Expect to shell out the most money if you’re buying a red-hot sports coupe or top-shelf luxury sedan.

Though auto insurance rates are largely based on fixed variables, including an owner's age, gender, marital status, driving record, credit score, and address, budget-minded motorists can make their premiums more affordable by choosing a vehicle that’s inherently cheaper to cover. And with Americans holding onto their cars for longer periods than ever – the national average stands at 7.3 years – saving even a few hundred dollars a year can add up to big money over the course of ownership.

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Unfortunately for those who like to live life in the fast lane, the cars that tend to be the cheapest to cover are among the most sedate rides on the road. The family-minded Honda Odyssey minivan is the leader in both regards, with an average annual premium of $1,113. Conversely, the quickest, costliest and, dare we say, most desirable models command the highest premiums, with the V10-propelled Dodge Viper taking the flag among mainstream-brand models at an average $4,048 a year to insure. That’s according to the website Insure.com, which estimated rates from the six largest carriers in ten zip codes per state, for base models, driven by an unmarried forty-year-old male with good credit and a clean record, who commutes twelve miles to work each day, with typical policy limits. 

Why the discrepancy? As a rule of thumb, cheaper cars are assigned lower rates than more expensive models because they tend to be less costly to repair and reach a lower threshold before being “totaled” after an accident. Premiums also vary according to a given make and model’s claims history, including how much damage a given model incurs – and imparts on another vehicle – in a typical crash, the extent of injuries (and fatalities) suffered by occupants and other parties, and which models are more or less likely to be stolen.

As always, check with one or more insurance agents before heading out to a dealer’s showroom to check rates for any vehicles you’re considering, whether new or used.

The Cheapest Cars To Insure

5. Jeep Wrangler: $1,181 annual premium

2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon

The iconic Wrangler is the off-road king, and it’s difficult to get in much more trouble driving one than to scuff it up on the trails. It’s also cheap to fix should one incur damage, with items like the doors, roof, and windshield able to be unbolted and swapped out easily.

4. Jeep Patriot: $1,180 annual premium

2017 Jeep Patriot

The Jeep Patriot crossover SUV checks off all the boxes for cheap insurance rates. It’s neither a target for thieves nor is it built to drive the least bit aggressively, and it’s among the least expensive SUVs on the market.

3. Dodge Grand Caravan: $1,174 annual premium

Dodge Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary Edition 04.04.2013

Demographically, those owning minivans like the longstanding Grand Caravan are probably among the most responsible drivers on the road, with misbehaving kids (“don’t make me come back there”) more likely to cause collisions than a motorist’s misbehavior behind the wheel.

2. Honda CR-V: $1,170 annual premium

2017 Honda CR-V: First Drive

Another compact SUV, the Honda CR-V is an introvert even among a field of mainly passive crossovers; its main mission is safe and sane transportation for budding families and empty nesters.

1. Honda Odyssey: $1,113 annual premium

2018 Honda Odyssey: First Drive

Let’s put it this way, what self-respecting enthusiastic driver would want to purchase and pilot any vehicle that can be fitted with a built-in vacuum cleaner? Or does driving a minivan with toddlers in tow tend to tame the tempers of even the most maniacal motorists?

 

The Costliest Cars To Insure

5. Porsche Panamera S Executive: $3,484 annual premium

2017 Porsche Panamera Executive

Part sports car and part limo, the Executive moniker denotes it as being the long-wheelbase version of Porsche’s (don’t call it a) sedan, with a six-figure sticker price and 440 horsepower on tap. This is one of the few ways to easily get into a heap of trouble driving a car that comes with four doors.

4. Mercedes-AMG S63: $3,513 annual premium

2017 Mercedes-AMG S63 Sedan: Review

The AMG S63 is what happens when engineers bolt a hand-built 577-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine into one of the world’s poshest luxury cars. There’s nothing cheap about it, including the requisite speeding tickets.

3. Mercedes-Benz S600: $3,539 annual premium

2015 Mercedes S600

The S600 takes a more traditional route to imbue Mercedes’ esteemed S Class with scenery-blurring horsepower than the above S63 AMG’s turbocharging approach. That would be with additional cylinders – a total of 12 in this case – to put a smooth, yet sudden 523 horsepower to the pavement.

2. Mercedes-AMG SL65: $3,797 annual premium

Mercedes-AMG SL65

The higher-performance AMG variant of Mercedes’ already-randy roadster turns heads with its sleek good looks and snaps necks with a 621-horsepower biturbo V12 engine. Its $200,000-plus price tag assures every repair is a major one, at least financially.

1. Dodge Viper: $4,048 annual premium 

2016 Dodge Viper TA

Taking a final lap with a quartet of limited-edition models before being mothballed at the end of the model year, only a relative handful of Vipers are sold annually to unbridled enthusiasts who are willing and able to commit to driving a low-slung car with ticket-magnet styling that favors sheer go-power – with 645 galloping horses – over any semblance of comfort.

 

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