You finally decided to cut your old car loose and look at buying a new one. Sure, it has served you well, but repair costs are nearing what you would be spending on monthly payments. So you head to the local dealership and start looking. Actually, you probably head to your laptop and begin your research. As you read over different reviews and articles, here are some features to consider so you choose the right vehicle:

Crash Tests: How does a particular vehicle measure up in various crash tests? There are some very reputable testing organizations that publish collision ratings — aide impacts, front, impacts, rear impacts, crumple zones – all important information you should consider.

Structural Design: This directly relates to crashworthiness. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), a good structural design has a strong occupant compartment, known as the safety cage, as well as front and rear ends designed to buckle and bend in a crash to absorb the force of the crash. These crush zones should keep damage away from the safety cage because once the cage starts to collapse, the likelihood of injury increases rapidly.

Vehicle Size and Weight: Another set of factors that directly relate to safety. Obviously, larger and heavier cars are safer than lighter and smaller ones. The III (and others) have found that small cars have twice as many occupant deaths each year as large cars. In crashes involving smaller and larger vehicles, heavier vehicles drive lighter ones backwards, decreasing the forces inside the heavier car and increasing them in the lighter car.

Of course, there are certain vehicles that will raise your insurance rates: High performance, four-wheel drive, exotics, etc. You will also need at least a temporary insurance binder in order to drive your new ride off the lot. While you are looking, talk with your insurance professional to see how to get the most car while making the least impact on your auto insurance premium.