Filling up a hybrid carNobody enjoys crunching numbers more than someone who just bought an eco-friendly car.

Most buyers carefully consider the payback time for the higher sticker price of a hybrid model. But they should look at insurance as well, especially as more stringent mileage standards make all cars much more efficient than in the past.

Higher insurance costs could erase much of the potential savings on gas. compared auto insurance rates for a variety of traditional gas vehicles and their high-mileage counterparts, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, diesels and economy-tuned versions of standard cars. In every pairing we researched, the fuel-saving model cost more to insure — in some cases, several hundred dollars a year more.

That may be due to their higher values or to higher costs for repairs after an accident.

While your own rate for each car would be based on where you live, your age, the insurance companies you compare and what your driving record looks like, the relative differences should remain the same.

Comparison of average rates in California

  • Buick Lacrosse $1,869
  • Buick Lacrosse Leather Hybrid $1,984
  • Chevrolet Cruze LS $1,606
  • Chevrolet Cruze Eco $1,692
  • Chevrolet Volt $2,092
  • Lincoln MKZ $1,856
  • Lincoln MKZ Hybrid $1,951
  • Toyota Corolla S $1,703
  • Toyota Prius $1,663
  • Toyota Prius Plug-In $1,762
  • Volkswagen Jetta SE $1,649
  • Volkswagen Jetta TDI $1,735
  • Volkswagen Toureg $1,799
  • Volkswagen Toureg Hybrid $2,088

California Car Insurance Rates by ZIP Code

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State Minimum: Required liability coverage to drive legally in your state; some states mandate additional coverage, such as personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist. Liability Only 50/100/50: $50,000 per person/$100,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $50,000 for property damage. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others. Full Coverage 100/300/100: $100,000 per person/$300,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $100,000 for property damage; comprehensive and collision coverage with $500 deductible. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others. Comprehensive and collision pay for damage to your car.
94404 Foster City
For  30  Year Old   Male  (Type:  Liability - Minimum )
Average Monthly Premium
highest rate Highest Rate $68/mo.
lowest rate Lowest Rate $27/mo.
Compare personalized quotes from up to 20 companies in California now
90212 - Beverly Hills: $87
90210 - Beverly Hills: $87
91356 - Tarzana: $85
91203 - Glendale: $85
96094 - Weed: $35
95528 - Carlotta: $36
96027 - Etna: $36
96107 - Coleville: $36

Some insurance companies, such as Travelers and Geico, offer discounts on hybrids in certain states that could even out some of the difference in costs. The discounts can reach 5 to 10 percent off major coverages of collision, comprehensive and liability. Many states still offer incentives on new purchases, too.

But car insurance is a bill that comes every six months. Even a difference of a few hundred dollars, year after year, could easily outweigh marginal savings on fuel.

Methodology commissioned the data from Quadrant Information Services. Averages are based on a 40-year-old male driver who commutes 12 miles to work, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive insurance. The policy includes uninsured-motorist coverage. Rates were averaged across multiple ZIP codes and six large insurance companies. Average rates are for comparative purposes; your rate will depend on your personal factors.

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Michelle Megna
Contributing Researcher

Michelle is a writer, editor and expert on car insurance and personal finance. She's a former editorial director. Prior to joining, she reported and edited articles on technology, lifestyle, education and government for magazines, websites and major newspapers, including the New York Daily News.