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You pride yourself on being a smart shopper. When looking for a new car, you always research the most important features and compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. But smart shopping for a car means you’re also going to want cheap insurance. And to do that, you’ll need to know which cars are the least expensive to insure.
NerdWallet looked at last year’s 25 best-selling models, according to Kelley Blue Book, and analyzed rates across every ZIP code in the U.S.
These were the 10 cheapest cars to insure in 2023 based on annual premiums, according to our data:
Subaru Outback ($1,512).
Subaru Crosstrek ($1,516).
Honda CR-V LX ($1,517).
Mazda CX-5 2.5 S ($1,547).
Hyundai Tucson SE ($1,597).
Ford Escape ($1,609).
Jeep Wrangler Sport ($1,617).
Toyota Tacoma SR ($1,647).
Ford F-150 XL ($1,651).
Toyota RAV4 LE ($1,652).
Here are more details about finding cheap car insurance based on the car you drive.
Cheapest cars to insure among popular models
While you might expect a cheaper car to have a lower insurance rate, that’s not always the case. Car insurance rates vary — sometimes by a wide margin — depending on the kind of vehicle you drive, among other factors.
For each of the 25 best-selling vehicles NerdWallet looked at, we found the median insurance rate, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and the insurance cost as a percentage of the MSRP. We also looked at the base model trim for each vehicle.
Here’s what it costs to insure the most popular cars in the country:
Median annual insurance premium
Insurance as % of MSRP
1. Subaru Outback
2. Subaru Crosstrek
3. Honda CR-V
4. Mazda CX-5
5. Hyundai Tucson
6. Ford Escape
7. Jeep Wrangler
8. Toyota Tacoma
9. Ford F-150
10. Toyota RAV4
11. Chevrolet Equinox
12. Toyota Highlander
13. GMC Sierra 1500
14. Nissan Rogue
15. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
16. Ford Explorer
17. Toyota Corolla
18. Toyota Camry
19. Honda Civic
20. Honda Accord
21. Jeep Grand Cherokee
22. Ram 1500
23. Nissan Altima
24. Tesla Model 3
25. Tesla Model Y
We used the median rate (rather than the average) to provide a clearer picture of the full range of insurance rates across the country. The median is the midpoint between the highest and lowest insurance premiums.
» MORE: Compare car insurance rates
How car models affect insurance rates — down to the trim
Car insurance companies set pricing based on how likely you may be to file a claim as well as how much that claim could cost.
To determine a vehicle’s risk, insurers consider claim history information such as accidents, repair costs and rates of car theft in your area. Models with more insurance claims (and especially more expensive claims) cost more to insure.
Meanwhile, the cheapest cars to insure tend to have fewer, lower-cost claims.
» MORE: Car insurance estimator
Insurance rates by car model
It might not be surprising that the Subaru Outback and Honda CR-V are among the cheapest models to insure. After all, these vehicles are top safety picks, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Still, no single factor determines your car insurance rate, and there is no guaranteed formula for why some cars cost more or less than others. For example, although the Honda CR-V received top safety marks, it was also among the most stolen cars in the country in 2021, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. A high risk of theft usually increases the cost to insure a vehicle, but the Honda CR-V is still one of the cheapest cars to insure because of other factors.
» MORE: What does car insurance cover?
Trim level and car insurance rates
Adding features to your new car may also raise your insurance rates. Cars with high-tech safety equipment cost more to repair, and if you opt for a more powerful engine, insurers might think you’re at greater risk for speeding and getting in an accident.
Car manufacturers typically bundle upgrades into various trim levels. As an example, trim levels for a Toyota Camry include the base-level LE, followed by the SE, XLE, XSE and TRD, each with more features and a higher starting sticker price.
NerdWallet’s ranking of the cheapest cars to insure uses the base trim level of each vehicle. For any car, moving to a higher trim level may mean moving to a higher auto insurance rate as well.
» MORE: Your car-buying cheat sheet
Want cheaper insurance? Avoid these vehicles
Owning these types of vehicles often drives up car insurance rates:
Sports cars have some of the highest auto insurance rates, and not just because they’re built for speed: Lightweight vehicles like sports cars are at a disadvantage in accidents with heavier vehicles; this can lead to a higher fatality rate, which drives up the cost of insurance.
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.
Electric vehicles can be pricier to insure due to their higher price tags and repair costs; replacing an EV battery alone can cost thousands of dollars.
Cars most targeted by thieves also cost more to insure. Comprehensive insurance pays out if your car is stolen; it also covers damage from vandalism, fire, floods and other problems.
Rates vary dramatically among insurance companies, so it’s important to shop around. Compare car insurance quotes from a few different companies and see which ones offer the lowest insurance in your state for your vehicle. You can also ask the insurers about discounts, too — many offer price breaks if your car has safety features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft, for example.
» MORE: Does car insurance cover theft?
NerdWallet found median insurance estimates based on data collected about the largest insurers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates were for 35-year-old male and female drivers with good credit, no tickets or violations, and with the following coverage limits:
$100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
$300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.
$100,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.
$100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.
$300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.
Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.
Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.
In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. Some policies include additional coverages at the insurer’s discretion. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.
Vehicles listed were among the top-selling models in the U.S. in 2022, according to data collected by Kelley Blue Book. Starting MSRP and insurance rates are for 2023 models.