If you are considering purchasing a new or used vehicle in 2017, there are several important factors to help determine your selection. Of course, you want a car (or truck) that is affordable, and offers safety features and other amenities to make the driving experience pleasant. But finding the cheapest vehicle to insure is of course very important. We'll show you several cars that are safe, will fit within your budget, and will also be fun to drive. We tested all of the vehicles, so we're confident with our recommendations.
While there are many components to take into consideration before buying a new vehicle, the cost of the insurance should be near the top of the list. You certainly would not want to purchase an expensive sports car for example, and weeks later find out your rate increased thousands of dollars higher than you anticipated. Or, if the "XL" or "Limited" version that you are considering buying, has a substantial impact on your insurance premium, it would be important to know specifics in advance.
Each vehicle is assigned an ISO "symbol," or "number," which helps determine the cost of coverage. The higher the symbol, the more expensive the rate becomes. Symbols also are periodically re-evaluated and can change. Often, "Limited" or "Sport" versions will have a higher symbol, and cost slightly more than a standard version of the same car. The two types of symbols are "Liability And PIP/Medical Payments" and "Personal Auto Physical Damage." Commercial vehicles have a separate set of symbols.
Also important is the number of active safety features that are included. Although all vehicles won't have every available option, some of the most important ones are forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and the rear view camera. Although these specific features are not on our entire list of inexpensive cars to insure, several vehicles that have these features include the Chevrolet Malibu 2LT, Buick Encore Premium, Nissan Rogue SL and Mazda 3s. Many 2017 models now utilize these types of features in their "standard" package
The more claims and losses that occur to a specific model, the higher the symbol. The two previously-mentioned rating symbols can also periodically change, due to increased claim activity. Each company chooses if they want to adjust the symbols or simply not utilize them in their rating. As more information is accumulated, they are more likely to utilize the symbols. High-performance and luxury cars generally have symbols that are used. Makes and models that have been manufactured for more than three years also are likely to have assigned symbols.
State Liability Limit Requirements
Car insurance is required in almost every state. Only New Hampshire and Wisconsin do not require state mandatory coverage. Having the coverage in place keeps you protected should an accident or injury occur. Although there are minimum available limits, you should also consider coverage above the state requirements. Limits of $5,000 -- $10,000 are not enough property damage coverage. Imagine hitting a new car and/or a building. $50,000 is a more acceptable limit to have, although $25,000 can also be considered.
Of course, many states are gradually raising their required limits. For example, Ohio historically never increased its mandatory $12,500 per person, $25,000 per occurrence and $7,500 property damage requirements. That finally changed in 2014 when an approved House Bill became effective and the legal minimums were doubled. However, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Pennsylvania still have bodily injury (per person) minimums at less than $20,000.
With the average U.S. yearly rate at $1,760 per year, covering your vehicle and staying legal isn’t cheap. Although great credit and a clean driving record will help, when you purchase a newer vehicle or add a teenager to the policy, the premium invariably goes up, and sometimes substantially. There are multiple reasons, including a higher repair and replacement cost, along with a greater chance of the car being vandalized or stolen. For that reason, we'll show you five options that won't hurt your pocketbook as much as you might realize.
Among the many resources utilized in our research is the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute. Their unbiased reports and exhaustive statistical analysis provide in-depth data that helped us immensely. Topics they cover include rollover crashes, bumpers, crash-testing, and impact of vehicle size and weight.
Listed below are the five very cheap vehicles to insure. These specific makes and models provide the lowest overall premiums, saving drivers hundreds of dollars in premiums every year. With such significant savings, you can see why it is so important to strongly take this type of information into consideration before you buy. Of course, there are many other vehicles that are also considered very "budget-friendly." But we have not added driverless cars to our lists yet. Maybe next year.
1. Toyota Sienna LE
This minivan is a wonderful family car. It is comfortable, roomy and stylish, with the 2011 model offering the most affordable auto insurance rates. The 2016 and 2017 models also feature better-than-average pricing. With an average yearly insurance premium of $1,111, it is a perfect choice for families who need maximum savings. It seats as many as eight passengers and newer models have a “blind spot monitor” that helps you see everything around you, including items that can’t be seen through the mirrors. A backup camera, blind-spot monitor and parking assistance are included on many models, and may become standard within the next three years.
The 2017 model features reasonable pricing along with special bumpers, projection-beam headlights (which provide added safety during night-driving) and parking-assist sonar. Two added features are the pre-collision and star-safety systems. Since they can help prevent accidents, many insurers charge lower prices for these newer models than previous ones. "Driver Easy Speak" allows the driver to easily communicate with passengers near the back of the vehicle. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available on selected models, which makes the Sienna the only minivan in the US with that option.
2. Nissan Murano SL
The 2017 Murano SL features average auto insurance rates of about $1,155 per year. This stylish five-seater is great for larger families or those who have friends tagging along for the ride. The price of around $40,000 can be a bit daunting for the budget-minded person, but there are a lot of safety extras (such as rear view monitor, traction control, automatic wipers and the standard air bags and anti-lock brakes). S base model has a cost of less than $30,000. The It's also fun to drive! The Murano is the top-ranked midsize SUV (US News And World Report), and also highly-rated in the 2-row SUV and crossover SUV categories.
The combination of LED daytime running lights, four-wheel-drive and xenon headlights on later models are always welcomed. The new aerodynamic improvements are also increasing gas mileage as much as 15%. Forward emergency braking and intelligent cruise control are found on most 2017 models and help cut insurance rates. Finally, compared to older models, the number of dashboard buttons has been slashed from 25 to 10, which is a long overdue change. Gas mileage is 21/28, which is competitive with most other vehicles in the same class.
3. Ford Edge SE
Dependable perhaps describes the Edge best. It’s one of Ford’s safest vehicles and relatively new since it was initially available in 2006. It’s one of the nice midsize “crossover” SUVs. In fact, it really doesn’t look like an SUV at all. It’s reasonably priced at about $28,000 (base model) and the all-wheel drive helps lower the insurance rates. The cost of repair is also fairly low compared to similar vehicles. Ford's warranty keeps you from spending too much in repairs the first three years. There are different Edge models and all of them have low insurance pricing.
The four available models are the SE, SEL, Sport and Titanium. Three engine sizes are also available including a 3.5 liter V6. Some of the features that keep your costs down are active parking assist, collision warning/break support, and an upgraded steering system. The adaptive cruise-control, helps warn you if other vehicles are getting too close. In recent tests, it worked flawlessly and should slightly reduce the chance of a collision. 18-inch alloy wheels help with traction on slick roads. Although the Ford Escape is less expensive, the Edge is gaining in popularity. You can expect a combined 23 (perhaps 24) combined mpg.
4. Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
The Jeep Cherokee has been a favorite vehicle of consumers for many years. The 2017 Laredo model also offers very affordable auto insurance costs at about $1,348 per year. The vehicle has been available for about 30 years, so Chrysler has had plenty of time to perfect some of the safety features. The look has changed, so owners of older models may not recognize it. Prices vary quite a bit, depending on the specific model and package. Although the base models will cost about $31,000, you could also spend more than $60,000.
It’s actually shorter than when it was first introduced and a bit more rounded instead of the classic box-shaped look. Our staff has driven multiple models, and never felt safer or more comfortable. It may be time to visit the dealership within the next 12 months! With teen drivers in the household, parents can feel safe when they are driving a Cherokee. There are also multiple safety features that are standard. Models include the Summit, Overland, Trailhawk, Laredo, Altitude, SRT, and Limited Edition.
As the most awarded SUV ever, the trend has continued for 2017. The mpg (19-26) is still impressive, there are more than 70 advanced safety features, and it can tow almost 5000 pounds! Night-driving is always a concern, and the bi-xenon headlamps (optional) light up the road as well as any other vehicle we have seen. And yes, insurers like that!
5. The Subaru Outback
The spacious and stylish 2017 Outback features all-wheel drive, VDC, an SD navigation system. It is the perfect SUV for families, friends and anyone else looking for a comfortable ride. Outback average auto insurance rates are $1,280 per year. It looks like a mid-sized station wagon, but it’s actually a mini-SUV. The low profile makes loading easy, and higher ground clearance allows drivers to venture off-road for additional fun and adventure.
Automated high beam headlights, reverse automatic braking, and pedestrian detection are included in an optional safety package, that we highly recommend. fuel economy is either 28mpg or 22 mpg, depending on the size of the engine. Base, limited, premium and touring are the four available classes. If you are considering leasing, don't count on discounted pricing, that you may find on a Rav or CR-V instead.
It is considered a very safe vehicle and for whatever reason, owners tend to be better drivers! Teen drivers don't mind being behind the wheel of an Outback, and there's plenty of room for other family members. Dealerships sell this model quickly, so you may not have a very big selection to choose from after October. However, a few low-mileage models may be available privately.
Additional Cheap And Expensive Options
Although these five could (and should) be included on anybody's Top-10 list, there were a few vehicles that deserve "honorable mention." They are the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape S, GMC Acadia, Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Soul, Honda CR-V, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Toyota Rav-4, and Jeep Patriot Sport.
Conversely, several of the most expensive vehicles on our list include the Mercedes GL63 AMG, Jaguar XK, Nissan GT-R Nismo, BMW 760Li, Dodge SRT Viper, and Porche Panamera Turbo. Of course, the sticker price of these vehicles is generally much higher than most other cars on the road. If you have any teenagers in the household, assigning them to other less expensive vehicles on the policy is highly recommended.
There are many factors that determine the cost of your car insurance including where you live, your driving record, your credit history and ages of persons in the households. But if you own any of these five vehicles, it will be very budget-friendly.
December 2013 -- We have expanded our list to include some models for 2015. They are: Dodge Grand Caravan, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento LX, and the Honda Fit. All of these choices have below-average costs compared to all other vehicles.
November 2014 -- The prestigious TAWA (Texas Auto Writers Association) Texas Truck Rodeo awards were announced and the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee was named first in many categories including SUV of Texas, Mid-Size SUV, Compact SUV, Best Powertrain, and Luxury Midsize SUV. The TAWA voted on the awards and conducted much of the research.
April 2015 -- Although not mentioned in our "Top Five," the Honda CR-V LX AWD model would probably make our "Top Ten" list. At a cost of $23,000-$25,000 and about 30 mpg, this vehicle is understandably popular in most parts of the US. The anti-theft system and back-up camera are included on most models.
Some of the safety features that help keep the insurance rates low include brake assist, daytime running lights, child safety locks, electronic stability control, traction control, 4-Wheel ABS and disc brakes, all wheel drive, and air bags located throughout the vehicle.
November 2015 -- Although this article was written about a year ago, all of the vehicles we reviewed continue to be very popular, especially if you need a low-mileage used car. The warranties are still valid, and one-year old cars (and trucks) often represent the best value, because of the large initial first-year depreciation. Maintenance issues (although unlikely) will be typically be covered under the warranty.
February 2017 -- The article has been updated to include 2017 makes and models, although several 2015 and 2016 vehicles continue to be fun to drive and are worth considering if you prefer to purchase a used car or truck. With many affordable leasing options snow available, 36-month, 12,000 mile contracts are very popular.