Car insurance price comparison: SUVs vs sedans


As SUVs have become more eco-friendly, comfortable, and safe, they've emerged as a popular alternative to sedans. If you're weighing costs and benefits in the SUV vs. sedan debate, it's worth diving into the numbers to see which vehicle will cost more to purchase and to insure.


Which is cheaper to buy and insure: SUV vs. sedan
  1. Is it cheaper to buy a SUV or a sedan?
  2. Is it cheaper to insure a SUV or a sedan?
  3. Final thoughts: Which is the best option for you?





Is it cheaper to buy an SUV or Sedan?


While prices may vary by model, it’s more than $5,000 cheaper on average to buy a sedan than to purchase an SUV. Between the most expensive sedan (Nissan Altima) and the most expensive SUV (Ford Explorer), there’s a difference of more than $8,000.


Sedan vs. SUV list prices

Sedan list valuesSUV list values
Chevrolet Cruze - $17,995Honda CR-V - $24,450
Honda Accord - $23,720Chevrolet Equinox - $23,800
Ford Fusion - $23,170Subaru Forester - $24,295
Honda Civic - $19,550Toyota RAV4 - $25,650
Honda Civic - $19,550Nissan Rogue - $25,020
Toyota Camry - $24,095Ford Explorer - $32,765
Nissan Altima - $24,100Jeep Grand Cherokee - $32,045

If you’re looking for an SUV on a budget, consider the Chevy Equinox or the Subaru Forester. These vehicles' average list value of $24,047 is $2,307 more than the average sedan price, but approximately $2,800 less than that of the typical SUV.





Is it cheaper to insure an SUV or a sedan?


While the average cost of an SUV far surpasses that of a sedan, car insurance costs may also differ substantially. Although rates will depend on your car insurance company and model, SUVs are typically $314 per year cheaper to insure than sedans.


Average car insurance premiums for sedans and SUVs

Average annual insurance cost: sedansAverage annual insurance cost: SUVs
Chevrolet Cruze - $1,604Honda CR-V - $1,509
Honda Accord - $1,624Chevrolet Equinox - $1,496
Honda Odyssey - $1,633Subaru Forester - $1,588
Nissan Altima - $1,744Toyota RAV4 - $1,556
Honda Civic - $1,801Nissan Rogue - $1,546
Toyota Camry - $1,692Ford Explorer - $1,569
Toyota Corolla - $1,724Jeep Cherokee - $1,579

If you're car-shopping on a budget, the Chevrolet Equinox (list price $23,800) is the cheapest option, with an average annual premium of $1,496. For a standard 6-month policy, you'd pay $748, or $124 per month with a payment plan. The Chevy Cruze (list price $17,995) is the cheapest option among sedans, setting you just over $1,600 per year or $802 for a standard 6-month policy.





Final thoughts: sedans or SUVs


Although finding cheap car insurance will be important once you've settled on a model, the list price should be your first concern when choosing between SUVs and sedans. If you’re looking for more information on top SUVs and sedans, including rates from actual car insurance companies, see our articles below. Already found the car of your dreams? Enter your zip code below to see which car insurance company is the cheapest for you.



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Methodology: how we determine insurance premiums and costs


Between September and December 2018, The Zebra conducted comprehensive car insurance pricing analysis using its proprietary quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors across all United States zip codes, averaged by state, including Washington, DC.

Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver: a 30-year-old single male driving a 2013 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision.

For coverage-level data, optional coverage (that must be rejected in writing) is included where applicable, including uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection.

National property and casualty losses information is from the Insurance Information Institute and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters report.

For vehicle make and model data, analysis referenced the most popular vehicles in the U.S. by 2018 year-end sales according to Goodcarbadcar.net’s automakers’ data. Finally, some rate data may vary slightly throughout report based on rounding.