Top Five Autos: Best Selling v. Cheap Insurance


Real estate customers are routinely counseled to consider the total cost of a home rather than fixating on just interest rate and mortgage payment. They’re also going to have to pay homeowners insurance, utilities, HOA dues, taxes, and repairs. Car buyers would do well to think the same way, but this is rarely the case.

Granted it’s important to negotiate a good-trade in value to keep your monthly payment as low as possible, but in this economy, cheap insurance that is also comprehensive is also essential Rarely do shoppers go looking for the most inexpensive car to insure when they’re roaming the dealer lot, but maybe they should.

What are the best selling cars in America?

Based on sales figures through November 2010, the best selling “cars” in the United States are, in descending order:

  • Ford F-150
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Toyota Camry
  • Nissan Altima
  • Honda CR-V

Of course, the first two on the list are America’s favorite working pick-ups. The Honda CR-V is one of the highly popular new “crossover” vehicles, which offers a middle ground between a sedan and an SUV. It also gets 21 mpg city and 28 highway, selling in an MSRP range of roughly $21,500 to $27,900.

The two sedans on the list each sell for under $30,000 and have excellent reputations for safety and reliability. The Camry’s fuel economy is rated at 22 city / 33 highway, while the Altima returns 23/32.

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What are the cheapest cars in the U.S. to insure?

Oddly enough, not one of the cars on the “five bestseller” list is also a “cheapest to insure.” The five cars that get that nod (with the average annual premiums) are:

  • Mazda Tribute i 2WD: $1,070.25
  • Honda Odyssey LX: $1,095.26
  • Mazda Tribute i 4WD: $1,101.29
  • Chrysler Town & Country LX: $1,119.83
  • Mazda Tribute S Grand Touring: $1,128.29

Because the Honda Odyssey has been either “the” or one of “the” top-selling minivans in the United States for more than a decade, there’s no compromise there to get a cheap rate. US News ranked the Chrysler Town & Country minivan 5th out of 8 reviewed (the Odyssey was number one.) The Mazda Tribute, however, came in at 22nd out of 23 affordable compact SUVs the publication surveyed.

Where do the two lists meet?

Is it impossible to get cheap insurance for one of the bestselling cars in America? Of course not. The average annual auto insurance premiums paid on the top five best-selling automobiles are:

  • Ford F-150: $1,350
  • Chevrolet Silverado: $1,700
  • Toyota Camry: $1,300
  • Nissan Altima: $1,600
  • Honda CR-V: $1,240

When drivers have a clean record, can bundle multiple insurance policies with one company, and qualify for a variety of other discounts (like paperless billing or low mileage driven), or opt to drop coverage features they don’t need (towing or rental car coverage, which is often an aspect of their credit card benefits), the rates will drop even farther. However, if you are going to be a smart car shopper, you need to think in terms of the total cost of owning that car, and auto insurance is a cost you can’t escape — by law.

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