The Cheapest 2014 Cars To Insure – Forbes
If the sheer volume of television, radio and Internet advertising affords any indication, we live in a nation that’s obsessed with shopping for the lowest car insurance rates. “More than a billion dollars are spent each year on auto insurance advertising, most of which urges consumers to switch their policies to another carrier,” says Mark McElroy, executive vice president of TransUnion’s insurance business unit.
In truth about 30 percent of all policyholders shop around each year to see if they can find a better deal, according to TransUnion’s data, and that’s largely credited to the ongoing marketing onslaught.
Of course dipping one’s toe into the choppy waters of the car insurance market isn’t the only way to cut the cost of a household’s premiums. The most effective way to minimize what is a significant ongoing auto ownership expense is to buy a car that’s cheaper to insure in the first place.
All else being equal, costlier cars are always more expensive to ensure. Beyond that, insurance companies look at past claims histories to determine which models incur more or less damage in a crash, are more or less damaging to other vehicles, people and property, are more or less likely to be stolen and have higher or lower bodily injury claims.
The actuarial Brainiacs at Insure.com just released their annual compilation of average car insurance rates for virtually all makes and models sold in the U.S. and found crossovers/SUVs and minivans to once again deliver the lowest overall premiums for the 2014 model year. “Drivers hauling kids are among the safest drivers and have few claims – that holds down insurance rates on family vehicles,” says Insure.com’s editorial director Amy Danise. “This year we’re seeing more SUVs holding those spots, pushing out minivans from spots they used to hold.”
No fewer than four Jeep SUVs are listed among 2014’s amalgamation of the 10 cheapest cars to insure, which we’re featuring in the accompanying slide show. In fact the least expensive of all models to insure for 2014 is the Jeep Wrangler, particularly in its base two-door Sport version, which boasts a national annual average premium of just $1,080 for a representative driver. Could the statistics belie the iconic Wrangler’s image as a rough-and-tumble go-anywhere kind of vehicle?
“The Wrangler is helped by the fact that it’s not expensive to repair – if you get a dent in your door, you take the door off and get another one,” Danise explains. “And while Jeeps certainly are marketed for ‘adventurous’ off-road driving, their appearance on our ‘least expensive to insure’ rankings demonstrate that they’re really not used to drive up and down craggy rocks.” Other Jeeps making the top 10 list for 2014 are the compact Patriot (annual average $1,104) and Compass ($1,140) and the more luxurious midsize Grand Cherokee ($1,171).
Other noteworthy crossovers/SUVs include the Honda CR-V (annual average $1,115), Subaru Outback ($1,144), Dodge Journey ($1,149) and the Ford Escape ($1,170).
Meanwhile, the most affordable-to-insure minivans for 2014 are the Honda Odyssey (number two on the list with an annual average premium of $1,103), and the mechanically identical Chrysler Town & Country ($1,140) and Dodge Grand Caravan ($1,158).
By this measure it should come as no surprise that Insure.com found the costliest cars to ensure for 2014 are among the quickest and costliest sports cars and luxury models, with the rip-roaring Nissan GT-R sports coupe in its top Track Edition breaking the bank at an annual average $3,169. We’re featuring the rogues’ gallery of the costliest cars to cover in a separate post and slide show.
Of course these are all broad national averages – car insurance rates will vary from one state to another for a variety of reasons. “In each state, auto insurance rates are a mix of many ingredients, most of which consumers can’t control,” says Danise. “Urban areas, traffic conditions, state insurance laws, competition among insurance companies, the percentage of uninsured drivers and natural disasters all swirl together to influence rates.”
While it may not be cost-effective for most motorists to pull up roots and move to another state to save money on car insurance, the difference between premiums from one state to the next can be substantial. Those living in Ohio can be expected to pay the lowest overall rates at an annual average of $926, while those residing in Michigan will pay the highest in the nation at $2,551. And these rates could be lower or higher yet depending on whether a given policyholder resides in a crowded and crime-ridden urban area or a sleepier and less densely populated rural area.
Here’s a list of the 10 states Insure.com identifies as offering the lowest average auto insurance rates:
- Ohio ($926)
- Maine ($964)
- New Hampshire (963)
- Idaho ($1,053)
- Iowa ($1,058)
- North Carolina ($1,060)
- Wisconsin ($1,087)
- Virginia ($1,114)
- Vermont ($1,149)
- New York ($1,173)
According to Insure.com’s stats, a motorist living in North Carolina and owning a Jeep Wrangler Sport will pay the lowest car insurance premiums in the nation at an annual average of just $670. If that person moves to Michigan, those rates would jump to an annual average of $1,860, which amounts to an annual difference of $1,190, or nearly $6,000 over a five-year ownership period.
Talk about a premium-priced premium.