Insurance is among the costliest and most variable factors among a vehicle’s long-range ownership costs. They’re largely based upon factors like where you live, your age, marital status, credit rating and driving record. While those criteria are more or less fixed, anyone can keep their premiums lower by simply choosing a vehicle that’s cheaper to insure in the first place.
That means sticking to a model that’s safe, sane and affordable.
According to the annual report issued by Insure.com in Foster City, Calif., the 10 most affordable models to cover are all family-minded minivans and sport-utility vehicles. The top-rated ride is the rough-and-tumble Jeep Wrangler, which the website estimates will cost a given owner $1,169 annually. That’s around 30 percent less than the national average among all vehicles at $1,645.
“Vehicles that cost less to insure are normally those driven by safe drivers, such as those carrying around kids,” says Insure.com’s consumer analyst Penny Gusner. “More parents have moved to driving SUVs, and as a result we have seen SUVs take over the least expensive list.”
Meanwhile, the costliest car to insure, the fast and frivolous Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG convertible, costs a whopping average $3,890 per year in premiums. “Cars that are cheaper to insure typically have fewer claims and are easier and less costly to repair,” Gusner says. “They also will cost much less to replace than vehicles on the expensive list.”
Insure.com maintains a database of rates for more than 3,600 vehicles for comparison, with average premiums reviewable on a national or by-state basis. The website’s estimates are based on costs computed using an identical driver profile for all models at six major insurance carriers in multiple ZIP codes in each state and the District of Columbia.
We’re featuring both the least- and most-expensive lists in the accompanying box. The quotes in the cheapest list are generally for base models; higher-priced trim levels will likely cost a bit more to cover.
But no matter where or how you shop for car insurance, it’s critical to compare rates on any vehicles you’re considering to avoid an unpleasant surprise later on. Not only do rates vary from one model to the next, different carriers will charge a given customer more or less for the same coverage according to the perceived risk he or she presents.
“It’s a very bad idea to purchase a car and then find out the cost of insurance. The car insurance premium may make the car unaffordable to you,” says Gusner. “Shop for your car and its insurance all at the same time so you’ll know the costs of both will fit your budget.”
© CTW Features
Cheapest New Vehicles to Insure
1. Jeep Wrangler Freedom: $1,169
2. Honda Odyssey LX: $1,181
3. Subaru Crosstrek: $1,236
4. Subaru Outback 2.5I: $1,238
5. Fiat 500X: $1,244
6. Mazda CX-3 Sport: $1,248
7. Mazda CX-5 Sport: $1,248
8. Jeep Compass Sport: $1,257
9. Honda HR-V LX: $1,257
10. Ford Escape S: $1,258
Costliest New Vehicles to Insure
1. Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG (convertible): $3,890
2. Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG: $3,670
3. Mercedes-Benz Maybach S650: $3,558
4. Porsche Panamera S: $3,545
5. BMW M6 Gran Coupe: $3,493
6. BMW Alpina B7 XDrive: $3,465
7. BMW i8: $3,460
8. Nissan GT-R NISMO: $3,458
9. Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG (convertible): $3,449
10. Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S: $3,430
Source: Insure.com. This represents the average annual cost of full coverage using a hypothetical driver, with rates culled from six major insurance carriers nationwide.