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5 most and least expensive pick-ups to insure

All photos courtesy of vehicle manufacturers

On average, a 2015 pickup truck will cost you 14 percent less to insure than a 2015 car. But that doesn't mean that every new pickup is an insurance bargain.

An Insure.com analysis of average premiums on popular 2015 pickups found a nearly 50 percent difference between the cheapest and costliest models to cover. (To find insurance costs for all types of vehicles, see the Insure.com list of the most and least expensive cars to insure.)

"Talking about an entry-level truck vs. something that's used for heavy commercial activity is like talking about a Smart car vs. a Chevy Suburban. They're very different," says Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute.

Jack Nerad, executive editorial director of Kelley Blue Book, says the pickups with the lowest premiums are generally smaller models with modest sticker prices and less-powerful engines that don't cost as much to repair or replace following accidents.

"If you crash your truck and total it or ruin the engine, it's cheaper to replace a four-cylinder one than a six-cylinder or a V-8," he says.

Nerad adds that smaller trucks often appeal to budget-conscious consumers whose prudence likely extends to how they drive.

"Someone who's concerned about economy isn't likely to be out raising hell," he says.

By contrast, Insure.com found that pickups with the highest insurance rates are large, high-end models.

"They're big, they have lots of horsepower and they're expensive," Nerad says.

Car insurance companies calculate their rates for a particular model by looking at claims histories. Trucks with more frequent claims or more expensive repair costs see higher rates than those that don't.

Here's a look at which 2015 pickups have the lowest annual insurance costs -- and which ones have the highest.

(Note: These rankings omit similar trim lines of trucks that appear elsewhere on these lists, and not all photos depict the exact model referenced.)


GMC CanyonNo. 5 cheapest to insure: GMC Canyon 2WD Extended Cab SL 4-cylinder

Annual average insurance cost: $1,268.57

Value-conscious buyers are likely to appreciate the Canyon on a few different levels.

A brand-new model, the Canyon not only offers low premiums, but represents the first real challenge in years to the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier in the popular midsized-truck segment.

A $20,995 Canyon SL Extended Cab comes standard with two doors, two-wheel drive, a 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine and room for four people.

"It's a good vehicle," Nerad says. "GMC has created some excitement in the midsized market where there's been none in a long time."


Nissan FrontierNo. 4 cheapest to insure: Nissan Frontier S King Cab

Annual average insurance cost: $1,261.84

Beyond the reasonable insurance rates that come with it, Nerad says you'll also get a good midsized pickup when you choose a Frontier.

"The Frontier is pretty tried and true," he says. "Nissan pioneered the (intermediate-sized) King Cab configuration, and they've had a nice run with it."

The Frontier S King Cab lists for $17,990 and comes with two-wheel drive, a manual transmission, a 6.1-foot bed and a 152-horsepower, four-cylinder engine.


Chevrolet SilveradoNo. 3 cheapest to insure: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 2WD Regular Cab V-6

Annual average insurance cost: $1,256.14

The Silverado offers great value for buyers looking for a slightly larger vehicle, as this full-sized truck combines low premiums with a well-regarded 2014 redesign.

The LS 2WD Regular Cab version carries a modest $28,220 MSRP, but comes standard with an automatic transmission and a 285-horsepower V-6 engine that team up to produce an impressive 6,100 pounds of towing capacity. The trim line also comes with a built-in WiFi hotspot, Pandora and SiriusXM radio capability and other upscale amenities.

"The Silverado 1500 is a really good work truck," Nerad says.


GMC SierraNo. 2 cheapest to insure: GMC Sierra 1500 2WD Regular Cab V-6

Annual average insurance cost: $1,240.86

The Sierra 1500 is a "twin" of the third-place Chevrolet Silverado 1500, so it's little surprise that both offer low insurance costs.

GM bills GMC as its professional-grade brand, but Nerad says these trucks have only "moderate styling differences" when compared to each other.

The $26,670 Sierra 1500 2WD Regular Cab version comes standard with the same automatic transmission and 285-horsepower V-6 engine that the Silverado LS offers. But the GMC pickup lacks a few amenities that the Silverado 1500 LS has, like power mirrors and Pandora radio.


Toyota TacomaNo. 1 cheapest to insure: Toyota Tacoma 2WD Access Cab 4-cylinder

Annual average insurance cost: $1,209.98

It's hard to argue with the value the venerable Tacoma offers -- particularly when you factor in insurance costs.

Not only does the 2WD Access Cab four-cylinder version carry a modest $20,965 MSRP, but the popular midsized pickup offers the lowest premiums of any 2015 truck sold in America.

A base Tacoma comes standard with rear-wheel drive, a manual transmission and a 159-horsepower four-cylinder engine that's light on brawn but heavy on fuel efficiency. A manual-transmission Tacoma comes with a 21 mpg fuel efficiency rating in the city and 25 mpg on the highway -- good numbers for a pickup.

"The Tacoma is just a super-cost-effective vehicle," Nerad says.


Ford F-250No. 5 costliest to insure: Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat 4WD Crew Cab V-8 Turbo Diesel (with long bed)

Annual average insurance cost: $1,661.63

It's little surprise that this upscale version of Ford's F-250 carries premiums that match its hefty size.

After all, the $49,090 heavy-duty truck combines a premium 440-horsepower diesel V-8 engine with leather seats, a Sony eight-speaker premium stereo and other high-end amenities.

All of that makes the model costly for your carrier to repair or replace following a theft or accident. "This is a monster of a vehicle, and the turbo-diesel power plant alone is pretty expensive," Nerad says.

On the plus side, the truck offers four full-sized doors and the ability to tow up to 16,800 pounds of cargo when outfitted with a fifth-wheel trailer.


GMC 3500No. 4 costliest to insure: GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali 4WD Four-Door Crew Cab V-8 Diesel

Annual average insurance cost: $1,677.13

This $56,340 vehicle is one of the fanciest versions of GMC's largest models, so it's no mystery why it costs big bucks to insure.

Nerad calls the vehicle, which GMC completely redesigned for 2015, "a luxury car disguised as a truck."

The model's four-wheel drive system and 397-horsepower V-8 diesel engine team up to provide as much as 23,200 pounds of towing ability if you use a fifth-wheel system.

Inside, you'll find plenty of upscale features, from a Bose stereo to a built-in 4G LTE WiFi hotspot.


Ford F-350No. 3 costliest to insure: Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat 4WD Crew Cab V-8 Turbo Diesel (with long bed)

Annual average insurance cost: $1,703.43

This big brother to the fifth-place Ford F-250 pretty much combines all of that truck's luxury and brawn with a larger size and sticker price, driving its insurance costs even higher.

Like the F-250, the $51,190 Lariat 4WD Crew Cab V-8 comes standard with a 440-horsepower diesel V-8 engine, 16,800 pounds of maximum towing capacity and plenty of upscale features.

"It's a 'show-off' kind of truck," Nerad says.


Dodge Ram 3500No. 2 costliest to insure: Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn 4WD Four-Door Crew Cab V-8

Annual average insurance cost: $1,761.24

This version of the Ram 3500 has plenty of high-end features, but it comes with an insurance bill to match them.

Like the GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali, the $55,510 model represents one of costliest trim lines of one of the biggest 2015 pickups sold in America.

Inside the truck, passengers will enjoy leather seats, a 10-speaker stereo and other luxuries. Under the hood, the truck's 410-horsepower gas-powered V-8 engine combines provides 16,370 pounds of towing capacity.

"This is a truck of serious size, a lot of capability and exceptional ride quality," Nerad says


Dodge Ram 2500No. 1 costliest to insure: Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn 4WD Four-Door Crew Cab V-8

Annual average insurance cost: $1,775.44

This pickup is a little brother to the second-place Ram 3500, but a fancier engine, smoother suspension and greater popularity with buyers help make it the costliest 2015 truck to insure.

"There are just more Ram 2500s out there 'in the wild' -- and if you have more of them out there, they're more likely to be involved in something bad," Nerad says.

The $54,620 model combines four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission with a 383-horsepower V-8 gas engine that can tow as much as 13,870 pounds.

Inside, luxury accoutrements range from heated leather seats to a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.


Methodology

Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to estimate average annual premiums for 1,500 2015 models for sale in the U.S. market.

The insurance costs listed here reflect the average of what an unmarried 40-year-old male can expect to pay for a year's worth of coverage if he commutes 12 miles to work each weekday, has a clean driving record and good credit. Estimates also assume drivers get "100/300/50" policies ($100,000 injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 per accident for property damage), plus collision and comprehensive coverage with $500 deductibles.

All price figures refer to manufacturer's suggested retail pricing for a given model's indicated trim line, excluding options, rebates and destination fees.

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