What’s the point of a fast car if you never get the opportunity to drive it fast?
Yes, your Alfa Romeo will certainly catch everyone’s eye — which is one of the reasons you bought it, right? — while it’s sitting in eight lanes of frustrating freeway traffic. But you didn’t pay a pretty price for the privilege of owning a sports car just to sit pretty.
You want an extreme driving experience, that adrenaline rush of challenging your driving skills by flooring that accelerator or by hugging those turns.
Then let’s get you on the right roads where you can do all of that. We’ll share the places where you can open up your sports car and have fun testing top speeds as well as other features without getting into trouble for it.
We’ll also give you some pointers on what cars are considered sports cars for insurance so you can pocket some savings from your insurance savvy and use it to fuel these drives.
What makes a car a sports car?
There is the stereotype attached to what a sports car is, but the reality is that the definition is not black and white.
Among the myriad of car classifications, if you’re talking about a sports car, you’re basically defining a vehicle that looks and performs at a more exciting level than a normal car.
But sports cars have evolved so much that your typical picture of a red/black/silver two-door, cramped, low-to-the-ground fuel-eater is not necessarily up to speed. Sports cars can be any color (even the seemingly drab light brown), have four doors, and be comfortable to drive. They can incorporate higher ground clearance and even boast great gas mileage.
Defying expectations? That’s a sports car for you.
And when it comes to insurance, you won’t find cut-and-dried definitions there either, at least not across the board.
Some factors used to determine a sports car for insurance purposes are similar, and they usually include the car’s body style, engine, manufacturer, model, and series. Any engine modifications to ramp up performance or speed or other modifications such as exhaust systems and ground effects are heavily weighted factors.
But what is considered a sports car for insurance actually varies from company to company. That flexibility can be to your advantage, as we’ll explain later.
The Most Popular Sports Cars in America
No matter if a sports car is old school or new school, they are still fun and flashy. And nowadays, you should feel even more special if you can afford to get one.
According to car sales analysts and car trend-watchers, sports car sales have declined in recent years. The reasons aren’t hard to fathom, with the most recent being the repercussions of the pandemic. Driving has been greatly curtailed, with thousands of potential sports-car buyers becoming financially challenged by the negative impact of COVID across virtually all industries.
But before that, younger car buyers — who tend to be a peak buying group for sports cars, followed by 40-somethings — have been struggling with an inflated housing market, high student loan debt, and an increased cost of living.
With modest paychecks that don’t have them doing better than the generation before them, it makes the expense of buying and owning a sports car out of their reach.
If you’re in the fortunate position to make a sports car purchase, and you’re interested in what’s most popular, then check out the BMW 8 series, Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette, Ford Mustang, Hyundai Veloster, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Porsche 718 Cayman and 911 Carrera, and the Toyota 86.
Where to Drive a Sports Car
Here are some spots across the U.S. to best indulge in some “me time” with your sweet ride.
Best Places to Enjoy Your Sports Car
If you want to full-out go as fast as you legally can, then head to Texas State Highway 130, specifically segments five and six, which has the highest legal speed limit in the nation — 85 mph.
The 12-mile segment-five section goes from north of Mustang Range to FM 1185 north of Lockhart and follows the current U.S. 183 alignment. The 29-mile segment-six section goes from FM 1185 to I-10 northeast of Seguin.
Aside from that 41-mile stretch of Texas, the next fastest you can drive legally is 80. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only seven states allow it: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
And of course, that high speed comes with a few restrictions, such as mainly being limited to rural interstates and sometimes just during the day.
If you’re short on time, long on a challenge more than on speed, and are a movie buff, a sports car driving must for you is the legendary Tail of the Dragon, which has been featured in movies including Thunder Road and The Fugitive.
This stretch of road is only 11 miles and should only take you a half-hour — depending on your experience: The challenge is the 318 turns, focusing on the road instead of the Smoky Mountains scenery, and paying attention to the frequent motorcycles.
Connected to the Indian Lakes Scenic Byway 90 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina, “The Dragon” begins at the intersection of NC 28 and US 129 and ends in Tennessee at the Tabcat Creek Bridge.
The best time to drive it to have the safest experience is in the daytime and from April through October, so you can take on all of those thrilling twists and turns without adding to the danger with snow, black ice, and landslides from heavy rains. The road can be closed for extreme weather.
Best Insurance for Sports Cars
Since the definition of a sports car means different things to different insurance companies, it’s definitely worth your while to comparison shop among several providers to help make owning a sports car more financially manageable.
How much is insurance for a sports car?
The downside with sports cars and insurance is they usually come with a higher premium than a standard car.
To insurers, the rationale for this lies with the higher expenses associated with repair, not only the difficulty in finding parts but also in finding appropriate repair shops. Occurrences of theft are also higher for sports cars, as is the number of sports car drivers who drive faster and cause damage.
All those reasons are why, on average, sports car insurance is $200 monthly for just liability coverage and $400 monthly for full coverage (comprehensive and collision insurance). Compare that to just $150 monthly on average for full coverage on a standard car.
The manufacturers and specific vehicles at the highest end of insurance costs are:
- Acura NSX
- BMW Z1
- Chevy Corvette
- Honda Civic Del Sol SI
- Jaguar XJ-S
- Nissan Roadster
If you want to steer clear of those, these are the most affordable sports cars to insure:
- BMW Z4
- Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
- Fiat 124 Spider
- Mazda MX-5
- Subaru BRZ
How to Save on Sports Car Insurance
In addition to comparing prices among standard car insurance companies, you can also try specialty sports car insurance companies, such as Hagerty and Chubb. Among the standard companies, try Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm.
You can help yourself even more in finding affordable sports car insurance if your comparison shopping includes a deep dive into each insurer’s discounts, as most companies offer several and some even offer several dozens.
Here are some tips to nab as many of those discounts as possible:
- Bundle your car insurance with your home insurance.
- Buy a sports car with a high safety rating.
- Complete a driver safety course.
- Install a car alarm or another type of anti-theft device.
- Keep your driving record clean.
- Maintain your sports car, which needs more care than a regular car, to lower the chance of repairs as well as of accidents caused by a car malfunction.
- Reduce your total mileage.
- Review your deductible amounts if you get collision and comprehensive coverage.
We hope we’ve helped you plan how to maximize the fun of owning a sports car — and give you plenty to daydream about when you’re stuck in commuter traffic.
Karen Condor writes and researches for the car insurance site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. As part of a sports car-loving family, she knows the thrills of driving fast and is happy to use her talents to share where to do it legally and how to do it as affordably as possible.