Cars and Drivers

The Cheapest Cars to Insure in America

Car insurance rates should be simple to calculate. Inexpensive cars are cheap to insure because they cost less to fix. But the math is much more complex than that. An analysis of how rates are actually set shows there is a labyrinth of determinants. People who want to own a car that is very inexpensive to insure need to take into account a broader array of factors than just its price.

Click here to see the 15 cheapest cars to insure

Based on a study conducted by insurance information site, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 15 cars least expensive to insure. On the face of it, most are low-end cars, vans and SUVs. That means the parts for these vehicles are fairly inexpensive to replace. An analysis of the most expensive cars to insure confirms that logic. Luxury sedans with price points over $100,000 can cost three times more per year to insure than inexpensive ones. But the price of the car is just the start of the calculation.

Another factor is the likely drivers of a given model. Is it young men or older women? As Amy Danise, editorial director of, told 24/7 Wall St., “If you’re buying insurance for the Ford Edge” — which had the lowest average insurance premium — “you are benefitting from the great driving of people you’ve never met.” The same probably holds true at the other end of the spectrum for muscle cars driven by men under 25.

Another factor that determines the price of insurance is how a car is usually driven. Cars that are mostly taken on short family outings cost less than a car that can travel 200 miles per hour. Danise explained that in the case of many cars with low insurance rates, the drivers “are probably hauling a family and doing local errands — the kind of driving where you’re not going out to long commutes on a highway or driving out late at night, when crashes are higher.”

Additionally, the ability to drive 200 miles per hour is based to some large extent on engine size. If you buy a 12-cylinder CL-600, Danise said, “you’re not buying that thing to go 25 miles per hour.” Most vehicles with low insurance premiums usually at most six, and more often four-cylinder, fuel-efficient engines.

These vehicles are also very large, with better passenger protection than the standard sedan. This is another factor that drives down the average insurance premium of owners. The result of larger vehicle size is a lower likelihood of passenger injury in the event of an accident, meaning insurance companies do not have to pay out for medical costs as often, and the bill is less expensive when they do.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by to determine the 15 cars that cost the least to insure. From manufacturer websites, we reviewed specifics of the vehicles, including the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP.) We also identified vehicle fuel efficiency from data provided by the Department of Energy’s Vehicle safety ratings are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority’s (NHTSA) online database, Information published by, which produces reviews for car models, was also considered.

These are the 15 Cheapest Cars to Insure.

15. Jeep Compass Sport
> Average annual premium: $1,217 (tied for 14th lowest)
> Price: $19,495
> 2012 sales: 40,235
> Engine: four-cylinder

At less than $20,000, the Sport is Jeep’s base Compass and among its least expensive vehicles. In addition to a low MSRP and low average insurance premium, Compass owners save money on gas as the model gets 26 miles per gallon. This exceeds both Jeep’s Grand Cherokee and Wrangler performance — both don’t even get 20 miles per gallon. On average, Compass Sport owners save $1,250 in fuel costs over five years relative to the average of 2013 vehicles, according to

Also Read: Cars So Hot They Are Out of Stock

14. Honda Odyssey EX-L
> Average annual premium: $1,217 (tied for 14th lowest)
> Price: $35,225
> 2012 sales: 125,980
> Engine: six-cylinder

The Honda Odyssey EX-L is the only vehicle among the 15 least expensive to insure with an MSRP of more than $30,000. The Odyssey, which seats eight, has received a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA — the highest rating the agency awards — for each of the past three model years. Among vans, only the Odyssey has earned this rating since 2011. Last year, Honda sold over 125,000 Odysseys, up 17.7% from 2011. This was honda’s fourth-best seller, behind the Accord, Civic, and CRV.

13. Chevrolet Equinox 1LT (Alex)
> Average annual premium: $1,210 (tied for 12th lowest)
> Price: $25,800
> 2012 sales: 218,621
> Engine: four-cylinder

The Equinox is Chevrolet’s low cost five passenger crossover offering. With nearly 220,000 units sold in 2012, the Equinox is the best-selling car among the 15 least expensive to insure. The Equinox 1LT, which costs roughly $1,500 more than the baseline LS, comes with a rear-view camera and integrated blind spot mirrors that are not available for the LS. Helping owners save money, the Equinox gets 26 combined miles per gallon, better than the 23 miles per gallon average of the 2013 vehicles.

12. Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium
> Average annual premium: $1,210 (tied for 12th lowest)
> Price: $24,200
> 2012 sales: 35,216
> Engine: four-cylinder

Ford markets the Transit Connect to businesses and highlights the model’s nearly 130 cubic feet of cargo space and its maximum payload of 1,600 pounds. The XLT Premium trim, at just $24,200, is the most expensive version of the model available, coming with third row and rear-quarter glass windows. Despite being cheap to insure, the Transit Connect did not perform well in safety tests, receiving just two out of five stars from the NHTSA.

11. Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
> Average annual premium: $1,206
> Price: $26,595
> 2012 sales: 141,468
> Engine: six-cylinder

The Grand Caravan is Dodge’s core minivan offering and the SXT is its mid-range trim. The model offers a variety of safety features, including eight crush zones, front seat head restraints that protect riders during rear-end collisions, and a rear backup camera. According to, “like other loaded minivans these days, a Grand Caravan can seem like a full-fledged luxury car in terms of features.

10. Hyundai Tucson GL
> Average annual premium: $1,204
> Price: $19,395
> 2012 sales: 48,878
> Engine: four-cylinder

The Hyundai Tucson is Hyundai’s low-price crossover, costing less than $20,000 for the basic GL trim. The Tucson offers a number of features, including a traction control system and a touchscreen navigation system that provides “real-time road conditions” to help drivers avoid traffic. The Tucson has not quite caught on with drivers. Fewer than 50,000 Tuscons have been sold, versus more than 71,000 for Hyundai’s Santa Fe — another crossover model that costs $5,000 more.

Also Read: The Top Selling Luxury Cars in America

9. Ford Explorer
> Average annual premium: $1,197
> Price: $29,100
> 2012 sales: 164,207
> Engine: six-cylinder

The Explorer is Ford’s mid-range SUV. The standard Explorer costs just under $30,000 and offers numerous features for better driving, such as a system that controls the car’s speed as it declines hills and a system for preventing trailers from swaying. The model also comes with Ford’s AdvanceTrac — a system for helping drivers maintain control if they oversteer or understeer, as well as for helping drivers avoid rolling over if they approach a curve too quickly. This was a major problem for Ford over a decade ago, when the company and its tire supplier, Firestone, blamed each other for the high incidence of rollovers in previous versions of the Explorer. The 2013 version of the Explorer received a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, with a four star rating in rollover prevention.

8. Hyundai Tucson GLS
> Average annual premium: $1,189
> Price: $22,745
> 2012 sales: 48,878
> Engine: four-cylinder

The GLS is the second version of the Tucson among the nation’s least expensive cars to insure. Unlike the standard GL, which costs $3,350 less, the GLS offers drivers the ability to shift between manual and automatic transmission, automatic headlights, and telescopic steering. According to, the 2.0 liter GL and 2.4 liter GLS have similar fuel economy; both provide a combined 23 miles per gallon with manual transmission), which is the average for 2013 vehicles, and 25 miles per gallon with automatic transmission.

7. Subaru Outback 3.6R
> Average annual premium: $1,180
> Price: $28,495
> 2012 sales: 117,553
> Engine: six-cylinder

The Subaru Outback is one of four different models Subaru of America sells in the SUV and crossover category. Of these models, the basic Outback has the second highest suggested retail price of almost $23,500. The Outback 3.6R is available for $5,000 more, and offers additional features such as a six-cylinder engine that provides for improved horsepower and torque over the base model. According to, “if you want some zip, you’ll need to ante up for the 3.6-liter engine.”

6. Chevrolet Express 1500
> Average annual premium: $1,171
> Price: $25,750
> 2012 sales: 76,808
> Engine: eight-cylinder

LIke the Ford Transit Connect, the Chevrolet Express is a commercial van. But unlike the Transit Connect, or any other car with similarly low insurance premiums, the Express has an eight-cylinder engine to provide torque for heavy cargo. The 1500 trim is the least expensive of the five offered. But whatever owners save on insurance, they will likely spend on gas. Over a five-year period, an Express 1500 with all wheel drive — which gets 14 miles per gallon — will use $7,000 more in gas when compared to the average 2013 model year vehicle.

5. Jeep Patriot Sport
> Average annual premium: $1,160
> Price: $15,995
> 2012 sales: 62,010
> Engine: four-cylinder

The Jeep Patriot Sport is Jeep’s least expensive car, available in two-wheel drive for just under $16,000. The Patriot also receives considerably better gas milage than other higher priced Jeeps with its 26 miles per gallon versus just 18 miles per gallon for the Jeep Wrangler. But despite providing savings on retail price, gas, and insurance compared to other vehicles, noted that “other vehicles in this segment offer roomier interiors, more cargo space, better fuel economy, available V6 engines, superior fit and finish and even off-road capability.”

Also Read: The 10 Most Counterfeited Products in America 

4. Kia Sportage
> Average annual premium: $1,157
> Price: $19,000
> 2012 sales: 36,357
> Engine: four-cylinder

The Sportage is the least expensive of the three models Kia offers in the SUV and crossover category. The Sportage comes in a variety of trims, with the all-wheel drive, automatic transmission Sportage SX costing over $28,000. Included with the more expensive Sportage trims are features such as a rear-view camera, a Smart Key for starting the car with the push of a button, and a black gloss grille. The Sportage gets excellent safety ratings from the NHTSA, with the four-wheel drive versions receiving four stars and the all wheel drive versions receiving five stars.

3. Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
> Average annual premium: $1,150
> Price: $24,995
> 2012 sales: 117,553
> Engine: four-cylinder

The Outback 2.5i Premium — the second of the Subaru Outbacks among the least expensive cars to insure — has a lower average annual premium than any other foreign car. In addition to being $3,500 cheaper than the Outback 3.6R, Outback 2.5i Premium owners also save an average of $30 a year on insurance premiums. According to, a six-cylinder Outback such as the 3.6R gets just 20 miles per gallon, while an Outback with a four-cylinder engine such as the 2.5i Premium gets 26 miles per gallon.

2. Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
> Average annual premium: $1,148
> Price: $27,695
> 2012 sales: 154,734
> Engine: six-cylinder

The Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s most expensive model. At the low end, Grand Cherokees start in price at $27,695 for a Laredo 4×2, while the the high-end SRT8 4×4 costs $60,295. Unlike the Laredo, the SRT8 model comes with an eight-cylinder engine, a sport mode and is described by as “[adding] an ample dose of high-octane insanity to transform this part-time mountain climber into a part-time mountain road carver.” The Grand Cherokee remains the brand’s most popular model, accounting for 154,734, or 33%, of the 474,131 Jeep vehicles sold in 2012.

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1. Ford Edge SE
> Average annual premium: $1,128
> Price: $27,555
> 2012 sales: 127,969
> Engine: four-cylinder

The Ford Edge SE carries a lower average insurance premium than any other car in the nation at an average of just $1,128. Although the Edge is a relatively recent addition to Ford’s lineup, having debuted at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, the car has built a strong reputation in recent years. According to CarMD, the 2007 and 2008 Ford Edge are among the nation’s most dependable cars. During each of the last three model years since the second generation of the model was introduced for 2011, the Edge has received a four star rating for safety from the NHTSA.

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