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Cheapest cars to insure
Find out how what you drive affects how much you'll pay to protect it.
Your premium is the product of many factors, and the car you drive is a huge part of the equation. While there are plenty of ways to cut the cost of car insurance, the best way to save is by choosing a car that’s cheaper to cover. Compare the car models that are cheapest and most expensive for car insurance.
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Which car models are cheapest to insure?
Insurance rates not only reflect the car’s sticker price, but its safety and reliability, claims history and estimated repair costs.
With that logic, cheaper cars usually have lower premiums because they cost less to repair or replace if they’re totaled after an accident. You can also expect to pay cheaper rates for models that score top marks in crash tests conducted by the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And models with a positive claims history, which includes the likelihood and cost of claims, tend to be cheaper to insure.
Cheapest car models to insure
Your location is a major factor in determining car insurance rates, which vary from state to state. Here, we’ve zeroed in on rates in New York. These are the premiums a driver with good credit and an accident-free driving record can expect to pay for insuring a 2017 model with basic coverage.
|Rank||Make & model||Average monthly premium|
|10||Volkswagen Golf R||$145|
Why did these cars make the list?
Safer cars get lower rates. Let’s look at the Honda Odyssey. Year after year, it consistently appears on lists for the cheapest cars to insure for a few key reasons. For starters, it has an overall five-star safety rating from the NHTSA and is equipped with sophisticated safety features.
Next, it’s a minivan, which means it’s likely to be driven by parents with children who typically are cautious drivers. This means fewer accidents and fewer claims, which is music to an insurer’s ears.
Which car brands are cheapest to insure?
Let’s talk car makes. In the US, these popular car brands tend to have cheaper insurance.
Keep in mind that these are averages, and some models are exceptions. For example, Nissans are among the most cost-effective cars to insure, unless you have a Nissan GT-R Nismo, a high-performance, powerful sports car with over 500 horsepower.
For luxury cars, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles are surprisingly cheap to insure, until you get to the convertibles and very expensive models.
Cheapest car makes to insure
We used the same driver profile as above to compare rates across models of the same make to find the cheapest cars to insure in New York.
Which car types are cheapest to insure?
In general, this is where car types sit on the cost-of-insurance spectrum.
- Station wagon
- Classic and exotic car
- Diesel car
- Luxury car
- Modified car
- Sports car
Why are certain cars cheaper or more expensive to insure?
The car you drive has a direct impact on your insurance rates. Generally, the cheapest cars to insure are the ones that cost less to buy, maintain and repair, and vice versa.
These are the main factors that go into setting a premium.
- Retail price. How much is your car worth? Typically, luxury, exotic, classic and collector cars have high premiums to match their sticker prices, and some actually appreciate in value as time goes on. Cheaper cars can usually be insured for lower rates.
- Repair costs. The more expensive a car is to repair or replace after an accident, the more you’ll pay for insurance. This also applies to cars with modified parts, like tinted windows or extra horsepower.
- Type of car. When determining rates, insurers look at the drivers who are attracted to certain cars. For instance, since SUVS and minivans — like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna — are more likely to be driven by parents ferrying around children, they tend to be cheaper to insure. On the flipside, sports cars and pickup trucks used for heavy-duty and industrial operations are riskier to insure.
- Safety features. If your car is equipped with sophisticated safety and accident avoidance features, it may be privy to a cheaper premium. In the event of an accident, these features reduce the risk of damage to the vehicle and injury to people inside. For example, Volkswagens and Toyotas are among the safest cars on the road.
- Crashworthiness. The NHTSA and IIHS run crash tests on many cars. Insurers analyze those crash tests alongside crash statistics to determine their level of risk. Sedans and minivans are hardy and aren’t involved in as many crashes as other cars. Owning one could score you a lower rate.
- Size and type of engine or horsepower. Cars with powerful, turbocharged engines, like sports cars, raise a red flag for insurers. They know you’re probably going to drive it faster and more furiously than a standard car, so there’s a higher risk of damage. And since diesel engines cost more to repair, they’re more expensive to insure.
- Theft rates. Insurers look at the likelihood of your car being stolen. Some models, like the Honda Accord, are easy to strip or steal for parts, and they’re targeted more often by thieves. This is risky business for the insurer, so it can elevate your rates.
- Accident record. Insurers set their prices based on a large pool of drivers, and some cars are statistically involved in more accidents than others. Unfortunately, even if you have a squeaky-clean driving record, you’ll pay more to drive certain makes and models.
- Claims history. Providers can track claim rates by make and model. If your car has a high claim rate, you’ll pay more for insurance — even if you’ve never made a claim yourself.
- Fuel economy. You may earn a cheaper rate for driving a fuel-efficient car like a Prius or one that requires no gas, like the all-electric Chevy Bolt.
- Age of car. Newer cars don’t necessarily get the cheapest rates. If your older car is foreign made or has spare parts that are hard to track down, it may cost more to insure.
- Potential damage it can inflict. This refers to the cost and severity of the damage the car can cause to property and people in an accident.
Which car models are more expensive to insure?
Some cars are automatically slapped with higher insurance rates. Typically, the most expensive models to insure are high-performance, luxury and sports cars. They’re powerful and designed to be driven fast, so insurers compensate for that risk by charging higher premiums. Also, they’re expensive to repair or replace in the event of an accident
Most expensive cars to insure
We compared rates for some of the most common cars that are the priciest to insure. Convertibles and luxury cars are typically more pricey to insure because they’re more prone to theft and robberies and they also tend to cost more.
The price of insurance varies between states, so factor in your location when you’re shopping around. We used the same driver profile as above to source these rates for the costliest cars to insure in New York.
|Rank||Make and model||Average monthly premium|
|5||BMW 2 Series||$238|
|6||BMW 4 Series||$238|
Which car brands are more expensive to insure?
In the US, the most expensive car brands are those that manufacture luxury, sports and specialty cars. These cars have sky-high sticker prices, usually in the six-figure bracket, and a high cost of insurance to match. Why? It all comes down to risk. These brands attract enthusiasts: those drivers who are likely to test the speed and power of their rides, as well as thieves. And if something happens, their cars are costly to repair or replace.
These brands tend to have the priciest premiums.
What can I do to save on car insurance?
Though car insurance is an investment in your safety, it’s still a monthly expense. These strategies may help you cut down on the cost.
- Choose market value. Unless you’re driving a classic, modified or luxury car, it’s worth insuring your car for market value over agreed value.
- Maintain your car. Your policy won’t cover you for damage caused by age, negligence and improper maintenance, so be sure to have your car serviced regularly.
- Install extra antitheft devices. For instance, steering wheel lock bars and electronic immobilizers deter thieves, so you’ll most likely be rewarded with a
5% to 25% discount .
- Equip your car with advanced safety features. The safer your car, the less risk it presents to your insurer. Adding features like antilock brakes and pretensioners can slash your premium by up to 10%.
- Park in a safe location. For a cheaper premium, store your car in a locked, covered garage rather than on the street.
- Drop collision coverage. Buying full-coverage car insurance is the sensible choice for new and expensive cars. Once your car has depreciated in value, consider dropping collision coverage or extras.
- Avoid the most stolen car models. These include the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Ford F-Series Pickup, Chevrolet Silverado Pickup, Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima, Dodge Ram Pickup and Jeep Cherokee. While theft rates are steadily decreasing, around 750,000 cars are stolen in the US each year and mostly stripped and sold for parts.
- Switch to pay-per-mile insurance. If you rarely drive, consider only paying for the time you’re behind the wheel. This is also known as pay-as-you-go insurance. Otherwise, ask your provider about low-mileage discounts.
Generally, the cheapest cars to insure are practical, safe, conventional and affordable — both to buy and repair. In addition, they typically have fewer claims and accidents. To cover their own risk, insurers usually jack up the rates for expensive, luxury and high-performance cars.
While the car you drive affects your insurance rates, it’s not the only factor. Shop around and compare rates with different providers to get the best possible value for your coverage.
Common questions about cheap cars to insure
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