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Think a cheap car equals cheap insurance? Think again.

There's more to auto-insurance rates than a vehicle's sticker price, according to a recent study by InsWeb, an online insurance-comparison provider.

Besides your own age and driving record, car insurance is based chiefly on a combination of purchase price and a model's loss history, or its record of involvement in insurance claims. A model with a history of expensive liability and comprehensive claims will cost more to insure. (An automobile's safety and security features also affect rates.)

So what are the cheapest models to insure right now? The Kia Sedona, Mazda's Mazda5, FordEscape, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mercury Mariner, according to InsWeb. The Acura ZDX, Audi TTS, Audi A5, Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Corvette top the most-expensive list. (For the full list, go to InsWeb.com.)

InsWeb compared car-insurance rate quotes for more than 400 models requested by customers between January and September for 2010 model-year vehicles.

The least-expensive cars to purchase often are not the cheapest to insure since they're commonly used by younger drivers, says Brad Cooper, InsWeb's senior vice president of operations. Instead, minivans tend to be the cheapest to insure because of their family-oriented drivers. Sports cars are usually the most expensive to insure.

Write to Emily Glazer at emily.glazer@wsj.com

Posted 8:32 PM  View Comments

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