The Zebra's car buying guide 2021

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The Zebra

The nation's leading independent insurance comparison site

The Zebra is an independent insurance advisor and quote comparison site with headquarters in Austin, Texas. Utilizing its real-time quote comparison …


It’s no secret that prices for cars have increased dramatically due to inflation and the national chip shortage. While drivers may be paying top dollar for a new vehicle, we've crunched the numbers and found, through your car insurance, savings can still be found.

Dig into The Zebra's 2021 car buying guide for insights. 

Are you debating new vs. used?



Nationally, auto insurance drops about 3% on average with each additional year your vehicle ages. New cars are more expensive to insure than older vehicles because they cost more to repair or replace — especially if they feature new technology like blind spot sensors and rearview cameras. A 5-year-old vehicle is about 14% less expensive to insure than its brand-new counterpart.

Here's a breakdown of the United States' ten best-selling cars sold new vs. a four-year-old used model.

Ten best-selling cars sold new vs. a four-year-old used model
Make/Model Cost to Insure 2020 Cost to Insure 2016 $ Difference from New
Ford F-Series $1,547 $1,448 -$99
Chevrolet Silverado $1,842 $1,490 -$352
Ram Pickup $1,851 $1,500 -$351
Toyota RAV4 $1,592 $1,415 -$177
Honda CR-V $1,484 $1,333 -$151
Toyota Camry $1,734 $1,548 -$186
Honda Civic $1,721 $1,569 -$152
Chevrolet Equinox $1,584 $1,356 -$228
GMC Sierra $1,658 $1,403 -$255
Nissan Rogue $1,599 $1,443 -$156

Want to go green?

Well, it’ll cost you about $109 more  to insure an environmentally-friendly car compared to a luxury one. 


Here's a breakdown of several top EV models and the average cost to insure them based on our 2021 State of Auto Insurance:

Top EV models and the average cost to insure them
Make/Model Cost to Insure
Kia Niro EV $1,675
Chevy Volt $1,774
Toyota Prius $1,847
Chevy Bolt EV $1,884
Tesla Model 3 $2,579
Tesla Model X $3,432
Tesla Model S $3,620

Do you need all the bells and whistles?

Well, not exactly. You’ll see the most savings with electronic stability control (ESC) in your vehicle, but it will lower auto insurance premiums by only $9/year on average. It’s also worth noting that new car technology also increases the cost of vehicle repairs or replacement, so it won’t save you much on car insurance.


Unfortunately, all the new car tech isn't paying off for insurers quite yet. 

Safety Device Avg Annual Premium    
None $1,483    
Blind Spot Warning Device $1,481 -0.1% $2
Collision Preparation System $1,482 -0.1% $1
Driver Alertness Monitoring Device $1,483 0.0% $0
Heads-Up Display $1,483 0.0% $0
Lane Departure Warning Device $1,483 0.0% $0
Night Vision Device $1,483 0.0% $0
Park Assist Device $1,483 0.0% $0
Rear View Camera $1,483 0.0% $0
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) $1,474 -0.6% $9


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