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.
|Car||MSRP||Average Annual Car Insurance|
|1||Mazda MX-5 Miata||$23,720||$2,640|
|3||Volkswagen Golf GTI||25,385||2,740|
|14||Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback||18,995||2,826|
|17||Subaru XV Crosstrek||21,995||2,838|
|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.
|Rank||Car||MSRP||Average Annual Car Insurance|
|1||Mini Cooper Hardtop||23,162||3,282|
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 requirements for auto insurance in Pennsylvania for the policy coverage in the study.
Pennsylvania Required Car Insurance Coverage
|PA 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|