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How to pick a car that’s cheaper to insure

Ned Ehrbar
Producer

In our money mailbag this week, a viewer asks: “I’m in the market for a new car, but hoping to keep monthly payments as low as possible. What type of cars are the cheapest to insure?”

It’s no secret that car costs are climbing. In fact, the national average yearly premium for insurance went up by just over 10% in the past year – from $1,645 in 2018 to $1,812.

If you’re in the market for a new car, a new report by Insure.com compares car insurance rates of 3,000 vehicles in every state and breaks down the most expensive and least expensive cars to insure -- so you can narrow down your search based on what it will most likely cost to insure the vehicle.

Of course, car model is just one one factor in determining your own insurance rate. A lot of it depends on where you live, how old you are and what kind of driver you’ve been.

Topping the list of least expensive cars? The Honda Odyssey, a popular minivan that often takes the No. 1 spot -- in fact, it’s been No. 1 in 8 out of the last 10 years. The rest of the list is made up SUVs and crossovers, with only one sedan in the top 20 -- the Honda Fit, at No. 14.

Sedans used to do better in the rankings, but they’ve been usurped by SUVs. “It’s parents that are driving the SUVs now, so the people who are driving better -- parents, basically -- are getting the cheaper prices for insurance,” Insure.com’s Penny Gusner says.

“A lot of sedans now are being driven by the kids when they hit their 20s because they’re smaller cars and they’re affordable,” Gusner says. But 20-somethings aren’t as responsible as “the parents that are lugging around their kids.”

The most expensive car to insure is the Nissan GT-R, which edged out the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Porsche. Those three luxury automakers made up the rest of the top 10 list. The last time this Nissan topped the list was 2014.

“It’s only about $100,000, compared to the second-place car, which is $200,000 for the MSRP,” Gusner says, explaining that the car’s more frequent use makes it more costly to insure than pricier models. “It’s more expensive to insure than a car that maybe sits in the parking garages of the rich and famous and only gets taken out every now and again,” Gusner says.

If you’re in the market, shop around for insurance and compare what different companies are offering. There are other ways to save on car insurance if you don’t use your car that much. Companies like Metromile offer insurance at a much lower monthly fee, plus a pay-per-mile rate, that keeps track of how much you drive using a device that attaches to your dashboard.

The company currently operates in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, with plans to expand nationwide, and its service is most useful to drivers who hit the road fewer than 1,000 miles a month on average.

Need answers? Send us your questions to moneyquestions@yahoo.com

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter.

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