With the release of the SciBaru FRZ just weeks away, everyone’s been caught up in the sticker price, available options and aftermarket support for the car, but nobody has asked a crucial question; what about insurance?
Insurance premiums tend to vary by jurisdiction, but under-25 males (such as myself) always suffer from financial trauma when trying to insure anything remotely interesting. In some places, paying double digits to insure a Corvette Z06 is considered robbery. Here in Ontario, anything under $150 a month for a young person is a steal, and the cars that can be insured for that little are not even remotely cool.
I don’t really care whether the FR-S/BRZ will drift easily or not, but I know lots of people will. There will be a percentage of people who will confine their behind-the-wheel adventures to the track, but there will also be another percentage that will attempt to play Formula D on public roads, or engage in other forms of reckless behavior. And this group, no matter how small, may ruin it for everyone.
While the sticker price of the cars aren’t exactly exorbitant, my friend Michael Banovsky over at Sympatico Autos raised the idea that high insurance premiums could conceivably kill the car’s appeal to a significant portion of its target market. Even though it’s a 2+2 coupe with a naturally aspirated engine, a few too many accident claims or speeding tickets could see premiums spike upwards to a level where even the most car-obsessed fanboy with a terminal lack of financial acumen might shy away from buying one. In Ontario, insurance for cars like the Honda S2000 or Subaru WRX can cost hundreds of dollars per month (I was once quoted over $500 per month for a WRX. I was 21, but without any tickets or claims) thanks to high theft rates and their adoption by local idiots who insist on racking up tickets for illegal car modifications, speeding, street racing and reckless driving. One of the reasons my Miata doesn’t have such high premiums is because owners tend to be closer to collecting their pensions than paying off student loans and they’re rarely crashed or stolen.
High insurance premiums are cited (along with gas prices) as a reason for the death of the muscle car. I really hope they don’t torpedo the BR-Z either. There’s really not much that can be done about it, save for people driving responsibly and not screwing it up for the rest of us. Unfortunately, wishing that the world was a certain way rather than accepting it on reality’s terms has consistently proven to be a losing strategy.
I called my insurer to get a quote on the BRZ/FR-S for this article. They didn’t even have it in their database yet.