Ranking the Cheapest Cars to Insure

You pride yourself on being a smart shopper. When you’re looking for a new — or new-to-you — vehicle, you research features and compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal. And you might also want to look up average auto insurance premiums for the cars you’re considering. Rates vary, sometimes significantly, depending on the kind of car you drive.

NerdWallet found the three best-sellers in each of 10 popular vehicle categories, according to Edmunds. Then we crunched the numbers to determine which models were the cheapest to insure.

» COMPARE: Get auto insurance quotes

Cheapest vehicles to insure

among popular models

Rank 2016 Vehicle Average annual insurance premium Manufacturer’s suggested retail price Vehicle type
1 Honda Odyssey $1,015 $29,400 Minivan
2 Dodge Grand Caravan $1,028 $22,095 Minivan
3 Toyota Tacoma $1,033 $23,300 Compact truck
4 Honda CR-V $1,041 $23,745 Compact crossover SUV
5 Ford Escape $1,044 $23,600 Compact crossover SUV
6 Jeep Cherokee $1,045 $23,395 Midsize crossover SUV
7 Toyota Highlander $1,061 $29,990 Midsize crossover SUV
8 Chevy Silverado 1500 $1,078 $26,520 Large truck
9 Toyota Sienna $1,084 $28,850 Minivan
10 (tie) Jeep Wrangler $1,086 $23,895 Midsize traditional SUV
10 (tie) Dodge Ram 1500 $1,086 $26,145 Large truck
12 Toyota RAV-4 $1,087 $24,350 Compact crossover SUV
13 Kia Soul $1,096 $15,800 Subcompact car
14 Jeep Grand Cherokee $1,103 $29,995 Midsize traditional SUV
15 Ford Fiesta $1,104 $14,090 Subcompact car
16 Chevy Sonic $1,107 $14,345 Subcompact car
17 (tie) Ford F-150 $1,122 $26,430 Large truck
17 (tie) Chevy Equinox $1,122 $22,600 Midsize crossover SUV
19 Chevy Cruze $1,123 $16,120 Compact car
20 Nissan Frontier $1,126 $18,290 Compact truck
21 Ford Explorer $1,144 $31,050 Midsize traditional SUV
22 Chevy Colorado $1,159 $20,100 Compact truck
23 Toyota Camry $1,181 $23,070 Midsize car
24 Honda Accord $1,192 $22,205 Midsize car
25 (tie) Toyota Corolla $1,195 $17,300 Compact car
25 (tie) Honda Civic $1,195 $18,640 Compact car
27 Nissan Altima $1,198 $22,500 Midsize car
28 Lexus ES350 $1,321 $38,000 Entry-level luxury
29 BMW 320i $1,341 $33,150 Entry-level luxury
30 Mercede-Benz C250 $1,489 $38,950 Entry-level luxury

Why car models influence auto insurance rates

It’s simple: Car insurance companies price policies based on the risk you and your vehicle present, so they examine vehicle claim histories to find out which ones have the most accidents and most frequent incidences of car theft. Higher risk means higher car insurance rates.

That’s why vehicles with strong safety features tend to cost less to insure. They hold up well in accidents and are at lower risk for damage and bodily injury claims. And cars with lower horsepower are generally cheaper to insure than sports cars that are designed for speed.

Avoid these vehicles to save on insurance

Owning other types of vehicles  — including the following — often drives up car insurance costs:

  • High-cost sports cars have some of the highest auto insurance rates. Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highways Safety show that they’re often driven by younger, riskier drivers, and are involved in more accidents, driving up the cost to insure them.
  • High-end luxury cars are typically expensive to insure because repairing them can be pricey, and it costs more to replace them if they’re totaled.
  • Larger vehicles, such as big SUVs, can have high insurance premiums because of their potential to inflict a greater amount of damage to other vehicles and their occupants in an accident.
  • Cars most targeted by thieves also cost more to insure. About one-third of a typical comprehensive auto insurance premium goes to pay for auto theft claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Rates vary quite a bit from company to company, so it’s always a good idea to shop around and compare quotes. NerdWallet’s comparison tool can help. Ask your carrier about discounts, too. Many offer price breaks if your car has features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft.

Think of it this way: You can’t do anything about some auto insurance pricing factors — such as your age, gender or the frequency of accidents where you live — but the car you choose to drive is one factor within your control.

Juan Castillo is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email:[email protected]. Twitter: @JCastilloNerd.

The article was updated. It originally published Feb. 12, 2015.


NerdWallet ran insurance quotes from the largest insurers for 10 ZIP codes in three states: California, Texas and Ohio. We sampled rates for 30-year-old male and female drivers who had policies with liability limits of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per incident and $50,000 in property damage. We included $100,000/$300,000 uninsured motorist coverage, and collision and comprehensive with a $1,000 deductible. Rates shown were averaged from the three lowest quotes per vehicle in each state. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will differ.

Vehicles listed in the table were the top sellers in each of 10 popular categories in 2015, according to Edmunds.

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet.