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Ranking the Cheapest Cars to Insure

The Subaru Outback, the Jeep Wrangler and the Honda CR-V came out on top in our analysis.
Aug. 21, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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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 best-selling models and analyzed rates to determine which are the cheapest cars to insure.

The 10 least expensive cars to insure in 2020, according to our data, are:

  1. Subaru Outback.
  2. Jeep Wrangler.
  3. Honda CR-V.
  4. Subaru Forester.
  5. Ford Escape.
  6. Ford F-150.
  7. Chevrolet Equinox.
  8. Jeep Cherokee.
  9. Toyota Tacoma.
  10. Toyota RAV4.

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).

Looking to save on car expenses? With the national average cost of car insurance coming in at $1,427, customers who buy a Subaru Outback or Jeep Wrangler will likely pay lower rates than the average driver.

Here’s the average insurance rate for each of the 25 best-selling vehicles, along with the starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a 2020 model and insurance premium as a percentage of the MSRP.

Cheapest cars to insure among popular models

NerdWallet compared rates for these 25 vehicles in every ZIP code in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Here are the insurance rates by car model.

» MORE: Compare car insurance rates

RankAverage annual insurance premiumStarting MSRPInsurance as % of MSRP
1. Subaru Outback$1,392$26,6455.22
2. Jeep Wrangler$1,416$28,2955.01
3. Honda CR-V$1,439$25,0505.75
4. Subaru Forester$1,465$24,4955.98
5. Ford Escape$1,476$24,8855.93
6. Ford F-150$1,505$28,7455.24
7. Chevrolet Equinox$1,511$23,8006.35
8. Jeep Cherokee$1,521$26,0855.83
9. Toyota Tacoma$1,527$25,0506.09
10. Toyota RAV4$1,555$25,9505.99
11. Nissan Rogue$1,585$25,3006.27
12. Grand Cherokee$1,592$34,0004.68
13. Dodge Ram 1500$1,615$32,1455.02
14. Sierra 1500$1,622$29,6005.48
15. Ford Explorer$1,641$36,6754.47
16. Honda Accord$1,667$24,0206.94
17. Hyundai Elantra$1,673$19,3008.67
18. Toyota Corolla$1,701$19,8258.58
19. Toyota Camry$1,704$24,4256.98
20. Honda Civic$1,720$20,6508.33
21. Chevrolet Silverado 1500$1,724$28,3006.09
22. Nissan Sentra$1,724$19,0909.03
23. Toyota Highlander$1,773$36,8004.82
24. Nissan Altima$1,781$24,1007.39
25. Tesla Model 3$2,215$37,9905.83

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: Total monthly car cost calculator

Insurance rates by car model

It might not be surprising that the Subaru Outback and Honda CR-V are the cheapest models to insure. After all, both vehicles are top safety picks, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS.

Still, no one factor determines your car insurance rate. For example, although the Honda Accord and Honda Civic also received top safety marks from IIHS, they were the most stolen cars in the country in 2018, 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.

Insuring the lowest-priced model of a new vehicle can be over $200 a year cheaper than insuring one with extras like GPS systems, a power moonroof or a premium audio system.

Car manufacturers typically bundle many upgrades into various trim levels. As an example, trim levels for a Toyota Camry include the base-level L, followed by the LE, SE, XLE and XSE, 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: The 10 most-stolen cars and the cost of theft insurance

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 40-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 the 25 top-selling models in the U.S. in 2019, according to data collected by Kelley Blue Book. Starting MSRP and insurance rates are for 2020 models.

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