- Car make and model can impact insurance premiums because of their different features, potential repair costs, and safety ratings.
- Overwhelmingly, Japanese automakers manufacture the cheapest cars to insure, with 60% of the top 10 coming from Japan.
- Typically, smaller, more affordable cars (like compact SUVS) are cheaper to insure than larger, more expensive vehicles (like full-size luxury SUVs).
- For 2022, the cheapest car to insure is the Ford Bronco Sport.
Shopping for a new car on a budget means tracking MSRPs, waiting for the next big sale, and calculating and comparing estimated fuel and maintenance costs. But another major expense prospective car buyers should consider is the cost to insure.
The make and model of the vehicle you purchase could have a drastic impact on your monthly insurance premium. Sure, a luxury car like a Lexus or BMW will obviously command steeper insurance prices, but even comparable models, like a Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, might have vastly different insurance rates, even for the same driver.
So why do car insurance rates depend so much on the make and model—and what are the cheapest cars to insure in 2022? Our guide covers everything you need to know about buying an affordable car with cheap insurance.
Why car make and model affect insurance prices
The Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are both American-made, full-size pickup trucks (and the two most popular models in the U.S.). Though they offer unique features and constantly one-up each other in performance ratings, they’re pretty similar trucks to the untrained eye.
But the F-150 is $64 cheaper to insure for a year.
“Seemingly insignificant features can drive up your monthly premium,” says Robert Walden, founder of VehicleFreak.com. “Insurance companies charge more for added features because those features will drive up the cost of your bill if you ever get in an accident.”
Walden gives an example of near-identical compact SUVs from Toyota and Honda, one with a center console and one without. Because replacing that center console in the event of an accident will add to the overall bill, the model with the console will cost more to insure.
“Safety ratings are another important factor,” Waldon adds. “Look at the 2012 Honda CR-V and the 2012 Nissan Rogue. These cars are almost identical, but the CR-V has a 5-star rating, and the Rogue has a 4. Unfortunately, that means the Rogue comes with a higher premium.”
10 cheapest cars to insure in 2022
With over 300 unique passenger cars sold in the U.S. last year, researching potential insurance costs for each model would take hours. So how can you know which car is likely to yield the cheapest insurance premium when you start shopping?
We narrowed down the list to the 50 most popular new models sold in 2021 and ran insurance quotes for each of them, keeping everything else constant. For more information, see our methodology below.
Here are the 10 models we found to be the most affordable to insure this year:
|Vehicle||Average annual cost to insure|
|1. Ford Bronco Sport||$942|
|2. Jeep Grand Cherokee||$1,002|
|3. Volkswagen Tiguan||$1,054|
|4. Honda CR-V||$1,098|
|5. Subaru Outback||$1,120|
|6. Subaru Forester||$1,126|
|7. Kia Sportage||$1,134|
|8. Toyota 4Runner||$1,142|
|9. Subaru Crosstrek||$1,144|
|10. Mazda CX-5||$1,150|
1. Ford Bronco Sport
The Ford Bronco Sport SUV starts at $28,265. Its average annual cost to insure ($942) amounts to 3.3% of the MSRP.
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 SUV starts at $35,735. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,002) amounts to 2.8% of the MSRP.
3. Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan mid-size sporty SUV starts at $26,490. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,054) amounts to 4.0% of the MSRP.
4. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V mid-size SUV starts at $26,400. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,098) amounts to 4.2% of the MSRP.
5. Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback SUV starts at $28,265. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,120) amounts to 3.3% of the MSRP.
6. Subaru Forester
The Ford Bronco Sport SUV starts at $27,645. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,126) amounts to 4.1% of the MSRP.
7. Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage crossover SUV starts at $24,090. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,134) amounts to 4.7% of the MSRP.
8. Toyota 4Runner
The Toyota 4Runner full-size SUV starts at $37,605. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,142) amounts to 3.0% of the MSRP.
9. Subaru Crosstrek
The Subaru Crosstrek all-wheel drive compact SUV starts at $23,145. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,144) amounts to 4.9% of the MSRP.
10. Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV starts at $26,250. Its average annual cost to insure ($1,150) amounts to 4.4% of the MSRP.
Cheapest car to insure by segment
Overwhelmingly, we found that Japanese brands (like Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and Mazda) appear to be the cheapest to insure; 60% of the cars in the top 10 come from a Japanese automaker. “That’s because they tend to be more affordable,” explains Linda Chavez, founder and CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder.
Chavez also points out that vehicle segments play a big factor in insurance rates. “Compact SUVs tend to be cheaper to insure than larger SUVs,” she explains. In fact, she says that insurance premiums for compact SUVs are generally 10% to 17% less expensive than for larger models.
Here’s a quick guide to the cheapest cars to insure by segment.
Cheapest sedan to insure in 2022
Honda Civic ($1,252/year)
Cheapest SUV to insure in 2022
Ford Bronco Sport ($942/year)
Cheapest truck to insure in 2022
Ford Ranger ($1,198/year)
Other factors impacting car insurance rates
The make and model of your car might have a noticeable impact on your monthly car insurance premium, but it’s not the only factor. Here’s what else can impact your cost:
Type of coverage
If you want lower deductibles and higher coverage limits, you’ll pay more each month on your premium.
Your personal driving history
This has a huge effect on the rates you’re offered. The more accidents you’ve been in or tickets you’ve accumulated, the higher your premiums will be. That seems fair; it’s in your control, after all.
This plays a role in your final quote and not just because your state has its own coverage requirements. “Certain ZIP codes see more auto accidents and break-ins than others,” Walden explains. “Insurance companies charge more in these areas.”
Factors that are well outside of your control can also affect insurance premiums. When calculating your rate, insurers consider things like age, gender, marital status, employment status, level of education, credit history and even your occupation.
To calculate the 10 cheapest cars to insure in 2022, we ran quotes for the 50 most popular new models sold in 2021, keeping everything else constant. We averaged the price from three of the top 10 insurers in the US: Geico, Nationwide, and Progressive (according to U.S. News rankings)—for each of the 50 vehicles.
Our faux insurance applicant is a single 40-year-old male teacher from Cincinnati who rents his home, drives 10,000 miles a year, and has had no recent accidents but one speeding ticket. He is applying for a standard policy with the following coverage:
Bodily injury: $100,000/$300,000
Property damage: $100,000
Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $100,000/$300,000
Medical payments: $5,000
Collision deductible: $500
Comprehensive deductible: $500