The Least -- and Most -- Expensive Cars to Insure

February 22, 2011

A reader asks: Why are some cars cheaper to insure than others, and which cars are the least expensive to insure? We run down the list of Top 10 least-expensive -- and most-expensive -- vehicles to insure.

Q: Why are some cars cheaper to insure than others, and which cars are least expensive to insure?A: How much you pay for auto insurance depends on a number of factors, and the type of car you drive is one of them. The more expensive your ride, the more you’ll pay to insure it. Why? Luxury cars are packed with pricey accessories and components, such as a 10-speaker sound system and run-flat puncture-resistant tires. Even a minor accident could result in big repair bill.

An annual study by auto-insurance quote website Insure.com found the Mercedes SL65 AMG roadster is the most-expensive car to insure. Its average annual national premium is $3,543.81 -- and that’s for someone with a good driving record! The website notes, however, that the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $198,750. If you can afford that, you probably aren’t too concerned about saving money on car insurance.

The number of safety features your vehicle has also plays a role in how much your insurance premiums cost. Insure,com says insurers factor in your vehicle’s "loss history," which simply means how often claims are typically filed on that particular model, and how much those claims cost. That means that vehicles that are typically driven by the safest drivers -- think minivans and SUVs -- tend to be the least expensive to insure.

The Insure.com study found that the cheapest vehicle to insure is the Chrysler Town & Country LX minivan, with an average annual premium of $1,091.80. Four of the Top 10 least-expensive cars to insure were Toyotas (the Sienna 4- and 6-cyclinder models, the Sienna LE, and the Highlander). Below you’ll find Insure.com’s Top 10 least-expensive and most-expensive cars to insure.

2011 Vehicles with the Lowest Car Insurance Rates

Rank

Make

Model

Style

Cyclinders

Average Annual Premium

1.

Chrysler

Town & Country LX

4 Door Wagon

6

$1,091.80

2.

Toyota

Sienna

5 Door Wagon

4

$1,100.66

3.

Toyota

Sienna LE

5 Door Wagon

4

$1,107.70

4.

Honda

Odyssey LX

5 Door 2WD SOHC

6

$1,114.62

5.

Nissan

Murano SL

2WD 4 Door Utility

6

$1,127.89

6.

Jeep

Wrangler Unlimited Sport

4WD 4 Door Utility

6

$1,131.27

7.

Honda

Odyssey EX

5 Door 2WD SOHC

6

$1,138.16

8.

Toyota

Sienna

5 Door Wagon

6

$1,142.94

9.

Ford

Escape XLS

4WD 4 Door SUV

4

$1,150.26

10.

Toyota

Highlander

4 Door 2WD Utility

4

$1,154.02

2011 Vehicles with the Highest Car Insurance Rates

Rank

Make

Model

Style

Cylinders

Average Annual Premium

1.

Mercedes

SL65 AMG

2 Door Convertible

12

$3,543.81

2.

BMW

750i

4 Door Sedan Hybrid

8

$3,280.70

3.

BMW

750Li

4 Door Sedan Hybrid

8

$3,280.70

4.

Mercedes

SL63 AMG

2 Door Convertible

8

$3,263.46

5.

Mercedes

S65 AMG

4 Door Sedan Turbo

12

$3,220.86

6.

Aston Martin

DB9

2 Door Coupe

12

$3,120.45

7.

Mercedes

CL600

2 Door Coupe

12

$3,114.28

8.

Porsche

911 Carrera S

2 Door Cabriolet

6

$3,092.31

9.

Aston Martin

DB9 Volante

2 Door Convertible

12

$3,088.96

10.

Mercedes

G55 AMG

4WD 4 Door Utility

8

$3,086.49

See the complete list of least-expensive and most-expensive vehicles to insure here.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR "ASK THE EXPERT"? Email Physician's Money Digest at tcullen@hcplive.com.