Standard vs Automatic: does transmission impact auto insurance?


When it comes to getting car insurance you’re probably well aware of the factors that go into determining how much you pay, but did you know that the type of gearbox your car has can also play a part?

There are two types of gearbox: manual and automatic transmission.

What is manual transmission?

A car with manual transmission has a manually operated gearbox, often known as a shift stick. In basic terms, a driver shifts gears using the shift stick in order to gain or lower the speed to match acceleration and steering. Manual transmission is considered to be more energy efficient, have a lower cost and generally give the driver a greater sense of control.

What is automatic transmission?

Automatic transmission uses a torque converter which shifts the gears by computer generation when the vehicle is accelerated or slows down. Many car manufacturers also offer automatic transmission with hybrid shift features.  Automatic cars are thought to be easier to drive and will not run the risk of stalling your car in slow moving traffic or at intersections.

How does the gearbox affect insurance?

There are both positives and negatives to both types of gearbox, and really it is up to the individual insurer to decide how they think the gearbox should affect your insurance cost, if it does at all. In most cases it is best to compare different insurers to decide which has the most cost effective policy for you.

Arguably a manual car calls for a higher level of driver attention, which could lead to increases risks.

However, according to research by Admiral, automatic cars have a premium of around 5.63% higher than their manual counterparts. This is most likely down to a higher cost to replace an automatic gearbox compared to a manual gearbox. It could also be due to the fact that automatic cars are quite often higher specification vehicles.

Of course, there are many other factors that are more significant when it comes to calculating the cost of your insurance policy, including the age, make and model of your car and where you live. There are also some variables that you can change with time such as: your driving history and how frequently you get behind the wheel.

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