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STUDY: The major impact of vehicle type on your auto insurance rates

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

    Article Highlights

    If you’re looking for the most affordable auto insurance, the good news is that you’re in control of one of the biggest factors that determines the cost of your coverage

    As the Insurance Information Institute indicates, “The cost of your car is a major factor in the cost to insure it.”

    Coverage performed this study to find out just how much of an impact your vehicle type has on rates. This information indicates approximately how much drivers pay for insurance based on the type of car driven and whether it was purchased new or used. 

    If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, this study should help you understand the role your future vehicle will play in your insurance costs. We’ve gathered data points to help you make cost-saving decisions. 

    To illuminate how vehicle type impacts auto insurance costs, we compared vehicles with a set coverage amount for five different makes and models:

    • Electric: Tesla MS
    • SUV: Nissan Armada
    • Sedan: Toyota Camry
    • Hybrid: Toyota Prius
    • Truck: Ford F-150

    These sample models from each primary vehicle category provide an approximate idea of coverage costs. 

    We looked at the cost of full coverage for these models purchased in 2019 (new cars) and compared that against those same models purchased in 2015 (used cars). To provide further context, we compared these data points across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.  

    If you’re in the market — or soon to be— for a vehicle purchase, the data from this study can be helpful to get an idea of how much your auto insurance will cost based on vehicle type. 

    Which is cheaper to insure: used or new?

    Annual premiums by vehicle type

    Car2019 (New)2015 (Used)
    Tesla MS$4,426$3,593
    Nissan Armada$2,360$1,981
    Toyota Camry$2,163$1,963
    Toyota Prius$2,148$1,965
    Ford F-150$1,904$1,821

    Quadrant Information Services, 2020

    Because new cars are generally considered more reliable and usually come with more safety features, you might assume insurers look favorably on them — resulting in more affordable coverage.

    Ultimately, insurers might lower your premiums for robust safety features, but the primary factor when it comes to vehicle type and auto insurance is the overall value of your automobile. Older or less valuable vehicles are generally much cheaper to repair or replace. Lower total claim cost means less risk to insure you and your vehicle. 

    Typically, the less your car is worth, the less your auto insurance will cost. When comparing auto insurance for new and used cars, this also means that used cars will likely be cheaper to insure, as cars depreciate in value over time.

    The cost difference for new versus used is most notable for full coverage, which includes comprehensive and collision coverage. Full coverage provides a higher degree of protection to your vehicle, meaning it can pay to replace your car if you cause an accident or your vehicle gets stolen. With higher coverage limits, the age and vehicle-type is more important to insurers. 

    If you just carry minimum liability coverage — which applies to damaged property or injury to another person in an at-fault accident — the car you drive is usually less important when calculating rates because the insurer is not really protecting your car.

    In short, vehicle factors that generally affect your auto insurance costs include:

    • A lower vehicle value
    • An older vehicle (which plays a significant role in vehicle value)
    • Coverage limits

    Which car is the most expensive to insure?

    Tesla MS

    Car2019 (New)2015 (Used)
    Tesla MS$4,426$3,593

    The latest in vehicle technology comes at an expensive price for insurance. As a representative of cutting-edge vehicles in its class, the Tesla MS tops our list for most expensive vehicle-type to insure. 

    The data indicates it costs more than $6,000 a year to insure a 2019 Tesla MS in the following states:

    • Washington, D.C. ($7,759 new, $5,792 used)
    • New York ($6,429 new, $5,205 used)
    • California ($6,193 new, $5,433 used)
    • Arkansas ($6,130 new, $4,659 used)
    • Michigan ($6,036 new, $5,018 used)

    In other states, however, rates are far more competitive. Here are the states in which a 2019 Tesla MS are cheapest to insure:

    • Maine ($1,980 new, $1,359 used)
    • North Carolina ($2,140 new, $1,832 used)
    • Hawaii ($2,443, $1,962 used)
    • Vermont ($2,447 new, $1,906 used)
    • Ohio ($2,702 new, $2,150 used)

    It’s worth noting, Washington and Wisconsin rank with similar rates to the top 5 for affordability. 

    In all of these states, a used 2015 Tesla MS reflected significantly lower annual premiums. Particularly in the more expensive-to-insure states, you can potentially save about $1,000 a year by choosing a used Tesla. 

    Compared to the other vehicle types listed in our study, Tesla models cost much more to insure. Even in Maine, where the Tesla is cheapest to insure, it’s still nearly $1,000 more than the next-cheapest-to-insure vehicle. 

    This is because Teslas — and all-electric vehicles in general — are more advanced in technology and are often more costly to repair. If you need to get a replacement vehicle due to a covered cause, the insurance payout will be higher.  Those higher repair costs are passed to you in the form of high premiums.

    While you won’t necessarily save much on auto insurance, electric vehicles are ideal for eco-conscious, tech lovers. Plus, saving on gas costs can help mitigate higher insurance fees.

    Nissan Armada

    Car2019 (New)2015 (Used)
    Nissan Armada$2,360$1,981

    Representing the SUV class, the Nissan Armada takes second place in terms of cost to insure. While Nissan Armadas may not necessarily be more expensive to insure than other makes within this class, SUVs in general run higher for insurance costs, based on the data. 

    Here are the five states where rates were the highest for Nissan Armadas:

    • New York ($3,930 new, $3,382 used)
    • Michigan ($3,667 new, $3,115 used)
    • Louisiana ($3,440 new, $3,057 used)
    • Arkansas ($3,330 new, $2,699 used)
    • Florida ($3,242 new, $2,976 used)

    In these states, rates for Armadas were the lowest:

    • Maine ($976 new, $764 used)
    • Vermont ($1,185 new, $975 used)
    • Idaho ($1,330 new, $1,056 used)
    • Hawaii ($1,330 new, $1,121 used)
    • Ohio ($1,412 new, $1,171 used)

    An interesting note; although Tesla owners see savings in the four-figure range for choosing used, Armada owners see only a few hundred or so in savings for choosing a used vehicle.  

    SUVs are among the more expensive-to-insure vehicles, largely because of the higher purchase prices in general. Extra seating or cargo room and higher terrain performance requires budgeting a little more for car insurance. 

    Which car is the least expensive to insure?

    Ford F-150

    Car2019 (New)2015 (Used)
    Ford F-150$1,904$1,821

    Although a truck, the Ford F-150 came in as the cheapest vehicle to insure in our study. It’s important to note that this specific model is not entirely representative of its class. Trucks vary in cost to insure, depending on the size and cost of the model. 

    But the F-150 stands in our study as the cheapest vehicle to insure, thanks to low repair and replacement costs. Popularity of this vehicle helps keep purchase and repair costs lower, which results in more affordable coverage compared to other truck models. 

    F-150 insurance cost the least in the following states:

    • Maine ($715 new, $676 used)
    • Vermont ($907 new, $894 used)
    • Idaho ($1,002 new, $939 used)
    • Ohio ($1,099 new, $1,042 used)
    • Hawaii ($1,102 new, $1,058 used)

    Conversely, these states saw the highest rates for F-150s:

    • New York ($3,224 new, $3,066 used)
    • Michigan ($2,994 new, $2,856 used)
    • Florida ($2,902 new, $2,823 used)
    • Louisiana ($2,848 new, $2,869 used)
    • Arkansas ($2,677 new, $2,425 used)

    If you’re looking to buy a truck and want to keep your auto insurance affordable, consider a Ford F-150. 

    Toyota Prius

    Car2019 (New)2015 (Used)
    Toyota Prius$2,148$1,965

    Coming in second as least-expensive to insure, the Toyota Prius will get you great gas mileage without the electric-car effect on your premiums. 

    It’s worth noting here that the Prius has very similar insurance rates to the Toyota Camry. In many states, in fact, the Camry is more affordable to insure than the Prius. That’s because as a hybrid, repairs and replacement parts for the Prius can cost more in some states compared to a standard sedan. 

    That being said, the Prius does reflect competitively-low auto insurance in many states. In these states in particular, rates are lowest for this hybrid:

    • Maine ($869 new, $725 used)
    • Vermont ($1,082 new, $963 used)
    • Hawaii ($1,167 new, $1,106 used)
    • Idaho ($1,188 new, $1,028 used)
    • North Dakota ($1,301 new, $1,173 used)

    Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin were all close runner-ups, with premiums for new Prius vehicles in the $1,300 range. 

    In these five states, rates run higher for a Prius:

    • Michigan ($3,641 new, $3,399 used)
    • New York ($3,538 new, $3,368 used)
    • Louisiana ($3,201 new, $2,976 used)
    • Florida ($3,083 new, $2,926 used)
    • Arkansas ($2,914 new, $2,462 used)

    Although cheaper in many states, Prius prices are higher than the Armada, and even the Tesla, in other states. However, that is a reflection of higher overall costs for insurance in those states. 

    Toyota Camry

    Car2019 (New)2015 (Used)
    Toyota Camry$2,163$1,963

    Right in the middle of the pack, the Camry costs about the same to insure as the Prius, at least on average. Depending on which state you live in, however, the rates vary significantly.

    In these states, insurance costs the least for a Camry:

    • Maine ($843 new, $722 used)
    • Vermont ($1,071 new, $924 used)
    • Idaho ($1,168 new, $1,024 used)
    • Hawaii ($1,207 new, $1,076 used)
    • Ohio ($1,283 new, $1,147 used)

    In some of these states, an auto insurance policy for your Camry could be more affordable than insuring a Prius.

    What about the most expensive states? If you drive a Camry, these states show the highest rates:

    • Michigan ($3,786 new, $3,441 used)
    • New York ($3,671 new, $3,406 used)
    • Florida ($3,186 new, $2,984 used)
    • Louisiana ($3,138 new, $2,967 used)
    • Arkansas ($2,894 new, $2,527 used)

    The Camry and the Prius cost virtually the same to insure in these states due to higher insurance costs overall.

    If you don’t live in one of the most-expensive or least-expensive states, you might be wondering what impact your vehicle choice may have on rates. We’ve got you covered; the chart below shows rates by state for comparison purposes. 

    Vehicles by state

    Tesla

    State20192015
    Alabama$4,186$2,989
    Alaska$3,769$2,761
    Arizona$3,603$3,112
    Arkansas$6,130$4,659
    California$6,193$5,433
    Colorado$4,346$3,415
    Connecticut$3,943$3,199
    Delaware$3,797$3,092
    District of Columbia$7,759$5,792
    Florida$5,922$4,513
    Georgia$4,223$3,402
    Hawaii$2,443$1,962
    Idaho$3,608$2,627
    Illinois$3,789$2,879
    Indiana$3,272$2,419
    Iowa$3,276$2,370
    Kansas$4,232$3,338
    Kentucky$4,569$3,477
    Louisiana$5,889$4,821
    Maine$1,980$1,359
    Maryland$4,796$3,754
    Massachusetts$3,139$2,722
    Michigan$6,036$5,018
    Minnesota$3,968$2,999
    Mississippi$3,814$3,209
    Missouri$5,757$4,099
    Montana$3,900$3,181
    Nebraska$3,377$2,461
    Nevada$4,266$3,628
    New Hampshire$3,231$2,383
    New Jersey$4,248$3,632
    New Mexico$3,389$2,595
    New York$6,429$5,205
    North Carolina$2,140$1,832
    North Dakota$2,868$2,305
    Ohio$2,702$2,150
    Oklahoma$4,042$3,179
    Oregon$3,261$2,582
    Pennsylvania$4,173$3,315
    Rhode Island$5,260$4,040
    South Carolina$2,923$2,284
    South Dakota$3,374$2,684
    Tennessee$3,191$2,651
    Texas$4,551$3,721
    Utah$3,043$2,395
    Vermont$2,447$1,906
    Virginia$3,162$2,434
    Washington$2,771$2,440
    West Virginia$3,863$2,914
    Wisconsin$2,751$2,135
    Wyoming$3,401$2,702

    Armada

    State20192015
    Alabama$2,097$1,700
    Alaska$2,061$1,698
    Arizona$2,175$1,789
    Arkansas$3,330$2,699
    California$2,454$2,106
    Colorado$2,514$2,135
    Connecticut$2,115$1,774
    Delaware$2,259$1,964
    District of Columbia$2,276$1,886
    Florida$3,242$2,976
    Georgia$2,378$2,002
    Hawaii$1,330$1,121
    Idaho$1,330$1,056
    Illinois$2,052$1,677
    Indiana$1,654$1,329
    Iowa$1,592$1,228
    Kansas$2,357$1,841
    Kentucky$2,611$2,120
    Louisiana$3,440$3,057
    Maine$976$764
    Maryland$2,662$2,157
    Massachusetts$1,827$1,511
    Michigan$3,667$3,115
    Minnesota$1,908$1,501
    Mississippi$2,229$1,826
    Missouri$2,825$2,300
    Montana$1,915$1,684
    Nebraska$1,891$1,483
    Nevada$2,754$2,270
    New Hampshire$1,767$1,400
    New Jersey$2,385$2,160
    New Mexico$1,871$1,565
    New York$3,930$3,382
    North Carolina$1,585$1,169
    North Dakota$1,532$1,212
    Ohio$1,412$1,171
    Oklahoma$2,595$2,075
    Oregon$1,838$1,572
    Pennsylvania$2,176$1,656
    Rhode Island$2,661$2,309
    South Carolina$1,611$1,403
    South Dakota$2,029$1,592
    Tennessee$1,818$1,396
    Texas$2,757$2,325
    Utah$1,678$1,430
    Vermont$1,185$975
    Virginia$1,648$1,354
    Washington$1,597$1,383
    West Virginia$2,012$1,609
    Wisconsin$1,486$1,225
    Wyoming$1,977$1,636

    Camry

    State20192015
    Alabama$1,871$1,650
    Alaska$1,854$1,638
    Arizona$1,927$1,762
    Arkansas$2,894$2,527
    California$2,337$2,126
    Colorado$2,263$2,074
    Connecticut$1,869$1,693
    Delaware$2,107$1,969
    District of Columbia$2,000$1,808
    Florida$3,186$2,984
    Georgia$2,166$2,024
    Hawaii$1,207$1,076
    Idaho$1,168$1,024
    Illinois$1,820$1,617
    Indiana$1,450$1,266
    Iowa$1,358$1,162
    Kansas$1,919$1,667
    Kentucky$2,226$1,994
    Louisiana$3,138$2,967
    Maine$843$722
    Maryland$2,385$2,128
    Massachusetts$1,669$1,529
    Michigan$3,786$3,441
    Minnesota$1,724$1,496
    Mississippi$1,945$1,761
    Missouri$2,424$2,153
    Montana$1,683$1,596
    Nebraska$1,615$1,413
    Nevada$2,440$2,271
    New Hampshire$1,537$1,330
    New Jersey$2,324$2,166
    New Mexico$1,661$1,495
    New York$3,671$3,406
    North Carolina$1,439$1,204
    North Dakota$1,309$1,128
    Ohio$1,283$1,147
    Oklahoma$2,205$1,942
    Oregon$1,738$1,622
    Pennsylvania$1,875$1,666
    Rhode Island$2,527$2,275
    South Carolina$1,470$1,341
    South Dakota$1,721$1,460
    Tennessee$1,567$1,384
    Texas$2,441$2,205
    Utah$1,547$1,401
    Vermont$1,071$924
    Virginia$1,454$1,301
    Washington$1,415$1,341
    West Virginia$1,662$1,485
    Wisconsin$1,337$1,181
    Wyoming$1,544$1,335

    Prius

    State20192015
    Alabama$1,879$1,674
    Alaska$1,921$1,646
    Arizona$1,934$1,796
    Arkansas$2,914$2,462
    California$2,290$2,087
    Colorado$2,285$2,101
    Connecticut$1,919$1,715
    Delaware$2,115$2,002
    District of Columbia$2,057$1,750
    Florida$3,083$2,926
    Georgia$2,211$2,087
    Hawaii$1,167$1,106
    Idaho$1,188$1,028
    Illinois$1,848$1,594
    Indiana$1,469$1,276
    Iowa$1,395$1,175
    Kansas$1,967$1,663
    Kentucky$2,274$2,013
    Louisiana$3,201$2,976
    Maine$869$725
    Maryland$2,367$2,180
    Massachusetts$1,591$1,571
    Michigan$3,641$3,399
    Minnesota$1,684$1,523
    Mississippi$1,971$1,787
    Missouri$2,489$2,151
    Montana$1,691$1,585
    Nebraska$1,676$1,413
    Nevada$2,383$2,425
    New Hampshire$1,606$1,295
    New Jersey$2,338$2,121
    New Mexico$1,700$1,501
    New York$3,538$3,368
    North Carolina$1,372$1,280
    North Dakota$1,301$1,173
    Ohio$1,303$1,154
    Oklahoma$2,198$1,962
    Oregon$1,716$1,610
    Pennsylvania$1,916$1,701
    Rhode Island$2,511$2,263
    South Carolina$1,509$1,349
    South Dakota$1,716$1,483
    Tennessee$1,558$1,407
    Texas$2,439$2,203
    Utah$1,557$1,413
    Vermont$1,082$963
    Virginia$1,494$1,305
    Washington$1,446$1,381
    West Virginia$1,650$1,514
    Wisconsin$1,332$1,191
    Wyoming$1,540$1,379

    F-150

    State20192015
    Alabama$1,670$1,552
    Alaska$1,599$1,511
    Arizona$1,725$1,653
    Arkansas$2,677$2,425
    California$2,077$1,991
    Colorado$1,973$1,865
    Connecticut$1,728$1,651
    Delaware$1,790$1,785
    District of Columbia$1,802$1,709
    Florida$2,902$2,823
    Georgia$1,871$1,849
    Hawaii$1,102$1,058
    Idaho$1,002$939
    Illinois$1,625$1,488
    Indiana$1,322$1,210
    Iowa$1,179$1,070
    Kansas$1,701$1,524
    Kentucky$2,011$1,926
    Louisiana$2,848$2,869
    Maine$715$676
    Maryland$2,184$2,044
    Massachusetts$1,368$1,402
    Michigan$2,994$2,856
    Minnesota$1,467$1,360
    Mississippi$1,810$1,677
    Missouri$2,199$2,016
    Montana$1,502$1,495
    Nebraska$1,393$1,270
    Nevada$2,169$2,155
    New Hampshire$1,353$1,240
    New Jersey$2,111$2,082
    New Mexico$1,480$1,412
    New York$3,224$3,066
    North Carolina$1,148$1,157
    North Dakota$1,140$1,036
    Ohio$1,099$1,042
    Oklahoma$1,976$1,847
    Oregon$1,531$1,468
    Pennsylvania$1,548$1,480
    Rhode Island$2,256$2,202
    South Carolina$1,304$1,258
    South Dakota$1,517$1,337
    Tennessee$1,412$1,277
    Texas$2,181$2,116
    Utah$1,366$1,308
    Vermont$907$894
    Virginia$1,326$1,270
    Washington$1,259$1,296
    West Virginia$1,520$1,436
    Wisconsin$1,192$1,095
    Wyoming$1,705$1,448

    Quadrant Information Services, 2020

    As is clearly indicated in the data above, coverage costs vary widely from state-to-state. To learn more about the auto insurance differences on a state level, check out our state-based auto insurance rate guide

    Ways to save on car insurance 

    Aside from vehicle type and age, as well as state considerations, other opportunities for savings on your auto insurance premium are available. 

    Vehicle-specific discounts 

    As advances in technology continue to affect innovations in the auto industry, insurers have added discounts specific to vehicle features. These can include discounts for specific safety restraints, anti-lock brakes and even for hybrid vehicles in general.

    Ultimately, it pays to talk to your insurance provider about vehicles you’re considering when car-shopping to learn if the options on your list qualify for vehicle-specific discounts. 

    Other discounts

    On top of asking your provider about discounts based on any vehicles you’re considering purchasing, you may also be able to save by qualifying for the following discounts:

    Takeaway

    In short, here’s what you need to know about how your vehicle choice can impact rates:

    • The car you drive directly impacts how much you pay for auto insurance.
    • Generally, older and less valuable vehicles are cheaper to insure.
    • You’ll typically pay less if your car is more affordable to maintain (for example, cheaper replacement parts).
    • Auto insurance rates vary, often significantly, from state to state.

    When you’re car shopping, consider asking your provider or other insurance agents in your state for quotes based on the vehicles you’re considering. It’s extra legwork, but as our study illustrates, you could save significantly based on the type and age of vehicle you choose. 

    Methodology

    Coverage Utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze quoted rates from thousands of zip codes across all 50 states and Washington D.C., using the top carriers’ written premiums by state. Quoted rates are based around the profile of a 30-year-male and female with clean driving records, good credit and the following full coverage details:

    • $100k bodily injury liability per person
    • $300k bodily injury liability coverage per crash
    • $100k property damage liability coverage per crash
    • $500 collision coverage deductible
    • $500 comprehensive coverage deductible
    • Minimum coverages were applied to match state requirements. 

    To look at prices by car, we adjusted vehicle make, model, year and purchase type (used vs new). All vehicles were purchased in 2020.

    Kacie Goff

    Kacie Goff is an insurance writer for Coverage.com. She loves taking complex concepts and distilling them down to make it easier for people to understand their coverage options. Over the last five years, she’s written about personal and commercial coverage for Bankrate, Freshome, The Simple Dollar, local insurance providers and more.

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