Manual vs automatic: which costs more to insure?

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With lots of different models of cars coming in both automatic and manual options, it’s worth knowing if choosing one or the other will affect your car insurance quote.

Are automatic cars more expensive to insure?

Insurers use hundreds of rating factors to offer tailored car insurance quotes, including car type. The two main factors we’re considering here are gearbox type and licence type. Automatics can be more expensive to insure due to higher claims costs and automatic gearboxes cost more to replace than a manual.

Does a car’s gearbox type affect your insurance?

Obviously the make, model and engine size of the car makes a big difference to your quote, but what about the gearbox in the car? The Admiral Pricing Team did some research on this by looking at the average premium for both automatics and manual cars.

Interestingly, we found the average premium was 5.63% higher for automatic cars. This seemed to be mostly driven by the increased costs of an insurance claim for an automatic and also an increased claim frequency.

The increased cost of a claim may be down to the extra cost of replacing an automatic gearbox compared to a manual gearbox, or, it may be because automatics are often higher specification vehicles.

Either way, the average premium difference between manual and automatic was not considerable meaning there might be other factors leading people to believe automatic cars cost more to insure.

Does licence type affect your insurance?

Driving licence type is also a rating factor, so let’s look at how licence type affects your car insurance quote.

The average premium for drivers with an automatic license is 56% higher than drivers with a full manual license. This is partly because of a 46% higher claim frequency. 

It's important to note that claim frequency isn't the only thing we look at when considering the most appropriate price for a particular segment of customers.

Like many insurers, we use hundreds of metrics when considering risk to offer tailored car insurance quotes. This includes our consideration of the average cost of claims for different groups of customers, since this contributes to the overall risk of a customer.