Image: Car Accident © Stockdisc, Corbis

In  a remarkable upset this year, minivans are no longer the go-to vehicles for the lowest car insurance rate. In the past, minivans have dominated our annual rankings of the least expensive vehicles to insure, but in the 2013 model year, crossovers and SUVs have taken control of the top 20, including models from Ford, Jeep, Kia and Hyundai.

Minivans have been edged out, so to speak: The Ford Edge SE is the first crossover to snag the best position on our list.  (See rankings and methodology below.)

"The SUV is the new minivan," says Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which performs crash tests on vehicles. "These are vehicles used largely by families. They're going to the mall, taking kids to school and driving to sports practices on the weekends. They're not getting into a lot of crashes." 

Their low rate of crashes and their inexpensive repairs keep insurance rates down.

Also notable is the appearance of a small car in the rankings of least-expensive vehicles to insure: The Honda Fit squeaks in at No. 19.

Mercedes-Benz drivers must have worked hard in the past year to increase insurance claims costs and thus their auto insurance rates. Mercedes models control half the list of the 20 most expensive vehicles to insure for 2013 models.

The 12-cylinder Mercedes-Benz CL600 coupe earns the unenviable top spot for the highest national average car insurance rates. AutoTrader.com notes the car's "blistering acceleration." The next sounds you hear may be squealing brakes and cracking metal: Expensive claims have propelled the CL600's rates. With an MSRP of about $160,000 and an annual average insurance bill of $3,357 (and that's for a good driver), the CL600 is expensive driveway candy.

It could be worse.  When we look at state-specific auto insurance rates, we see that insuring an Audi R8 5.2 Quattro in Washington, D.C., costs an average of $6,009 annually.

Yet most drivers shop for cars without any consideration for insurance costs.

"People just don't think about it," says Michelle Rupp, an independent agent with NRG Insurance in Seattle. She estimates that only about 20% of car buyers research the auto insurance rates of a vehicle before they buy it. "If they're really watching dollars and cents, they need to do that," she says.

But over her 30 years of experience as an agent, "it gets worse," laments Rupp. Consumers who diligently research invoice price, fuel efficiency and how to negotiate at a dealership will overlook auto insurance costs.

The least expensive 2013 vehicles to insure

Rank

Make and model

Cylinders

Average annual premium

1

Ford Edge SE

4

$1,128

2

Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

6

$1,148

3

Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

4

$1,150

4

Kia Sportage

4

$1,157

5

Jeep Patriot Sport

4

$1,160

6

Chevrolet Express 1500

8

$1,171

7

Subaru Outback 3.6R

6

$1,180

8

Hyundai Tucson GLS

4

$1,189

9

Ford Explorer

6

$1,197

10

Hyundai Tucson GL

4

$1,204

11

Dodge Grand Caravan SXT

6

$1,206

12

Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium

4

$1,210

13

Chevrolet Equinox 1LT

4

$1,210

14

Honda Odyssey EX-L

6

$1,217

15

Jeep Compass Sport

4

$1,217

16

Kia Sorento LX (2 WD)

6

$1,222

17

Nissan Pathfinder S

6

$1,224

18

Chevrolet Equinox 2LT

6

$1,235

19

Honda Fit

4

$1,235

20

Kia Sorento LX (4 WD)

4

$1,237

The most expensive 2013 vehicles to insure

Rank

Make and model

Cylinders

Average annual premium

1

Mercedes-Benz CL600

12

$3,357

2

Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

12

$3,330

3

Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

8

$3,221

4

Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG

12

$3,207

5

Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

8

$3,814

6

Mercedes-Benz S600

12

$3,158

7

Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG

8

$3,075

8

Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG

8

$2,978

9

Porsche 911 Turbo

6

$2,958

10

Porsche 911 Turbo S

6

$2,925

11

Porsche Panamera Turbo

8

$2,912

12

Mercedes-Benz CL550 4Matic

8

$2,897

13

Jaguar XKR (convertible)

8

$2,822

14

Jaguar XKR (coupe)

8

$2,756

15

Jaguar XK

8

$2,684

16

BMW 650i

8

$2,681

17

Mercedes-Benz SL550

8

$2,671

18

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

6

$2,642

19

Mercedes-Benz S550

8

$2,640

20

Porsche 911 Carrera S

6

$2,626

Methodology

Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to provide average auto insurance rates for 2013 models. Averages were calculated using data from six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm) in 10 ZIP codes per state. Not all models were available, especially exotic cars.

Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. This hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage. Average rates are for comparative purposes. Your own rate will depend on personal factors.

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