Truck vs. car insurance
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You might be under the impression that it’s more expensive to insure trucks than cars, but that’s not always the case. Car insurance premiums are calculated differently by each insurance company, and multiple factors can play a role in determining your car insurance rate. While each insurer weighs personal rating factors differently, your driving record, ZIP code, age (in most states) and even your gender (in most states) will often play a role in the cost of your car insurance.
The make and model of your car or truck also plays a role in the cost of car insurance. For example, the average cost of full coverage car insurance for a Toyota Camry is $1,674 per year, according to Bankrate’s analysis of average rate data from Quadrant Information Services, while the same level of coverage is $1,442 for a Ford F-150. That’s just the average, however. If the Toyota Camry was an older model that is less expensive to repair, car insurance could be cheaper. Or, if the driver of the F-150 has an at-fault accident on their record, their truck insurance could be more expensive. Scenarios like these could help drive the cost of insuring a truck or car up or down.
Is it cheaper to insure a truck or a car?
Car insurance companies use several variables to determine insurance rates. Some of these factors are vehicle-specific, like crash ratings associated with the make and model. Others, however, are based on the driver and the location. Driving record and age (except in Hawaii) are two of the most impactful variables that factor into rates. A poor driving record can result in a much higher cost for car insurance than if that same person had a clean record. Likewise, the youngest and oldest drivers tend to cost more to insure and typically see higher rates from insurers.
Because of this mix of variables and how many aren’t based on the vehicle, you need more information when comparing car versus truck insurance. While you can find average rates for different vehicles, those estimates won’t capture the other variables that factor into auto insurance premiums. Not only does the make and model of the vehicles matter, but the location where they’re driven and who drives them all factor into determining the cost of auto insurance.
Average car insurance rates for cars vs trucks
While the average cost of auto insurance is $1,771 per year for full coverage, there is a significant average cost difference between vehicles. As shown in the table below, whether a car or truck is cheaper to insure can rely quite a bit on the make and model. For instance, the Ford Focus and the Ford F-150 are two of the least expensive vehicles to insure on this table, even though one is a truck and the other is a car.
|Model||Average annual full coverage premium||Average annual minimum coverage premium|
Factors that affect your car or truck insurance
Many variables go into determining the auto insurance rate for a particular vehicle and driver. While some of these factors are purely based on the vehicle, others depend on the driver’s information. When insurance companies determine auto insurance rates for a customer, they compile these many variables together to create a risk estimate. This risk estimate evaluates how likely any driver is to file a claim and how much those claims are likely to cost. While the insurance companies can’t tell the future, these algorithms tend to get better with time and are based on real-world statistics.
- Make and model of vehicle: Different vehicles have different crash ratings as well as different cost levels for repair and replacement.
- Age of vehicle: Newer vehicles can be less prone to accidents but are often more expensive to repair. The caveat is that past a certain age, older cars do become more costly to repair than newer ones. For example, classic cars might have a higher car insurance premium because parts will likely cost more. With older cars, it can sometimes make sense to consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage, since the vehicle’s value may not be enough to justify an expensive repair.
- Gender: Gender can be considered when determining rates in all states except California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Average rates for men tend to be slightly higher than for women, as male drivers statistically have a higher risk of accidents than female drivers.
- Driving record: A clean driving record is likely to earn you a lower rate for your insurance, since the insurer will consider you a lower risk to insure when it comes to the likelihood of causing an accident that results in a claim.
- Age of driver: Different age demographics have a higher or lower likelihood of auto incidents, with the people around middle-age typically being the cheapest to insure. Keep in mind that two states, Massachusetts and Hawaii, do not allow insurers to consider age when determining rates.
- Location: The state you live in can impact rates indirectly because the area’s cost of living might affect the cost of parts and repairs. Additionally, each state’s department of insurance sets the rules insurance companies must follow when calculating rates. And your ZIP code will affect your car insurance rates in most states (except California and Michigan) based on things like crime rates.
- Insurance company: Different insurance companies have different specializations and tend to offer different rates. Each insurer uses unique formulas to determine premiums, so you are likely to receive multiple different price quotes for the same coverage from different insurers.
- Credit score: According to studies, the better your credit score, the less likely you are to file a claim. Insurance companies factor this into rates in many states by calculating a credit-based insurance score, although the law forbids or restricts credit factoring into car insurance premiums in several states.
- Car insurance history: If you have periods where you let your car insurance lapse, it can increase your rates for future insurance. Additionally, if you have recently filed a claim, your rates will typically be higher for the next three to five years.
How to save on your truck or car insurance
Although car insurance is essential, it isn’t always cheap. To save money on your car insurance premiums, there are a few tips and tricks you can try. Long-term, though, the best way to save money on car or truck insurance is by following safe driving practices and maintaining a clean driving record. Many of the savings techniques listed below can be combined. Still, not all of them are immediately available for all drivers. Your situation and your insurance company will play a significant part in deciding which of these approaches works best for you.
- Discounts: Many auto insurance companies offer a variety of discounts to help with rates. Check with your agent or the company’s website to determine which discounts are available to you. Bundling policies such as home and auto insurance typically offers the greatest savings potential.
- Higher deductible: Choosing a higher deductible means your insurance company pays less when you file a claim, which also means a lower premium. Keep in mind that you should make sure that you can afford to pay more out of pocket if you have an accident before choosing a higher deductible. Talk with your insurance agent to see which options are best for you.
- Shop around: Comparing rates from multiple insurers for the same coverage is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting the best deal on your car insurance. Getting quotes from different providers can help show what average cost of truck insurance you can expect to pay.
Frequently asked questions
Auto insurance is complicated, and the best insurance company for one driver, or even one particular vehicle, may not always be the best for another. When looking for the best car or truck insurance company, it’s helpful to shop around between multiple companies and compare rates.
Much like the best car insurance, the cheapest car insurance can vary between drivers and circumstances. To find the cheapest car insurance for you, compare insurers from the cheapest car insurance companies and see which offers the best rates for the coverage you want.
Most states have a legal minimum of auto insurance required, often referred to as minimum coverage. Depending on your state, the necessary amount of insurance can vary. Beyond these legal requirements, knowing how much car insurance you need can depend heavily on your vehicle, lifestyle and other circumstances. For instance, some drivers add comprehensive coverage onto their auto insurance plan to help with risks that other coverage types don’t cover. Most insurance experts recommend purchasing more than the minimum amount required to better protect yourself financially.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
Model: To determine cost by vehicle type, we evaluated our base profile with the following vehicles applied: BMW 330i, Ford F-150, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry (base). For new vs used vehicles, we also included the following years in our calculations: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 (base) and 2020.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.