Auto insurance can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to consider the potential cost before buying a new vehicle. After all, cars can cost more or less to insure based on many factors, including make, model, and year. The last thing you want after buying your new ride is the unwelcome surprise of a huge car insurance quote.
Every year, website Insure.com compiles a list of the cheapest and most expensive cars to insure. The most recent averages were calculated by Quadrant Information Services using data from six large national carriers using 3,000 auto models. “Insurance” refers to liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The model driver was a 40-year-old male with a clean driving history and good credit who commutes 12 miles to work daily.
But before you run out to buy a new car on the “cheapest” list (or give up on the luxury sedan of your dreams), let’s consider other factors that play into the cost of car insurance.
The 10 Cheapest Cars To Insure
According to Insure.com, these “least expensive” rankings looked at each 2021 model’s best-performing trim line.
|Make||Model||Type||National Average Rate Per Year|
|2||Honda||CR-V LX||Midsize SUV||$1,285|
|3||Mazda||CX-3 Sport*||Subcompact SUV||$1,294|
|4||Fiat||500X Trekking||Crossover SUV||$1,301|
|5||Honda||HR-V LX||Crossover SUV||$1,322|
|6||Jeep||Compass Sport||Compact SUV||$1,324|
|7||Mazda||CX-5 Sport||Crossover SUV||$1,328|
|10||Jeep||Wrangler JL Sport||Midsize SUV||$1,339|
*Model discontinued after its 2021 edition
The 10 Most Expensive Cars To Insure
Here were the 10 most expensive vehicles to insure in 2021. Insure.com used each model’s worst-performing trim line for these rankings. The Maserati Quattroporte S GranSport, which is the most expensive on this list, costs almost four times as much to insure as the Chrysler Voyager L (the top ranking of the cheapest cars to insure).
|Make||Model||Type||National Average Rate Per Year|
|1||Maserati||Quattroporte S GranSport||Luxury sedan||$4,823|
|2||Maserati||Ghibli S Q4 GranSport*||Luxury sedan||$4,208|
|3||Tesla||Model S Performance (Plaid)||All-electric luxury sedan||$4,143|
|4||Tesla||Model X Performance (Plaid)||All-electric luxury SUV||$4,025|
|5||BMW||M760i xDrive||Luxury sports sedan||$3,914|
|6||BMW||M8 xDrive||Luxury coupe||$3,907|
|7||Audi||R8 5.2L V10 Spyder Quattro||Coupe or convertible sports car||$3,863|
|8||Nissan||GT-R Nismo||Sports car or Supercar||$3,829|
|9||Maserati||Levante GTS||Luxury SUV||$3,803|
|10||BMW||M5 Competition xdrive||Sports sedan||$3,777|
*Model discontinued after its 2021 edition
Average Cost of Car Insurance
According to Insure.com, the average cost of car insurance is $1,758 per year for a full-coverage policy. This amount may vary by state: Average annual insurance costs can run from a low of $1,080 in Maine to a high of $3,151 in Michigan. However, the cost of car insurance also depends on many individual factors, which we’ll explore below.
Some states perform helpful legwork for consumers. The New York State Department of Financial Services maintains a list of vehicles that many leading insurers are unwilling to insure or will only insure under certain conditions or for certain drivers. These limitations are due to “unfavorable loss experience, high cost or limited availability of replacement parts, or high theft records.”
All vehicles on the Insure.com Most Expensive Cars To Insure list are on New York State’s Difficult-to-Insure Automobiles list. While you can still acquire insurance through the state’s auto plan, your insurance costs will likely be higher and may not cover the total value of your vehicle.
Why Some Cars Cost More or Less To Insure
Different auto-related factors influence a car’s insurance rate. In general, these factors include:
- Make and model
- Age (older cars can cost less to insure)
- Safety features
- History of repair costs, theft, and damage
Many of the vehicles on the Cheapest Cars To Insure list are SUVs. That’s because larger, heavier vehicles absorb more crash energy and offer more protection than smaller and lighter vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These features may increase a car’s safety and perhaps decrease insurance costs. In addition, a vehicle’s safety can be assisted by crash-worthy design and crash-avoidance sensors and features.
IIHS’s data also points out that:
- Very-large pickup trucks have higher losses where property damage liability is concerned (the damage your vehicle causes to others), while midsize sports cars and luxury cars have lower losses.
- Sports and luxury vehicles have higher collision and comprehensive damage losses. The lowest comprehensive losses include minivans, pickups, SUVs, and vans.
- Micro, mini, and small four-door cars have the highest personal injury protection, bodily injury liability, and medical payment claim rates (midsize sports cars, midsize SUVs, and large pickups fared best in these categories).
According to Argonne National Laboratory, insurance costs are similar across powertrains (engine, transmission, and axle) but depend on size class and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).
But it’s not all about price. For example, the 2021 Nissan GT-R Nismo starts at $210,740, while it’s possible to buy a 2021 Maserati Quattroporte S GranSport for less, at $109,190. Yet, the national average insurance rate listed above is higher for the Maserati.
If you review many of the vehicles in the “more expensive to insure” category, you’ll see claims of high performance and speed. Marketing language may use words like “exhilaration,” “sporty,” “thrills,” and “aggressive.” Car websites might describe how quickly it can reach 60 miles per hour. These words may worry risk-averse insurance companies. Sports cars and high-performance cars may be involved in more accidents, and physical damage coverage (collision and comprehensive) costs are based on the estimated future claims costs.
Other Factors That Affect the Cost of Car Insurance
Many other factors can affect the cost of insurance beyond which car, truck, or SUV you drive. Your history of accidents or DUIs may greatly increase the annual insurance cost of even one of the cheapest cars to insure.
A significant component of the insurance company’s risk calculation is assessing your safe, consistent, and reliable personal history related to driving. These factors in your personal history may include:
- Location, age, gender, and marital status
- Driving experience and record
- Claims history
- Credit history
- Miles driven
- Discounts associated with school, employment, continual insurance coverage, or other personal factors
In addition, usage-based insurance (UBI) uses telematics to observe how you drive over a period of time. UBI may take into account risky driving patterns regarding acceleration and stopping, drive times and location, speed, and if your airbag deploys.
Each state sets its own rules about what insurers can consider when setting auto insurance rates. In some states, insurers can’t consider your gender or credit history.
Car insurance costs automatically incorporate state minimums regarding required coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured or underinsured motorists. Adding or dropping optional coverages—such as collision and comprehensive—can also affect your car insurance rates.
Check the Cost of Insurance Before You Buy
Car insurance can be a significant contributor to the total cost of ongoing car ownership. Premiums for the same coverage for the same vehicle can vary, as each insurance company has a different way of assessing risk. That’s why it’s wise to shop for auto insurance before purchasing a car. Get several quotes on different cars you’re considering so you have a better idea of the full cost of owning each vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are more expensive cars more expensive to insure?
Yes, generally speaking. Sports cars, luxury cars, and high-performance cars may cost more to insure because they also cost more to repair, may get stolen more frequently, and may be involved in more accidents.
Is it cheaper to insure an older car?
It can be less expensive to insure an older car. However, a newer car with safety features or a low claims rate may earn you an auto insurance discount. Of course, if you remove collision and/or comprehensive coverage from an older car you own outright, you may also save on your annual premium.
How can I lower my car insurance premium?
While some elements of insurance are out of your control, there are a few ways to save money on your policy. Drop collision coverage for older cars you’ve paid off, and remove any duplicate coverage. For example, you don’t need roadside assistance if you also have this coverage from an auto club membership. Choose a higher deductible, or consider dropping auto-related health insurance if you can rely on your private health insurance. In some no-fault insurance states, you may be able to change your personal injury protection (PIP) and lawsuit coverages. Also helpful is to maintain an excellent driving record and credit history, and ask your agent about auto insurance discounts for multiple cars or policies, defensive driving courses, etc.
Correction - Jan. 24, 2022: This article has been updated to correct the cost to insure a Maserati Quattroporte S GranSport relative to the cost to insure a Chrysler Voyager L. It costs almost four times as much to insure the Maserati Quattroporte S GranSport.
Insure.com. “Average Car Insurance Cost in 2021.”
New York State Department of Financial Services. “Difficult-to-Insure Vehicles.”
Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. “How To Buy a Safe New or Used Vehicle.”
Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. “Insurance Losses by Make and Model.”
Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. “Loss Facts, December 2021: Collision Coverage.” Page 1.
Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. “Loss Facts, December 2021: Personal Injury Protection Coverage.” Pages 2, 4.
Nissan USA. “2021 Nissan GT-R.”
CarBuzz. “2021 Maserati Quattroporte S GranSport Specs.”
Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. “Why Does Auto Insurance Cost So Much?”
National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Auto Insurance.”
Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. “Usage-Based Insurance.”
State of New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance. “Controlling the Cost of Auto Insurance.”