Is it cheaper to insure a new car or a used vehicle? The answer may vary depending on make, model, and other factors.
If you’re deciding between a new and used car, price may be one of your primary considerations. In that assessment, you should consider the vehicle list prices and the cost to maintain and insure the cars. Let’s break down average insurance policy costs for new and used vehicles. Compare below and decide which best fits your budget.
Because car insurance is so specific, it’s impossible to give a blanket statement regarding which is cheaper to insure. Your final rate will depend on your driving history, the make and model of the vehicle, the level of coverage, and your insurance company.
While the list price of a new vehicle is usually more expensive than that of a used car, that isn't always the case for insurance. State-of-the-art safety features, more easily replaceable parts, and other factors often contribute to the low cost-to-insure of some new cars. Your insurance premium will depend on the vehicles you're comparing — but to provide a starting point in your search, we gathered insurance data comparing a 2011 Honda Accord with a 2017 Honda Accord (using the same driver profile).
The verdict? The used car was $105 per year cheaper to insure than the new model.
Comparing used vs. new car insurance rates by company
|Company||Average Annual Premium - New Vehicle||Average Annual Premium - Used Vehicle|
|Texas Farm Bureau||$828||$673|
If you’re set on buying a new vehicle, keep in mind potential premium differences by company. Based on our research, State Farm and GEICO offer the most competitive rates on new cars.
Vehicles may require different coverage levels — and different levels of expense. If you acquire a new car via a loan or lease, you'll probably be required to carry additional coverage not mandated for a used vehicle. This includes minimum levels of collision and comprehensive coverage, as well as gap insurance.
These coverage options offer physical protection for your vehicle in the event of an at-fault accident. Although most states require liability insurance, comprehensive and collision coverages are only mandatory if specifically stated in your lease or loan agreement. If your vehicle is worth more than $4,000, comprehensive and collision are recommended.
This type of coverage is specific to new vehicles. Gap insurance is designed to cover you if your vehicle is totaled and the payout you receive from your insurance company doesn't cover the original loan of the vehicle. For example, let’s say you obtained a $20,000 loan for a vehicle that was unfortunately totaled six months later. Because vehicle values depreciate rapidly, you might only receive $17,000 from your insurance company, leaving you on the hook for the $3,000 difference. This is where your gap insurance comes in handy: it would cover that gap between what your insurance company pays you and what you owe on the loan.
Ultimately, the decision between new and used comes down to personal preference. Research what to expect from your vehicle, and keep price in consideration. If you’re stuck deciding between a handful of vehicles, use The Zebra's comparison app to get car insurance quotes for each vehicle. Enter your zip code below to get started.
Between September and December 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive auto 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 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 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 when applicable, including uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection (PIP).
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.
Analysis gathered make and model data from the listing of the most popular vehicles in the U.S. by 2016 year-end sales, according to Goodcarbadcar.net.
Some data may vary slightly based on rounding.