5 cars that cost the least to insure

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    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.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.