehicle's VIN
- And your registration
- Customize your quote: there are different coverage levels when it comes to car insurance, the minimum (mandatory by all states), and the optional. Based on the level of coverage of each type, you can decide if the minimum is enough for you or not. Here is the difference between the two types of insurances:
- Mandatory: this is the minimum insurance coverage, and it is compulsory in all the U.S states. It covers the followings:
- Body injuries: This liability means that the insurance will cover any injuries or deaths because of you or the other driver.
- Property damage: This liability means that the insurance will cover any cost because of you or the other driver on people's properties (e.g., pole, fence, building)
- Medical Payments: This means that the insurance will cover any medical payments or loss of wages due to the accident.
- Uninsured Motorists: This means that the insurance will cover any accidents that happened with other uninsured drivers or Hit and Run situations.
- Optional: This insurance is not mandatory, and it has different categories:
- Collision coverage: This means that the insurance will cover any collision damage because of you or the other driver. The coverage is based on the market value, not what you paid for the vehicle.
- Comprehensive coverage: This means that the insurance will pay for cases other than accidents, including tree falling, flood, fire, falling rocks, hail, and vandalism. Again, the coverage is based on the vehicle's market value, not what you paid for the car. Usually, finance and lenders require this type of coverage.
- Glass coverage: as the name states, this means the insurance will cover any class damage, including windshield, side and rear windows, and sunroof.
- Gap coverage: This means that the insurance company will cover the gap between what you owe and what the insurance company will pay for your stolen or totaled vehicle.
- How Do I Apply for an Auto Insurance Policy?
Once you contacted three different insurance companies and got quotes (read the previous question for details on how to request an insurance quote for my car's make and model?), you are ready now to compare prices between each quote and to the average insurance prices information.
Compare the quotes based on the followings:
- Level of coverage, limitations, deductibles, and exclusions.
- The coverage amount: you want the highest of the coverage.
- Any discounts: some insurance companies will provide discounts for affiliation with your employer, bundling with your home insurance, student discounts, and others.
- Compare to online sources for average insurance costs and best insurance companies
- Investigate the company's financial stability based on online rating resources like AM Best or Moody's
- Review customer service satisfaction and ratings. Many online resources can provide you with the insurance company's customer service claims and satisfactions like J.D. Power
- Compare the final policy price along with the factors mentioned above.
Once you have all of this information, select the best option you have between the three (or whatever the number of quotes you got) and make a final decision.
If you decided to go with a specific insurance company, it is time not to fill the insurance application. Once the insurance company reviews the form, you will have the insurance policy set.
Summary and Conclusion
Car make and model are essential terms describing any vehicle.
You need to know your vehicle's make and model if you want to buy, sell a car, or if you're going to shop for insurance and many more situations throughout your vehicle's lifetime.
Your car's make and model can affect how much you are going to pay. The car's make and model are not the only factor affecting the insurance price or the vehicle's value. Car's trim level, body style, and model year are additional significant factors.
Once you know the implications of choosing a specific make/model versus the other, you can make the right decisions!