While most new or used car shoppers do extensive research into the various safety features and the latest technology offerings, one thing that many people overlook is the cost to insure their new ride.
Auto insurance costs can vary dramatically between cars, even those that fall into the same category, so looking into the cost of insurance before signing on the dotted line is always a good idea.
Why Are Some Cars Cheaper to Insure Than Others?
Insurers rely on statistics, and they price their policies based on the risk factors that you and your vehicle present. Just as you have a driving and claim record, all vehicle types and specific models have claim histories and those will affect your premium.
Vehicles that experience high theft rates will always be more expensive to insure than cars that are basically ignored by thieves. The same can be said for safety features. Cars that are loaded with safety features and receive high safety ratings are less expensive to insure because they hold up better in accidents and protect the occupants of the vehicle during a crash.
The type of vehicle you purchase will also impact your premium. Cars that are designed for speed, such as sports cars, will cost more to insure, thanks to their bigger engines and appeal to riskier drivers. Vehicles popular with drivers who usually have children in the car (think minivans) are usually easy on the pocketbook when it comes to insurance coverage, as these drivers tend to drive more carefully and get in fewer accidents.
Here are a few of the most common categories that car shoppers fall into and the cheapest cars to insure in these categories. Shoppers may want to consider these vehicles if low insurance costs are important to them.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Whether they are hauling the kids to soccer practice, heading to the mountains for a weekend of skiing, or going on an annual family road trip, having the right vehicle is a necessity.
Here is a quick look at the cheapest vehicles to insure in this segment, the Honda Odyssey and the Chevy Tahoe.
- Odyssey: You are never going to be the coolest person out on the road if you are piloting a minivan, but the convenience factor of these vehicles makes it all worthwhile. The Odyssey can seat 7 and comes with a standard V-6, which manages 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The Odyssey received the highest rating of “Good” in all categories, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
All of the Odyssey’s safety features and the fact that the Odyssey is usually piloted by someone with children in the car keep insurance costs well below the national average of $1,311. The average annual cost of insuring an Odyssey comes in at $731.
- Chevrolet Tahoe: The SUV has made a comeback in a big way and is often the choice of families who consider themselves too cool for a minivan. Large SUVs like the Tahoe are roomy, loaded with power, perfect for towing, and sit up higher, which improves visibility. The Tahoe seats up to 8 passengers, comes with a standard V-8 and rear wheel drive, and AWD is offered as optional equipment. It manages 16 mpg on in the city and 23 mpg out on the highway. Plenty of safety features, its large size and its family car status keep insurance costs low for the Tahoe. The average annual cost of insuring a Tahoe is $760, well below the national average of $1,311.
The cost of insuring these two vehicles is pretty similar, so regardless of which one you choose, you will have a little more money in your pocket due to their low insurance costs. A Trusted Choice® agent can help you find the perfect policy for your minivan or large SUV.
When it comes to the perfect car for a college student, you want a combination of affordability and safety. Insurance costs are going to be a bit higher regardless of what car you choose, because younger drivers are risk-takers and lack experience behind the wheel.
Another factor that comes into play with college students is the car they drive. Here are the two cars with less expensive insurance that are perfect for college students.
- Nissan Versa: The Versa is extremely affordable, starting at around $12,000. It comes standard with a 1.6 L 4-cylinder attached to a front wheel drive transmission. In addition to being affordable, the Versa is easy on the gas. It gets 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The Versa achieved the highest rating of “Good” in all categories according to the IIHS, so you can be confident your college student will stay safe out on the road. You can expect to pay roughly $782 a year to insure a brand-new Versa.
- Mazda 3: This car is usually towards the top of the list when it comes to good used cars for college students. Consider the 2004-2010 model years. The Mazda 3 is loaded with safety features as well as the latest (back when the car was new) technology. It comes standard with front wheel drive with an inline 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The 2009 Mazda 3 achieved a “Good” rating in all categories that were tested, except roof strength, where it was ranked “Acceptable”. A Mazda 3 averages $814 a year in insurance premiums. A used car is almost always cheaper to insure than a new one, since the replacement value is less. In addition, depending on the age and value of the car, you may not need to carry full coverage. If the yearly cost of collision and comprehensive coverage exceeds 10% of the vehicle's value, it may be time to drop these two coverages, which will lower your premium significantly.
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If you are just out of college and looking for a great commuter car, you may be considering a midsize vehicle or a crossover.
When it comes to a commuter car, the distance you drive each day can definitely affect your insurance premium. If you have a short commute, ask your insurer for a low mileage discount. If you spend an hour in the car each way, expect your insurance rates to be a bit higher due to the miles you are putting on your vehicle.
Insurers consider high mileage drivers a bigger risk, since they spend more time on the road, leading to more chances for an accident.
These two vehicles are highly rated as commuter vehicles and are pretty affordable to insure:
- Hyundai Sonata: The Sonata is considered a top choice for a commuter car. The turbocharged 1.6 L 4-cylinder engine provides great mpg at 25 in the city and 38 out on the highway. The Sonata is a Top Safety Pick according to the IIHS. It gets the highest rating of “Good” in all categories and is ranked "Superior" in front crash prevention with optional equipment installed. The Sonata is a bargain when it comes to insurance, with an average annual cost of $797, which is $514 less than the national average.
- Nissan Rogue: The Rogue is an excellent choice in the crossover category and is always highly ranked. It comes with almost 70 cubic feet of cargo space, so you will have plenty of room for your weekend gear. The Rogue comes standard with an inline 4-cylinder engine, which is paired with a front wheel drive transmission. The Rogue gets a very impressive 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, making it a great commuter car. Just like the Sonata, the Rogue was named a Top Safety Pick according to the IIHS and received a ranking of “Good” in all categories. The Rogue is slightly cheaper than the Sonata to insure, coming in at $787 a year.
The kids are done with college and out of the house and you suddenly find yourself with some extra money and plenty of time. If a new car is in your future, you may decide to splurge on a sports car or a luxury sedan.
When it comes to seniors, your age impacts your rates. Between 55 and 70, your years of experience and the fact that most seniors drive less because they are retired leads to lower rates. Once you cross over the 70-year-old threshold, your age can lead to higher rates, as statistics show that older drivers tend to have more accidents.
Regardless of your age, a sports car or luxury sedan is going to lead to higher rates due to a big engine and high top speed (sports car) or the fact that the car will cost much more to repair or replace because of its high cost (both).
These two vehicles are well rated in the sports car and luxury sedan category and are still fairly affordable to insure.
- Chevrolet Corvette Coupe: The Corvette is the all-American sports car, and you will certainly be the envy of the neighborhood when you cruise down the street. The Corvette has a powerful V-8 under the hood that will push up your insurance rates, and the fact that the high-horsepower engine is connected to a rear wheel drive transmission doesn’t help lower your premiums. The Corvette still manages 17 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Despite its impressive performance, when it comes to insurance costs, the Corvette is still pretty affordable with an average annual rate of $1,079. This puts it below the national average of $1,311.
- Audi A8 Sedan: Many drivers consider the Audi A8 to be the pinnacle of luxury when it comes to German sedans. It is loaded with high-tech features, which will make cruising around town an absolute pleasure while making the neighbors green with envy. The Audi A8 comes with a V-8 and all-wheel drive is standard. It gets 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg out on the highway. While luxury cars are always going to be more expensive to insure due to their high repair and replacement costs, the Audi A8 still manages to stay affordable due to all of the standard safety features. The average annual premium for the A8 is $1,222.
Where to Get Coverage
Regardless of which category you fall into or what vehicle you decide to purchase, you will need to find a great auto insurance policy at the best price.
An independent agent will do all of the legwork for you, gathering quotes and making sure you get all the discounts you are entitled to receive. They will then present your options to you so you can choose the perfect policy for your particular needs.