Hunting for a new car is a fun and exciting experience, but it’s not without stress. There are just so many options out there — and they have a big impact on how much you’ll pay over the life of the vehicle.For the majority of Canadians, the car buying process shares one common equation: find the best vehicle for the best value. Some people prioritize horsepower or appearance, others focus on more practical elements, like fuel efficiency or cargo space.
One variable commonly overlooked by shoppers is the cost of auto insurance. The majority of Canadians know they need coverage to own and operate a vehicle, but they rarely think about how much a car impacts insurance.
Insurance premiums can vary widely even within comparable classes of vehicle. A $16,000 hatchback could be more expensive to insure than its $20,000 competitor.
Insurance Business Magazine published a 2021 report on the cheapest cars to insure in Canada using data from Car insurance quotes in Ontario and Alberta.
This can get confusing, though. Because, you could be looking for the cheapest cars and the cost to insure them or you could be looking for the cheapest cars to insure, and there is a difference.
Cheap cars tend to be small, low-cost, and are often cheap to insure. We link to the cheapest cars and the cost to insure them below. This article is the cheapest used cars to insure, which is more about how many claims have been filed on these cars. So, if a car is not in a collision, isn't stolen, or is bought by safer drivers, it's typically much cheaper to insure.
- 2009 Dodge Journey SXT 4-door 2WD
- 2011 Ford F150 XLT SuperCrew 4WD
- 2010 Toyota Matrix Wagon
- 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT Turbo 4-door
- 2015 Volkswagen Gold 2.0 TDI 4-door Hatchback
- 2006 Toyota Corolla CA 4-door
- 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan GT
- 2013 Ford F150 XLT SuperCrew 4WD
- 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
- 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
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How a vehicle contributes to determining insurance cost.
Car Safety features
The dream vehicle for insurance companies is one that never gets into an accident. That’s why those equipped with features that mitigate danger, such as a backup camera or automatic emergency brakes, receive preferential treatment. It’s no coincidence that the number one vehicle on the list scores high when it comes to safety.
Safety features that were once novel are becoming more and more standard these days. And it’s clear that the cars that pack them in — like the Ford F-150 Supercrew —- are beloved by insurers.
A vehicle’s age
There is a bit of an age range represented by the list, but aside from the 2016 Ford F-150 XLT Supercrew, all of the vehicles are at least a few years old. But not too old.
Older vehicles retain less value than new ones, making them less expensive to fix and replace, and in general, cheaper to insure. But old vehicles also tend to break down more often. The sweet spot for insurers lies somewhere between the expensive new models and the decrepit old ones.
The range from 208-2011 boasts six of the 10 cheapest cars to insure. They’re old enough that any insurance compensation is manageable but new enough that the engine isn’t at risk of cutting out on the middle of the highway.
Also, as cars age, you can drop coverages too (if you can afford to buy a new-to-you car). If your deductible for collision insurance or comprehensive is less than the car is worth to replace, consider dropping these coverages and save on car insurance.
The price range of the vehicle
I mentioned before that a lavish sports car is inherently more expensive to insure than less-garish alternatives, and that’s something reflected in our list. As with the age of a vehicle, it’s about finding the sweet spot between an expensive car that will cost a lot to repair and a cheap car of dubious quality. Insurers find the right balance of risk and cost somewhere in between.
Car brand reputation
Each list entry is a well-known and successful model from a well-known producer. Ford, Dodge, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota – these are all brands insurance companies are comfortable with.
Popular cars don’t get an automatic advantage (note the conspicuously absent Honda Civic), but they accumulate data quickly, and so long as that data is positive, they are perceived as reputable and reliable. This is in part why the Dodge Caravan, an apparent deity of cheap-to-insurance cars, dominates our findings.
Insurance Bureau's CLEAR table
If you're not an excel wizard, it may be difficult to read the report. But, the Insurance Bureau of Canada releases data on which cars got into what claims (collision, comprehensive, DCPD, or accident benefits). IBC highlights cars with high insurance costs to help you make an informed decision. Essentially, if you're looking for a new car and want to know if it will be one of the cheapest to insure, check the CLEAR table.
Personal factors also play a part
Our findings shed light on the variables that determine a car’s insurance expense, but it’s necessary to acknowledge some other factors at play. Namely, insurance factors connected to the driver instead of the vehicle.
Your age, postal code, daily commute and driving history all affect your auto insurance rate. If you’re 19 and have a spotty driving record, you’re going to pay more to insure your car than a 50-year-old with a glowing record. Even if you drive the vaunted Dodge Caravan.
- Top Ten SUVs in Canada (a buying guide)
- The Cheapest Cars to Insure in Ontario
- The Best Selling Cars in Canada (and the cost to insure them)
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