Ranking the Cheapest Cars to Insure
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You pride yourself on being a smart shopper. When looking for a new car, you research features and compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal — and you also want to know which cars are the least expensive to insure.
NerdWallet looked at last year’s 25 bestselling 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 2021, according to our data:
Subaru Outback ($1,336 annually).
Subaru Forester ($1,347 annually).
Honda CR-V ($1,359 annually).
Jeep Wrangler ($1,406 annually).
Hyundai Tucson ($1,406 annually).
Mazda CX-5 ($1,412 annually).
Ford Escape ($1,427 annually).
Honda Pilot ($1,442 annually).
Chevrolet Equinox ($1,459 annually).
Ford F-150 ($1,465 annually).
Note: These rates are rounded to the nearest dollar. However, in the event of a tie, we looked at the average insurance rate to the cent to determine rank.
The national average cost of insurance comes in at $1,630 per year. So, all of these models will save you money when compared with the average driver. The Subaru Outback, in particular, could save you nearly $300 annually.
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 significantly, depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (among other factors).
For each of the 25 bestselling vehicles NerdWallet looked at, we found the average insurance rate, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price and the insurance cost as a percentage of the MSRP.
Here’s what it truly costs to insure the most popular cars in the country:
Average annual insurance premium
Insurance as % of MSRP
1. Subaru Outback
2. Subaru Forester
3. Honda CR-V
4. Jeep Wrangler
5. Hyundai Tucson
6. Mazda CX-5
7. Ford Escape
8. Honda Pilot
9. Chevrolet Equinox
10. Ford F-150
11. Toyota RAV4
12. Toyota Tacoma
13. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
15. Toyota 4Runner
16. Jeep Grand Cherokee
17. Ford Explorer
18. Honda Accord
19. Honda Civic
20. GMC Sierra 1500
21. Toyota Highlander
22. Toyota Corolla
23. Toyota Camry
24. Dodge Ram 1500
25. Tesla Model Y
» MORE: Compare car insurance rates
How car models affect insurance rates — down to the trim
Car insurance companies set pricing based on the risk they’ve determined you and your vehicle present. To determine a vehicle’s risk, insurers consider claim histories, including accidents, repair costs and rates of car theft. More — and more costly — claims for a particular model mean higher car insurance rates.
Conversely, 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, both vehicles are top safety picks, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Still, no one factor determines your car insurance rate. For example, although the Honda Accord and Honda Civic also received top safety marks from the IIHS, they were among the most stolen cars in the country in 2020, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. This is likely why these cars aren’t on the top of our list.
Trim level and car insurance rates
Adding features to your new car may raise your insurance rates, too. 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, not just because they’re built for speed: Drivers of these cars tend to be younger and therefore more accident-prone, 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.
» MORE: Does car insurance cover theft?
Rates vary dramatically among insurance companies, so it’s important to shop around. Compare car insurance quotes and see which companies offer the lowest insurance in your state. Ask the insurers about discounts, too. Many offer price breaks if your car has safety features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft.
» MORE: What does car insurance cover?
NerdWallet averaged insurance estimates from 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 in the top-selling models in the U.S. in 2021, according to data collected by Kelley Blue Book. Starting MSRP and insurance rates are for 2021 models.