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While many factors go into setting car insurance rates, the type of car you drive is absolutely one of them. Insurers look at numerous vehicle factors, including accident claim rates, repair costs, theft frequency, safety ratings, and of course, the cost of the vehicle.

If you want the cheapest auto insurance rates, it's a good idea to car shop like your parents. In other words, don't look at the sports car or the top of the line luxury ride outfitted with all the latest gadgets.

Cheapest Car InsuranceInstead, think about the car your mother would have bought. Keeping your premium affordable means putting a minivan, hatchback or small SUV in the garage. You know, a nice, reliable automobile.

The cheapest vehicles to insure are ones that are popular with reliable and safe drivers while also having the lowest number of claims. A sports car meant to go 180 mph will likely have more speeding tickets than a minivan used to transport the kids to soccer practice.

We analyzed rates in every state for approximately 3,000 different vehicle models. Our team pulled insurance quotes from six major insurance companies and averaged the premiums and compiled the list below.

Here are the Cheapest Cars to Insure for 2020 :

Cheapest Cars to Insure for 2020
Rank Make Model Average Rate
1MazdaCX-3 Sport$1,324
2HondaCR-V LX$1,333
3WranglerSport S$1,334
4SubaruOutback 2.51$1,335
5Fiat500X Pop$1,336
6HondaOdyssey LX$1,353
7SubaruForester 2.5l$1,373
8MazdaCX-5$1,374
8JeepRenegade Sport$1,374
10HondaHR-V LX$1,377
11HondaFit LX Sensing$1,379
12JeepCompass Sport$1,392
12SubaruCrosstrek$1,392
14FordEscape S$1,397
15ChryslerPacifica Touring$1,403
15BuickEncore Preferred$1,403
15HyundaiTucson SE$1,403
18GMCCanyon$1,411
19GMCSavana G2500 LS$1,413
20ChevroletExpress G 2500 LS$1,416
20HondaPilot LX$1,416
20DodgeGrand Caravan SE$1,416

Cheapest cars to insure 2020

The Mazda CX-3 came out on top as the cheapest car to insure this year. The CX-3 only costs $1,324 to insure which is $580 less than the national average of $1,904. The Honda CR-V LX came in second with a premium of $1,333 and the Jeep Wrangler Sport S rounded out the top three.

As usual, SUV and CUVs dominated the list. There was a whopping 15 SUVs and CUVs in the top 20. Five vans managed to make the grade as did one sedan and one pickup.

The CX-3 is a small CUV that is extremely popular with families and it is packed with safety features. The 148-horsepower engine has enough juice to get your around but it's not exactly powerful, leading to a low insurance premium.

The Honda CR-V LX nabbed the number two spot with an annual premium of $1,333. In fact, Honda managed to put five vehicles in the top 20, including the CR-V, Odyssey and the HR-V LX. Safety features abound in Honda vehicles which tends to push down insurance premiums.

Lane-departure warning with steering assist is newly standard for 2020, as is forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Cars loaded with advanced safety features are involved in fewer accidents, which prevents claims, leading to lower insurance costs.

The Jeep Wrangler JL Sport S finished third this year, costing $1,334 a year to insure, which is not really a surprise. Jeeps are fairly bare bones which makes them cheap to repair, and cheap to insure.

The Subaru Outback 2.5I slotted into the fourth-place spot and the Fiat 500X Pop rounded out the top five. Subaru's are loaded with advanced safety features, even the base models are equipped with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which includes active safety features like Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Centering Function, all of which leads to lower premiums.

While many of the vehicles on the list are SUVs and CUVs, there are a few other options. Three minivans hit the top 20, the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica Touring and the Dodge Grand Caravan SE. If you are in the market for a pickup, there are two options to choose from that come with affordable insurance rates, the GMC Canyon and the Ford F-150 XL.

How car models affect insurance rates?

Our list clearly points out that the sticker price, target audience, repair costs and safety features in a vehicle impact insurance costs. Vehicles that are designed with families in mind tend to come loaded with safety features and rank high on least expensive to insure lists.

A few vehicle factors that insurers consider:

  • People driving the vehicle: If a car is popular with families, or any other group known to be safe drivers an insurer will likely charge lower rates for that vehicle.
  • Safety features: Cars with lane departure alerts, back-up cameras, autonomous braking and automatic restraint systems should have fewer accidents and claims. Insurers, in turn, may offer lower rates on those vehicles.
  • Repair costs: Vehicle repairs are more complicated than 20 years ago which pushes up the cost of fixing a vehicle. Camera's and sensors can make even a fender bender a fairly expensive repair and all of that expense is passed on to you via higher insurance premiums.
  • Sticker price: More expensive vehicles will likely cost more to insure. If the vehicle gets destroyed, the insurer will have to pay a hefty claim. More repair costs mean higher rates for you.
  • Claim rates: Insurance companies love data. One data point that insurers look at which will impact your rates is the claim rate of your particular vehicle. If your vehicle is a favorite of car thieves or is just prone to claims, you will pay more for car insurance regardless of whether you have ever made a claim or not.
  • Trim level: The trim level you choose can also impact your rates. A higher trim level often adds expensive features and possibly a bigger engine, both of which make the car more expensive to repair or replace, resulting in a higher premium. The majority of vehicles on our list are the base model trim so moving up the trim level ladder will add features (and costs) to the car, pushing up the cost of insurance.

If cheap insurance is important, avoid these types of vehicles

The data clearly shows, the type of car you drive impacts the cost of your insurance. Avoid these vehicles to keep your insurance costs low:

  • Sports cars: Avoid sports cars like the plague if you want to keep your insurance affordable. Sports cars are designed to be driven fast which can lead to tickets, accidents and claims, all factors insurers hate, leading to higher rates.
  • High-end luxury cars: These cars are expensive to insure for a couple of different reasons. First, they come with a hefty price tag so if the car is destroyed the insurer will have to write a big check to replace it. Second, luxury vehicles are packed to the gills with expensive technology and finishes which make them pricey to repair.
  • Electric vehicles: A giant battery and high-end technology make these vehicles expensive to repair or replace. The battery alone can run thousands of dollars if it needs to be replaced.
  • Favorites of car thieves: If the vehicle you are considering makes an appearance on any "most stolen vehicles" list you will be paying more for insurance.

Other factors insurers consider

The vehicle you drive is not the only thing insurers consider when setting a premium. Here are a few factors that will impact your rate:

  • Your Driving record: Your driving record is one of the biggest factors insurance companies consider. If you have multiple tickets, accidents or claims on your record, your premium is headed sky-high. Avoid tickets and claims to keep your insurance rates as low as possible and use your insurance only for major accidents. The good news is that you have complete control over this factor (unlike some others) so drive safe to lower your insurance costs.
  • Location of your vehicle: The reason insurers care about where your car sits each night is because they have to pay for a new one if it is stolen. If your neighborhood is known for crime you will be paying a higher rate for insurance.
  • Age and gender: Statistics show that young drivers (particularly male drivers) are involved in more accidents and tickets. This leads to higher rates, if you have a teen driver in the house prepare for your insurance bill to almost double.
  • Your specific vehicle: If your vehicle is designed for speed, or loaded with luxury features, you will pay a higher rate for coverage. Family friendly vehicles loaded with safety features (think minivans and SUVs) garner the lowest rates.
  • Credit score: Most insurers use your credit score when setting your rates and it can have a big impact on your rates. Statistics show that drivers with low credit scores tend to file more claims so if your score is less than stellar you will pay higher rates.

Shop insurance when car shopping

It’s a good idea to shop your insurance coverage when buying a new car. Insurance costs can vary dramatically from one car to another, even among trim levels of the same vehicle. Gather insurance quotes on any vehicle you are considering so there are no surprises when it’s time to insure your new ride. When getting quotes be sure you get one for each vehicle and trim level you are considering.

A few tips to lower your insurance costs

There are ways to get lower car insurance rates without resorting to poor coverage. Here are some ideas:

  • Discounts: Insurers offer many discounts and your job is to make sure every discount you qualify for is applied to your policy. Common discounts include bundling, good student, low mileage drivers and even going paperless on your policy. Ask your agent to do a discount review to make sure you are getting all available discounts.
  • Defensive driving course: Many insurance companies will discount your premium if you take an approved defensive driving course. This is especially helpful with teen drivers. Ask your agent for details and a list of approved courses.
  • Paperless policy: Most insurance companies will offer a small discount if you go paperless on your policy. Receiving your policy details and bills via email may not result in a huge discount but they all add up.
  • Raise your deductible: Raising your policy’s deductible can result in a major discount. If possible, double your deductible but always choose a deductible you can easily afford in the event you have to make a claim on your policy.
  • Shop around: This is probably the best way to lower your premium. You should shop your rates at least once a year, getting quotes from at least five insurers. Check into the companies to make sure you’re comfortable with them before signing up for a policy.
  • Improve your credit score: As mentioned above, your credit score can have a big impact on your rates. If possible, improve your score to lower your insurance rates. Pay your bills on time, pull a credit report and look for errors and if you find any get them corrected. As your credit scores improves ask your agent to rerun your premium.