What is car trim?

When discussing the make and model of a vehicle, the car's trim is also important. Trim refers to a specific configuration of a vehicle model, usually differing in features, materials, and engine size. If you refer to a manufacturer's guide or even a specific vehicle's website, you'll learn more about a specific model's different trim levels.

A Nissan Altima might have as many as six different trim levels between the Nissan Altima S, the Altima SV, the Altima SR, the Altima SR VC-Turbo, the Altima SL, or the Altima Platinum. Think of a trim as a further categorization of a vehicle.

Why do make and model matter?

Different makes and models — as well as different trim configurations — tend to be geared toward specific uses. As a result, the make, model, and trim of a vehicle can significantly impact car insurance rates. For example, a standard SUV would likely have lower rates than the same model geared toward off-roading and adventure driving.

The difference in cost between vehicle trims can vary by thousands of dollars. That difference can play a role in determining insurance premiums too, especially if you have comprehensive or collision coverage.

How does make vs. model affect insurance rates?

In addition to make and model, your car insurance is also affected by a variety of other factors, including:

  • Age of the vehicle
  • Vehicle usage
  • Location
  • Moving violations & claims history
  • Age of drivers

A make and model of a vehicle that's involved in more insurance claims than the industry average will tend to have higher insurance rates since it may be riskier to insure. In the same way, a car that's involved in fewer insurance claims on average may have lower rates.