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“I found buying a used car to be stressful,” says Emma, a recent college graduate in Southern California. “I just got my first job, but I didn’t have a lot of money. It’s a big purchase.”
For millions of Americans like Emma, buying a used car is a difficult process. And it can be quite emotional. There’s a lot of money at stake. Beyond the purchase price of the vehicle itself, the cost of gas is also significant, and don’t forget about insurance. These additional expenses must also be considered as you choose the right used car for your lifestyle and your budget.
Car insurance is an important purchase. It’s required by law before your car is legal to be driven on the road, and cheaping out on the insurance can lead to serious issues if you have an unfortunate accident. But the cost of insurance does vary from vehicle to vehicle and driver to driver. Different insurance companies offer different insurance rates on different cars, so it’s important to shop around and consider the vehicle’s insurance costs prior to selecting and buying any used car.
Generally, used cars cost less to insure than a purchased or leased new car. This is because a used car has already depreciated and is usually less expensive to replace should it be involved in an accident. Generally, the cheaper the price of the vehicle, the less expensive it will cost to insure.
But there are also other factors involved in the calculations of insurance rates, such as the price of repairs and parts for a particular make and model. The driver’s age, place of residence, driving history, credit history, and other factors are also taken into account. The amount of the deductible is another factor, as well as the level of coverage you’ve selected. You’ll decide on coverage that can include property damage liability, comprehensive personal injury protection, medical payments, collision, and bodily injury.
It’s also quite common for larger, more “boring” cars to have lower insurance premiums, while sexy sports cars and muscle cars with big powerful engines cost more to insure. Such souped-up performance cars equal speed, and insurance companies don’t like speed. Specialty models also usually require special parts, which are expensive and hit an insurance company hard in the bottom line if the vehicle is in an accident.
To track down the top 10 cheapest cars to insure, we compared the insurance premium costs of many vehicles and vehicle types, including cars, SUVs, and pickups, focusing on models that are no more than five years old. We’ve listed what are projected to be the least expensive to insure in each vehicle class, as well as a few economical runners-up. To compare vehicle insurance costs, we went to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) for accurate research and calculation. Of course, as we mentioned earlier, any insurance company will also look at many factors when it determines your vehicle insurance, so this is just a guideline. Before buying any used car, SUV, or truck, call several insurance companies for quotes and compare.
When it comes to large sedans, the 2014-2016 Toyota Avalon should be the cheapest to insure. The Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal finish in second and third place. The Toyota Avalon is a very popular full-size front-wheel drive sedan with plenty of space for families and a well-earned reputation for safety and reliability. It’s also known for its smooth ride, comfortable interior, and large V6 engine, which puts out plenty of power; a fuel-efficient hybrid model is also available.
Photo by Toyota
When it comes to mid-size sedans, the all-wheel drive 2014-2016 Subaru Legacy can be the cheapest to insure. In second and third place, according to the data, are the Ford Fusion and Volkswagen Passat. The popular Subaru Legacy is unique in the used car market place because it came with standard all-wheel drive, adding traction, stability, and safety in all weather conditions. It also offers plenty of space for families and a well-earned reputation for reliability. The Legacy is sporty, but also comfortable. Most models have a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. With that combination it won’t be quick, but its acceleration will be adequate for most buyers.
Photo by Subaru
When it comes to compact sedans and hatchbacks, the 2014-2016 Volkswagen Golf can be the cheapest to insure. In second and third place, according to the data, are the Nissan Leaf, which is an electric vehicle, and the Mazda3. The Golf is a front-wheel hatchback that shares much of its design and most of its components with the VW Jetta sedan. It also offers sufficient space for small families, though Volkswagen’s reputation for reliability isn’t on the same level as Toyota’s or Subaru’s. Like the larger Subaru Legacy, the Golf is sporty yet comfortable. Most have a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission, but a more powerful engine was also available, as well as a manual transmission.
Photo by Volkswagen
According to the data, the 2014-2016 Mini Cooper should be the least expensive subcompact hatchback to insure. Alternatives are the Chevrolet Spark and the Toyota Yaris. The Mini Cooper is a front-wheel hatchback with sporty handling and a unique but attractive style inside and out. Mini is owned by BMW, so Minis are popular with driving enthusiasts. It’s powered by a choice of small turbocharged engines that are more than sufficient for such a light car. And fuel economy is high, especially with the standard manual transmission. An automatic was available, however, and used Mini Coopers with the automatic command a price premium.
Photo by MINI
According to the data, the 2014-2016 Chevrolet Suburban can be the least expensive extended-length large SUV to insure. Alternatives are the Ford Expedition EL and the GMC Yukon XL, which is a mechanical twin to the Suburban.
The Suburban is one of the largest SUVs on the market. Available with up to seating for nine, it’s the ultimate family-mobile. Chevy sold these behemoths with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and Suburbans are popular for their spacious cabins, massive cargo space, and ability to tow boats, camping trailers, and other toys. They’re powered by large V8 engines and every Suburban has an automatic transmission. Due to their size and substantial power, however, fuel economy is not the Suburban’s forte.
Photo by General Motors
In the standard-length large SUV class, the data shows that the 2014-2016 Ford Expedition can be the least expensive model to insure. Worthwhile alternatives to shop are the GMC Acadia and the Toyota Sequoia.
The Expedition is shorter than the Expedition XL, although it offers the same three rows of seats and the same amount of people space. Ford sold these SUVs with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and like Suburbans, they’re popular for their spacious cabin, massive cargo capacity, and ability to tow boats and other trailers. The 2014 model uses a large V8 engine, while newer ones have turbocharged V6s; every Expedition has an automatic transmission. Neither engine delivers budget-friendly fuel economy.
Photo by Ford
In the mid-size SUV class, the data shows that the 2014-2016 Ford Edge should be the least expensive model to insure. Worthwhile alternatives are the Ford Explorer and the Honda Pilot, both of which offer a third row and a higher seating capacity than the Edge.
The Edge seats five and also offers quite a bit of cargo space. Ford sold these SUVs with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and they’re popular with families looking for a spacious cabin, a comfortable ride, and stylish design. They’re powered by a large V6 engine with an available turbocharged four-cylinder, and every Edge has an automatic transmission.
When it comes to compact SUVs, the 2014-2016 Subaru Forester may be the cheapest to insure. In second and third place, according to the data, are the Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson. Used car shoppers should also check out the Subaru Outback, which is part SUV and part wagon. Like the Subaru Legacy, the popular Forester is unique in the used car marketplace because it came with standard all-wheel drive, which can make it safer and easier to drive in wet and snowy weather. The Forester also offers plenty of space for small families and has well-earned reputation for reliability and durability. Sporty and comfortable, the Subaru is powered by a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. They have plenty of power but aren’t as fuel-efficient as a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4.
Photo by Subaru