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What are the Cheapest Cars to Insure for Teenagers?

When picking out the best cars for teens, safety is usually the biggest concern for parents. The cost of insuring a car is tied to the risk of causing injury or property damage. Using insurance costs as a proxy for risk and safety we examined 125 cars for a sample 18 year-old driver living in Pennsylvania to see which cars were seen as least risky / safest by insurers. Our study found a wide range of insurance costs in the sample with the Mazda MX-5 Miata as the cheapest car to insure, Subaru Outback came second, and Volkswagen Golf GTI taking the third place. For the best cars to insure for adults, visit here

Best Cars for Teens

The table below shows the 20 cheapest models to insure for our 18 year-old sample driver. Smaller compact cars, such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Volkswagen Golf GTI, made into the top 20 list. SUVs and larger cars were also represented, including the Subaru Outback and the Honda Odyssey. 

RankCarMSRPAverage Annual Car Insurance
1 Mazda MX-5 Miata $23,720 $2,640
2 Subaru Outback 23,495 2,735
3 Volkswagen Golf GTI 25,385 2,740
4 Mini Countryman 19,950 2,766
5 Volkswagen Routan 28,375 2,769
6 Smart Fortwo 13,270 2,776
7 Fiat 500L 19,195 2,786
8 Honda Odyssey 28,825 2,788
9 Subaru Legacy 20,295 2,792
10 Mini Paceman 23,300 2,807
11 Toyota Sienna 26,920 2,808
12 Ford Mustang 22,510 2,821
13 Fiat 500 16,845 2,824
14 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback 18,995 2,826
15 Buick Encore 24,160 2,831
16 Subaru Forester 21,995 2,833
17 Subaru XV Crosstrek 21,995 2,838
18 Volkswagen Jetta 15,695 2,850
19 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 25,595 2,860
20 Dodge Grand Caravan 20,895 2,865

Most Expensive Cars to Insure for Teens

The list of the most expensive cars to insure is largely made up of compact cars and vans. The amount of annual insurance premium varied by more than $640 between the cheapest (Mazda MX-5 Miata) and most expensive (Kia Forte) to insure. Surprisingly, some of the most expensive cars to insure had sticker prices less than $20,000, including the Kia Forte and Honda Civic.

RankCarMSRPAverage Annual Car Insurance
1 Kia Forte $15,900 $3,282
1 Mini Cooper Hardtop 23,162 3,282
3 Mitsubishi i-MiEV 22,995 3,282
4 Scion tC 19,210 3,268
5 Kia Rio 13,900 3,217
6 Hyundai Accent 14,645 3,202
7 Mitsubishi Lancer 17,195 3,152
8 Ford F-150 25,025 3,146
9 Honda Civic 18,190 3,138
10 Hyundai Elantra 17,200 3,125

How We Conducted the Study

The ranking was based on the most purchased cars in 2014 that cost less than $30,000; there were a total of 125 cars included in the study. We used as our example driver an 18 year-old male, who had a clean driving record and good credit score, and used his car mostly for commuting to school or work. The average cost for insuring each car was calculated by getting quotes from 20 different auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania. We used Pennsylvania's auto insurance requirements for the policy coverage in the study.

Pennsylvania Required Car Insurance CoveragePA Required Min. Limits
Bodily Injury (BI) $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
Property Damage (PD) $5,000 per accident
Medical Benefits (PIP) $5,000 per accident

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