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.
Car insurance rates vary, sometimes significantly, depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (among other factors). NerdWallet looked at last year’s 25 best-selling models and analyzed rates to determine which are the cheapest cars to insure.
» MORE: See your car’s value
The 10 least expensive cars to insure, according to our analysis, are:
- Subaru Outback.
- Jeep Wrangler.
- Honda CR-V.
- Jeep Compass.
- Ford Escape.
- Subaru Forester.
- Chevrolet Equinox.
- GMC Sierra 1500.
- Toyota Tacoma.
- Jeep Cherokee.
Full coverage auto insurance for one of these 10 vehicles costs about $126 a month, on average. That’s $9 a month cheaper than the national average cost of car insurance.
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 2019 model.
Cheapest cars to insure among popular models
|Rank||Average annual insurance premium||Starting MSRP|
|1. Subaru Outback||$1,429||$26,345|
|2. Jeep Wrangler||$1,455||$28,045|
|3. Honda CR-V||$1,474||$24,350|
|4. Jeep Compass||$1,497||$21,845|
|5. Ford Escape||$1,503||$24,105|
|6. Subaru Forester||$1,537||$24,295|
|7. Chevrolet Equinox||$1,551||$23,800|
|8. GMC Sierra 1500||$1,563||$29,600|
|9. Toyota Tacoma||$1,571||$25,850|
|10. Jeep Cherokee||$1,579||$25,490|
|11. Toyota Highlander||$1,603||$31,680|
|12. Toyota RAV4||$1,606||$25,500|
|13. Nissan Rogue||$1,611||$25,020|
|14. Ford Explorer||$1,628||$32,365|
|15. Ram 1500||$1,645||$33,190|
|16. Ford F-150||$1,654||$28,155|
|17. Honda Accord||$1,660||$23,720|
|18. Chevrolet Silverado 1500||$1,665||$28,300|
|19. Hyundai Elantra||$1,732||$14,950|
|20. Honda Civic||$1,743||$19,450|
|21. Ford Fusion||$1,746||$22,840|
|22. Toyota Camry||$1,758||$24,095|
|23. Nissan Sentra||$1,797||$17,890|
|24. Toyota Corolla||$1,797||$18,700|
|25. Nissan Altima||$1,853||$24,000|
NerdWallet compared rates for these 25 vehicles in every ZIP code in 10 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Those 10 states contain more than half of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimates. Rates will be different in other states.
» 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.
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 and 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. Here’s how rates compare for the three cheapest cars to insure on our list.
- Subaru Outback: The base 2.5i model costs $1,429 a year to insure, on average, the lowest rate we found in our analysis. The price rises to $1,645 for the 2.5i Touring model. That’s a difference of $216 a year, or $18 a month.
- Jeep Wrangler: The entry-level Sport is the second-cheapest to insure in our analysis, at $1,455 a year. Insuring the Rubicon model, by comparison, costs an average of $1,675 annually — an extra $220 a year, or $18 a month.
- Honda CR-V: The price to insure the base LX model is $1,474 a year, on average. Moving to the EX, one step higher in the CR-V’s tier of trim levels, brings the average insurance rate to $1,537 a year, an extra $5 per month.
» 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.
Rates vary dramatically among insurance companies, so it’s important to shop around. NerdWallet’s rate tool can help you compare car insurance rates and see which companies have the lowest insurance rates 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?
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.
- $25,000 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 $500 deductible.
- Comprehensive coverage with $500 deductible.
In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. 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 2018, according to data collected by Car and Driver. Starting MSRP and insurance rates are for 2019 models.