While it seems as though there's an endless barrage of commercials claiming to have the cheapest insurance rates, they ignore a fundamental question: Which cars cost the least to insure? While most car buyers automatically assume that boring vehicles are cheap, the reality may surprise you.
Where do these numbers come from?
These figures are based on a 40 year old male driver with an average 12 mile daily work commute, good driving record and good credit purchasing a policy with "100/300/50" coverage: $100,000 for injury liability for a single person, $300,000 for all injuries incurred in an accident and $50,000 for property damage. This policy has a $500 deductible for both collision and comprehensive coverage. While you may not be able to get these same rates, the cost of insurance between different vehicles should be comparable.
For comparison, this individual would be able to insure America's most popular vehicle, the Ford F-150, in FX4 trim for around $1,500. He would also be able to cover America's most popular car, the Toyota Camry, for $1,276. The most expensive vehicle he could insure is the Mercedes SL65 AMG: This monster convertible with a 604 hp V12 engine would set him back $3,543.81 each year.
All models quoted have basic equipment, as these are always the least expensive to insure. While additions like all wheel drive may be perceived as being safer, this isn’t enough to compensate for the added parts and repair cost the policy has to cover in the event of an accident. For example, a 328i sedan and an M3 convertible are both part of BMW's 3-series line, but there's a $550 difference in insurance costs per year. Opting for a 328xi is still $25 more than the 328i, even though the only difference is the addition of all wheel drive.
Cheapest Sports Car to Insure: Mazda MX-5
Maybe it's the MX-5's reputation as a "girl car" that helps keep insurance rates low, or maybe it's because normal insurance doesn't cover the car on the autocross and road racing tracks where it has become a perennial favorite. Either way, this modern tribute to British roadsters has the cheapest insurance of any sports car in America. At $1,403 per year, the Mazda beats the V6-powered Chevrolet Camaro by over $100, yet is just a hair slower from 0-60 mph.
Cheapest Luxury Car to Insure: Audi A3 TDI
Can a luxury car be inexpensive to insure? Yes, as long as it's a small diesel station wagon. While far from being the flashiest car in this segment, these practical, fuel sipping, city-ready cars have been a staple of Europe's luxury market for years. In America, the car's yearly insurance cost is just $1,269. That's $300 less than the most basic model of America's most popular luxury car, the BMW 3 series. It's also an astounding $430 less than its closest competitor, the Lexus HS250H hybrid.
Cheapest Car to Insure: Volkswagen CC
VW purists have bemoaned the replacement of the sporty European Passat with a new model designed to suit America’s taste for affordable sedans. However, they still have the option of buying the CC, a four door coupe based on the old Passat's platform. This family car may be at the high end of its segment, but it costs just $1,186 per year to insure when equipped with a four cylinder engine. The stylish Volkswagen beats the Honda Accord by $70 and the Toyota Camry by $90.
Cheapest SUV to Insure: Nissan Murano SL
At a cost of $1,128 per year, Nissan's sporty mid-size crossover is the fourth cheapest vehicle to insure in America, despite having a V6 under the hood. Want something with more off-road capability? The 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport follows close behind, costing just $3 more for a year of coverage. America's best selling SUV, the CR-V, adds just $50 to the insurance tab.
Cheapest Vehicle to Insure in America: Chrysler Town and Country LX
It should be no surprise that six of the ten least expensive vehicles to insure in the U.S. are minivans. The average yearly insurance premium on the Town and Country is just under $1,100 per year, although it beats its closest competitor, the base model Toyota Sienna, by just nine dollars.