If you're shopping for a new car, it's easy to overlook the costs of insurance that could upset your budget. To help you out, Insure.com publishes an annual list of vehicles that cost the least to insure.
That list traditionally is dominated by family-friendly minivans. But even though the Honda Odyssey minivan again tops this year's list of the 10 least expensive vehicles to insure, the rest consists of SUVs, including the trail-ready Jeep Wrangler Black Bear.
Named for a vertiginous trail outside Telluride, Colorado, the Black Bear costs an average of $1,148 a year to insure. That's less than one-third of the insurance premium for the most expensive to insure vehicle, the $247,000 Mercedes S65 AMG convertible.
Insure.com analyst Penny Gusner speculated how a rock-crawling Jeep wound up on the low-cost insurance list. "I can only theorize that adventuresome owners are less likely to claim for every scratch or ding compared to other drivers," she said. "Fewer claims and being a responsible driver would lead to lower car insurance rates."
The rest of this top 10 list are more sedate, mostly two-wheel-drive vehicles. Gusner explained how SUVs came to displace most minivans on the list. "Vehicles that cost less to insure are normally those driven by safe drivers such as those ferrying around children," she said. "As more parents have moved to SUVs, we have seen SUVs take over the least expensive list."
The Insure.com average insurance cost is based on sampling rates in all states for a driver with a good record and good credit. Actual rates can vary widely state by state.
Here's a closer look at five of the most interesting vehicles that made it onto the least expensive to insure list.
Jeep Wrangler Black Bear
As part of Jeep's marketing to celebrate difficult trails, this edition is named after a high-altitude, winding trail that ends in Telluride, Colorado. As you would expect, it comes with Kevlar-reinforced heavy-duty tires and features like rock rails -- panels that will avoid damage from boulders.
This version of the Jeep Wrangler has a base list price around $28,000. Insurance cost averages $1,148 a year.
A more sedate family vehicle, the CR-V is ranked No. 1 among compact SUVs by the test drivers surveyed at U.S. News. Reviewers praise it as fun to drive, comfortable and with good cargo space. They also like its fuel economy of 25 MPG in city driving, 31 on the highway.
The CR-V list price starts at about $24,000. The average insurance price for the LX version is $1,170 a year.
The Jeep Cherokee gets praise for a handsome interior and, like all Jeeps, its potential off-road capability. However, the Sport version with low-cost insurance of $1,188 annually, is a two-wheel-drive model, more suitable for commuting and hauling families.
The Cherokee, which seats five, has mileage rating of 18 MPG in city driving, 24 on the highway. List price starts at about $23,700.
The Outback, like all Subarus, comes with standard all-wheel drive. The 2.5i wagon has an average insurance cost of $1,187. Reviewers praise it for its excellent cargo capacity, which works well for family vacations.
Fuel economy is rated for 25 MPG in city driving and 32 on the highway. List price starts at about $25,450.
The Encore ranks above the best subcompact SUVs according to test drivers surveyed by U.S. News. This smallest class of SUV isn't as spacious as some of the family haulers on the list. But reviewers praise the Encore for its relatively generous cargo area and its maneuverability in city driving.
The annual insurance cost averages $1,190, and list price starts at $22,900. Fuel economy is rated at 25 MPG city, 33 highway.