The comfort and flexibility of SUVs have made them the number one category of vehicles sold in North America. The ample storage and easy-to-access back seats have made them the vehicles of choice for many families, while their all-wheel and four-wheel drive capabilities make them safer to drive on Canadian roads. But what is the cheapest SUV to insure in Canada?
As with all vehicles in Canada, SUV owners need to maintain insurance on their vehicles. We will explore how insurance is calculated for drivers who own SUVs and debunk a few myths about SUV insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m looking for the cheapest SUV to insure in Canada, what makes these SUVs worth investing in?
Buying an SUV is a major investment for most families, with many models costing significantly more than a sedan or minivan. Even with the higher price tag, people are flocking to purchase one of the many SUV models on the market. Some of the reasons why SUVs are so popular include:
With all-wheel and four-wheel drive options readily available, many people associate SUVs with better control in all weather conditions. The heavier weight of the vehicle also means the vehicle has better traction on snow and ice.
The higher seats found in many SUVs allow the driver to better see the road ahead and traffic and pedestrians around them, providing a sense of better vehicle control.
All road conditions
In addition to being easier to control in ice and snow, SUVs are also excellent in off-road conditions. The higher clearance level and better traction control make the vehicles perfect for rutted roads, shallow water, and muddy fields where cars have difficulty, making them perfect for cottage owners and adventure seekers.
Easier to enter/exit
Many people find the raised seating levels easier to get in and out of, making them ideal for people with arthritis or other conditions that affect their mobility.
Higher child seats
Parents love SUVs because the higher rear seats make it easier to place children and remove them from car seats and booster seats, easing back and knee issues.
Perhaps the biggest draw for most people is that SUVs provide plenty of cargo room for sports and camping equipment, luggage, family pets and even the occasional Costco shopping spree.
Why are some cars less to insure than others?
Insurance premiums are based on many different factors, but one of these factors is the cost to repair or replace the vehicle.
Repair costs are captured by the insurance industry and are used to calculate rates. These repair costs can differ by where you live, with costs higher in larger urban areas than in smaller cities and towns. It is also more expensive to repair more exotic and luxury brands than more common vehicles. If the SUV has driver-assist features, it becomes much more expensive to repair even relatively minor damage due to the need to replace the sensors and recalibrate these systems.
If the vehicle is stolen or can’t be repaired, it must be replaced. In these cases, replacement cost is related to the vehicle’s original purchase price. More expensive vehicles are more expensive to replace.
- Safety features: Accident benefits costs are considerably higher for smaller compact vehicles or vehicles with less safety features – such as collision avoidance technologies including blind-spot monitoring and Collision and lane departure warnings. This is because riders are more likely to be injured in an accident in a vehicle that is smaller or has fewer safety features.
- The probability of your vehicle being stolen: If your vehicle is among the most commonly stolen vehicles in Canada – for example the Honda CRV, Ford F150 and Dodge Ram. You’ll likely pay more for comprehensive insurance which includes theft coverage.
Since these factors are used to calculate your insurance premium, cars that are cheaper to replace or repair, safer, and less likely to be stolen tend to have lower premiums than those on the other end of the spectrum.
When looking for the cheapest SUV to insure in Canada, do bigger cars cost more to insure?
Does size matter when it comes to SUV insurance premiums? The answer is a bit complex, but in general terms larger vehicles do cost more than smaller ones.
As we stated above, the primary driver for the property portion of your insurance policy is the cost to repair or replace the vehicle following a loss. Larger vehicles tend to have higher sales prices than smaller SUVs and also tend to be tricked out with more bells and whistles. This makes them more costly to repair and replace.
One recent study in the US found that smaller SUVs, such as the Honda CR-V are as much as 21% cheaper to insure than the average insurance premium for all SUV categories. The same study found that the most expensive SUVs to insure were the Tesla Model Y, Toyota 4-Runner, and Jeep Grand Cherokee, all of which are significantly larger than the average SUV size.
So yes, it is often true that bigger cars cost more to insure.
Are older vehicles cheaper to insure?
While bigger cars tend to cost more to insure, older vehicles tend to be cheaper to insure. There are several reasons for this, with the main ones being:
Replacement cost – Older vehicles cost less to replace than newer ones. If a vehicle is involved in an accident and cannot be repaired, it needs to be replaced. A six-year-old vehicle is cheaper to replace than a new one, directly impacting the cost of insurance. Similarly, a cash payment following a claim would be based on the depreciated value of the vehicle which is always lower than the cost for a new one.
Less technology – New vehicles have become increasingly computerized; loaded with high-tech safety features, sensors, computers, navigation systems, WIFI and touchscreens. This means they are considerably more expensive to repair or replace than older, more analogue vehicles.
More parts available – A brand new vehicle will not have as many parts available on the market than older models. This causes the cost of repairing the vehicle to be higher than an older vehicle that likely has more replacement parts – including used parts – available on the open market.
Less likely to be stolen – It’s no surprise that car thieves seek out newer, more expensive vehicles to steal. Older vehicles tend to be less of a magnet for thieves, making them less likely to be stolen.
What affects car insurance costs if I want the cheapest SUV to insure in Canada?
Your car insurance premium is calculated based on several different factors, including your vehicle, your driving experience, your location, and how you use your car. Here’s a summary of some of the biggest factors that impact your insurance costs.
As we mentioned above, the cost to repair or replace your vehicle is a major factor in the property portion of your insurance premium. The more expensive the vehicle is to repair or replace, the more it will cost to insure.
Driving experience can be broken down into a few different components:
Years licensed – younger and newer drivers will pay more for their insurance than older, more experienced drivers. The reason is simple; less experienced drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident.
Driving record – If you are a clean driver who has not been charged with a traffic violation within the past few years, you will likely pay less for insurance than someone with a couple of tickets on their record.
Accidents – If you have been involved in one or more at-fault accidents, you will pay more than someone who has been accident-free. Having an accident on your record may also prevent you from qualifying for a claims-free credit on your insurance policy, even if the accident was not your fault.
Where you live will also impact your insurance premium. Insurers look at claims statistics by geography and may charge people in urban areas more than those in rural locations.
This trend is reflected in the Ontario cities with the highest and lowest average insurance rates:
- Ontario cities with the highest car insurance rates
- Ontario cities with the cheapest car insurance rates
Similarly, car theft activities in one area may increase premiums more than in an area where theft is less prevalent.
How you use your vehicle and how far you drive each year will also impact your premium. Someone who commutes every day to work will likely pay more than someone who works from home and only uses their vehicle occasionally.
Owning an SUV has many benefits, but before you make a purchase, be sure to research how much you can expect to pay in insurance. You can start a free online quote here to find the cheapest SUV to insure among the options you are considering.