Looking for the cheapest used car to insure? As it turns out, there may not be one single best option for all drivers.
In this article, we’ll list some of the cheapest cars to insure. While this may be a good starting point when looking for used cars, the cost of auto insurance premiums can vary greatly by driver and location. Rather than looking for a specific car model, it's better to know what to look for when purchasing a car and how to compare rates.
It’s financially smart to look for an affordable used car to insure, as a low auto insurance premium will save you money in the long term. We provide advice for finding such a vehicle and recommend the best car insurance companies for low-cost policies.
In this article:
- What Makes A Used Car Cheap To Insure?
- What Are The Cheapest Models To Insure?
- How To Reduce Your Car Insurance Premium
- Best Car Insurance Companies
- FAQ: Cheapest Used Cars To Insure
What Makes A Used Car Cheap To Insure?
The vehicle you drive is one of several factors that affect car insurance premiums. Used and older cars are typically cheaper to insure than new cars because they use older technology and repairs cost less. Insurers also set individual rates for customers based on factors such as age, credit score, driving record, location, and marital status.
If you're trying to get the lowest auto insurance rates, choosing certain vehicles can help. When looking for the cheapest used car to insure, consider the following:
- Safety features: Many providers offer discounts for vehicles with safety features like anti-lock brakes and airbags. Passengers are less likely to be seriously injured after a crash, which means lower medical bills.
- Safety ratings: The overall crash safety rating of a vehicle influences annual premiums. Two cars may have the same safety features, but one of them may have a safer construction overall, for example.
- Anti-theft features: Anti-theft features can reduce the likelihood that your vehicle is stolen and increase the chances of recovering your vehicle if it is stolen. As with safety features, many insurers provide discounts on comprehensive car insurance coverage for vehicles with anti-theft features installed.
- Value of vehicle: The more expensive the car, the higher the cost of insurance.
- Add-on features: Add-on features such as luxury accessories increase the value of the vehicle and make it more expensive to repair or replace. Car insurance rates are higher for cars that have all the bells and whistles.
- Type of vehicle: Sports cars, high-end luxury models, and electric vehicles are expensive cars to insure, as they have unique components and cost more to repair. Drivers of sports cars are also more likely to speed, which means insurers increase rates for these types of cars.
- Repair costs: In general, a car that is more expensive to repair will be more expensive to insure. Cars that use standard parts are cheaper to insure, whereas cars that use especially old, rare, or hard-to-find components will cost more to insure.
In general, when looking for the cheapest used car to insure, look for vehicles around five to ten model years old that are standard, reliable models without extra accessories.
Choose The Right Coverage
Another big part of finding cheap car insurance is to get the appropriate coverage level for your car. The cheapest option is to get your state's minimum bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.
If you take out an auto loan to buy a used car, you will probably be required to have collision and comprehensive coverage depending on the value of the loan and age of the car. However, if you can pay for the car with cash, you get to decide whether to buy these coverages or not.
As a rule of thumb, if your car is valued at $3,000 or below, you probably don't need collision or comprehensive coverage. If you have an expensive repair, the car might not be worth fixing. Similarly, if your car is over 10 years old, you likely don't need a full coverage insurance policy.
Another way to look at it is to see how much you'd pay for full coverage and compare it to the car's value. If you pay 10 percent of your car's value for comprehensive and collision coverage, it might not be worth it.
As an example, let's say you pay $1,000 for car insurance and $700 of that is for comprehensive and collision coverage. If your car is worth $5,000, you're paying more than 10 percent of its value for comprehensive and collision.
Of course, you'll need to cover damage to your car in accidents you cause. Be sure you can take on this risk before dropping full coverage.
What Are The Cheapest Models To Insure?
While there may not be one model that is always the cheapest used car to insure, there are several models that meet many of the criteria mentioned above and are good vehicles to look for when starting your search. Whether you're looking for a sedan, minivan, or SUV, you have options:
- Chrysler Pacifica
- Chrysler PT Cruiser
- Chevrolet Equinox
- Dodge Caravan
- Ford Escape
- Ford Taurus
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Honda CR-V
- Honda Odyssey
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Kia Sedona
- Mazda 3
- Nissan Sentra
- Subaru Forester
- Subaru Outback
- Toyota Camry
- Toyota RAV4
- Volkswagen Jetta
To begin your hunt for the cheapest used car to insure, start by checking dealership websites for these models or other cars that meet the criteria discussed above. Most used car dealerships have online listings of their inventory that include all the information an insurer would want to know, such as mileage and vehicle identification number (VIN).
Before you purchase a used vehicle, you might consider having the vehicle inspected. Any reputable dealership will allow you to do this. Also, be sure to consider maintenance costs when selecting a used car. Even if one car has a cheaper monthly insurance premium, it could cost you more down the road if it regularly requires maintenance. RepairPal is a good source to research vehicle reliability and average annual maintenance and repair costs.
How To Reduce Your Car Insurance Premium
In addition to choosing the right car, there are other ways that drivers can lower their auto insurance premiums. The best way to find the lowest price available to you is to shop around and compare options from multiple auto insurance providers.
If you already have another type of insurance, such as homeowners insurance, consider insuring your car with the same company. Many providers offer discounts for bundling home and auto insurance. Also, consider looking for insurers that offer usage-based coverage options. If you are a safe driver and don’t often drive late at night or on weekends, you may be able to save big this way. Several providers have mobile apps that track your driving habits to reduce premiums.
You can also increase your deductible if your budget allows. You'll pay more if you get into an accident, but you'll pay less for your policy each month.
Best Car Insurance Companies
Once it comes time to purchase insurance for your used car, it may not necessarily be the best idea to go with the lowest-priced option. Be sure that you balance cost with reliability and quality claims servicing. Two providers that we recommend for drivers looking for low-cost, high-quality auto insurance are Geico and USAA.
Our review team has closely studied the best car insurance companies in the industry based on cost, discounts, industry reputation, customer reviews, and more. Finding a reputable provider is important, but by far the best way to find the lowest price is to compare multiple car insurance quotes.
Geico: Best Overall
Geico is one of the largest insurers in the United States. In 2021, the insurer wrote over $37.4 billion in premiums. There is a reason Geico is so popular: it provides low insurance costs for high-level coverage.
Geico’s usage-based insurance option, DriveEasy®, can be an excellent tool for reducing premiums. The app tracks distracted driving, hard braking, and driving times to offer policy reductions. However, it is only available in select states.
We rate Geico 4.6 out of 5.0 stars and name it the Best Overall provider because of its high levels of customer satisfaction, full coverage options, and strong industry reputation. It has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best.
Learn more by reading our full Geico auto insurance review.
USAA: Best For Military
USAA has affordable rates and a high number of discount options. Like Geico, it has an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and a long history of meeting customer claim obligations. We rate USAA 4.8 out of 5.0, which is higher than any other provider. The one drawback is that it is not available to all customers. Only military members and their families qualify for a policy.
USAA has some of the cheapest car insurance rates of any insurer and many discount opportunities for drivers who sign up for automatic payments, take a defensive driving course, receive good grades in school, and more.
Learn more by reading our full USAA auto insurance review.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.