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See the 10 Cheapest Cars to Insure in 2020

Insure.com tallies the rates for coverage and ranks the vehicles accordingly


spinner image 2020 blue Subaru Outback parked near a body of water
SUBARU

The difference in the cost of auto insurance is huge depending where you live, what you drive, where you park, whether you have traffic tickets on your record and, perhaps surprisingly, how good your credit rating is.

You probably won't pack up and move from Michigan — the state with the highest average price for auto insurance — to Maine, the lowest, to save a bundle on your auto policy. But you might change your mind about what car to buy next or watch your speed more carefully through that 25-mph residential neighborhood.

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Every year, the insurance-shopping site Insure.com calculates the average price for auto coverage and ranks vehicles accordingly.

For this ranking of 2020 models, Insure.com says it “pulled insurance quotes from six major insurance companies and averaged the premiums, so you have an accurate estimate of what it costs to insure the car of your dreams,” or at least the car of your budget.

3 best rates in 3 categories

Here are the most economical vehicles to insure in popular types of vehicles. The U.S. average annual insurance bill is $1,517.

Sedans

• Honda Fit LX, $1,379
• Chevrolet Spark LS,
 $1,453
• Fiat 500L Pop,
 $1,462

SUVs

• Mazda CX-3 Sport, $1,324
• Honda CR-V LX,
 $1,333
• Jeep Wrangler Sport,
 $1,334

Trucks

• GMC Canyon, $1,411
• Chevrolet Colorado, 
$1,439
• Ford F-150,
 $1,440

Source: Insure.com

The calculation assumes a 40-year-old driver. The premiums “are going to be around the same if the driver profile was for someone 50 or 60,” says Penny Gusner, Insure.com's senior consumer analyst. “It likely would be a bit cheaper, as that age range is pretty mature in their driving behavior and abilities."

The rates stay down until a driver is 65, then start edging up, according to the Foster City, California, company's affiliated site, CarInsurance.com. Some states — California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to Stateline, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts — also prohibit changes in rates because of gender.

To keep a level playing field, the rates are calculated for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, Gusner says. The policy covers $100,000 of injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident — that's called a 100/300/50 policy — and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insurance covers everything besides hitting an object, such as fire, floods, hail, theft or vandalism.

This hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate also includes uninsured motorist coverage.

But the vehicle isn't the only variable in your auto insurance bill. The place is also a significant factor.

Michigan, with an average annual premium of $2,878, is the most expensive state in which to own a car. The least expensive state for auto insurance is Maine, at $912. The U.S. average is $1,517.

"Car insurance in Michigan costs three times more than it does in our cheapest state, Maine,” according to Insure.com.

Michigan's premiums are so expensive because companies must guarantee unlimited, lifetime medical benefits to auto accident victims. Insurers see that as a dramatic increase in their financial risk. In turn, more drivers go without insurance, which also bumps up insurers’ risk, Insure.com says.

But in July, changes in insurance requirements begin there that are expected to reduce customers’ bills.

Using the Mazda CX-3, the least expensive vehicle premium on Insure.com's national average list at $1,324, here's what a 40-year-old single man would pay on average in these states:

• Maine, $745
• New Hampshire,
 $848
• Ohio, 
$900
• Illinois, 
$1,255
• Texas, 
$1,554
• Florida,
 $2,035
• Michigan,
 $2,517

Note that cheapest to insure doesn't always mean best to own. You'll see from some lukewarm or even poor ratings in other areas that we've researched for you.

spinner image red Maxda CX 3 on a road
(c)ERIC MICOTTO (actual trim not pictured)

1. Mazda CX-3 Sport

Average yearly insurance premium: $1,324

Crash rating, overall, from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): 5 stars, the top rating, though the agency notes a safety concern in the side impact test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates it a top safety pick plus, its highest rating.

Miles per gallon (MPG), combined city/highway, from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing: 29 to 31, depending on all- or front-wheel drive.

Overall rating: Consumer Reports gives it a 73 out of 100, predicting that owner satisfaction is forecast to be near the bottom of the scale, a 1 out of 5, but does have it on its recommended list. J.D. Power and Associates’ consumer satisfaction score is 76 out of 100.

Yearly fuel cost, from EPA at $1.85 per gallon: $900 to $950

Price: Sport model with front-wheel drive starts at $21,740.

spinner image 2020 gray Honda CR-V Touring
Honda North America (actual trim not pictured)

2. Honda CR-V LX

Average premium: $1,333

Crash rating: 5 stars, the top rating; also IIHS top safety pick, the second highest rating

MPG: 29 to 30, depending on all- or front-wheel drive

Overall rating: Consumer Reports gives it 77 out of 100 and puts it on its recommended list. J.D. Power has not yet rated it.

Yearly fuel cost: $900 to $950
Price: LX model with front-wheel drive starts at $26,170.

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spinner image 2020 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara
FCA US LLC (actual trim not pictured)

3. Jeep Wrangler Sport S

Average premium: $1,334

Crash rating: No rating from NHTSA. IIHS rates it as marginal because the four-door tipped onto its side during both front crash tests.

MPG: 19 to 21, depending on trim level

Overall rating: Consumer Reports scored Wranglers as a whole at 26 out of 100 while acknowledging that predicted owner satisfaction is 4 out of 5; J.D. Power rates it 74 out of 100.

Yearly fuel cost: $1,300 to $1,450

See more Insurance offers >

Price: $31,285, two door; $33,290, four door

spinner image 2020 blue Subaru Outback parked near a body of water
Subaru (actual trim not pictured)

4. Subaru Outback 2.5

Average premium: $1,335

Crash rating: 5 stars, the top rating; also 2020 IIHS top safety pick plus, the highest rating

MPG: 29

Overall: Consumer Reports puts it on its recommended list with a laudable 87 out of 100. J.D. Power has not yet rated it.

Yearly fuel cost: $950

Price: Base model starts at $27,655. All Subarus have all-wheel drive standard, except the rear-wheel-drive BRZ sports car.

spinner image 2020 Fiat 500X Sport
FCA US LLC (actual trim not pictured)

5. Fiat 500X Pop

Average premium: $1,336

Crash rating: No rating from NHTSA; no overall rating from IIHS

MPG: 26

Overall: Consumer Reports gives the small SUV a lamentable 35 out of 100, partly because of very low predicted reliability and owner satisfaction scores. J.D. Power has not yet rated it.

Yearly fuel cost: $1,050

Price: Pop, the lowest-priced version of this small SUV, starts at $25,085.

spinner image 2020 maroon Honda Odyssey
Honda North America (actual trim not pictured)

6. Honda Odyssey LX

Average premium: $1,353

Crash rating: 5 stars, the top rating; also 2020 IIHS top safety pick

MPG: 22

Overall: Consumer Reports gives this minivan, the only of its kind on the inexpensive-to-insure list, just 61 out of 100, dragged down partly because of a poor predicted reliability score, 2 out of 5. J.D. Power rates it 78 out of 100.

Yearly fuel cost: $1,250

Price: LX starts at $31,910.

spinner image red Subaru Forester on a scenic road
Subaru (actual trim not pictured)

7. Subaru Forester 2.5

Average premium: $1,373

Crash rating: 5 stars, the top rating; also 2020 IIHS top safety pick plus, the highest rating

MPG: 29

Overall: Consumer Reports gives it a good 84 and puts it on its recommended list, buoyed by high on-the-road score and maximum predicted owner satisfaction. J.D. Power rates it 81 out of 100.

Yearly fuel cost: $950

Price: Starts at $25,050.

spinner image red Mazca CX-5 on a scenic road
Mitchell Hubble

8. (tie) Mazda CX-5

Average premium: $1,374

Crash rating: 5 stars, the top rating; also 2020 IIHS top safety pick plus, the highest rating

MPG: 26 to 28, depending on all- or front-wheel drive

Overall: Consumer Reports gives it a strong 84 out of 100 and puts it on its recommended list. J.D. Power rates it 80 out of 100.

Yearly fuel cost: $1,000 to $1,050

Price: Base Sport model starts at $26,290.

spinner image 2020 gray Jeep Renegade Limited
FCA US LLC (actual trim not pictured)

8. (tie) Jeep Renegade Sport

Average premium: $1,374

Crash rating: 4 of 5 stars. IIHS gave the 2019 top safety pick recognition but notes for 2020 that the rating applies only to vehicles with optional front crash protection and certain headlights.

MPG: 24 to 25, depending on all- or front-wheel drive

Overall: Consumer Reports gives it just 48 out of 100, about what you would expect because most scores in individual categories are likewise mediocre. J.D. Power has not yet rated it.

Yearly fuel cost: $1,050 to $1,150

Price: Sport model starts at $23,870.

spinner image 2019 Honda HR-V Sport
Honda North America (actual trim not pictured)

10. Honda HR-V LX

Average premium: $1,377

Crash rating: 5 stars, the top rating; also 2019 IIHS top safety pick but notes for 2020 notation that you must have optional front-crash protection and certain headlights to qualify, which you won't get standard on the basic LX that is the cheap-to-insure car.

MPG: 28 to 30, depending on all- or front-wheel drive

Overall: Consumer Reports gives it a mediocre 66 out of 100, weighed down a bit by a low predicted owner satisfaction index of 2 out of 5. J.D. Power rates it 76 out of 100.

Yearly fuel cost: $900 to $1,000

Price: Base LX model starts at $21,940.

As the economy awakens, wheel deals abound

All the cars, minivans and SUVs on this year's lists are 2020 models.

You're thinking: “That's crazy. The way this pandemic has wrecked employment, savings and investments, I can't afford to go out and buy a new car right now.”

Now actually could be a good time to buy. Sales of new vehicles in the first four months of 2020 were down 21.7 percent, according to sales tracker Motor Intelligence. Looking just at April, as the threat of the highly contagious coronavirus was in full bloom, shoppers abandoned showrooms and sales were off a breathtaking 47 percent.

Use the AARP Auto Buying Program to purchase your next car from home

"It's a buyer's market,” says Jessica Caldwell, car shopping and research site Edmunds.com's executive director of insights. “And while there aren't a lot of buyers right now, those in a position to purchase a new vehicle are taking advantage of the most generous financing programs we've seen this century.”

Edmunds’ data show that zero percent finance deals accounted for more than a quarter of financed purchases in April, compared to 4.7 percent in March and 3.6 percent in February.

You'll have to do the math to see if you should be a shopper:

• What's your interest rate and payment now?
• How long is left on your loan?
• Is your car worth less than what you owe? That's called being upside down or underwater.

Compare and contrast all those with the much-advertised zero percent loans if your credit rating is good enough so you'll qualify. Don't dismiss the idea of getting a 2020 model until you look at your numbers.

"Consumers who purchase a car right now could potentially save thousands of dollars over the life of their loan compared to those who did a year ago even if they are underwater on their car loan,” Edmunds says.

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AARP Auto Buying Program Powered by TrueCar

Shop for a car with safety features you want. Buyers can get a free AARP Smart Driver course.

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