is it cheaper to insure a Toyota 4 Runner or a Toyota Highlander?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2017

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UPDATED: Sep 6, 2017Fact Checked

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Asked September 6, 2017

1 Answer

The Toyota 4 Runner and the Toyota Highlander are both extremely popular midsize SUVs that are currently being produced by the top-ranked automaker. As established products in the Toyota product line, each model is a popular choice among consumers who are looking for While each car falls into the same class, they don't each carry the same auto insurance costs. If you're comparing each model, it's crucial to know which will cost more to insure.

IIHS Safety Ratings and Why They Matter

Safety ratings are important for the sake of your family and your peace of mind. What you might not know is that safety ratings are also important because they have a direct impact on your car insurance premiums. Your driving record and habits do play a role in how much you pay for coverage, but the vehicle's safety ratings do tie into the big picture.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is solely responsible for crash testing vehicles and then measuring how likely it is that an occupant will be injured in an accident. The damage measured in the simulated accident also helps to determine how likely it is that the vehicle will cause significant property damage when traveling at certain speeds.

IIHS Safety Ratings of the Toyota 4 Runner vs. the Toyota Highlander

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performed tests on both the Toyota 4 Runner and the Toyota Highlander. While each vehicle has struggled to maintain good frontal crash test ratings in the past, the 2017 Highlander was a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ because of how well it performed in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof, head restraint, and front crash prevention tests. With 'Good' ratings all the way around, the Highlander was ranked one of the safest midsize SUVs of the year.

The 2017 Toyota 4 Runner didn't fare as well. While the 4 Runner also earned 'Good' ratings in moderate overlap front, side, roof, head restraint tests, it received only a 'Marginal' rating in the small overlap front test. It also was not rated in front crash prevention because it is not equipped with any crash avoidance systems. These ratings have not changed since 2014.

Understanding ISO Ratings

Now that you know how each model scored in the most recent IIHS tests performed, you'll need to familiarize yourself with ISO classifications. Safety ratings and ISO classifications are directly related. Simply put, an ISO or risk class is a code that insurers will use to rate a specific vehicle when giving out quotes.

ISO codes are assigned by companies like Verisk. This company uses technology and records to assign codes to every vehicle sold to ensure that companies are charging adequately premiums based on the risk the vehicles carry. The ISO Vehicle Series Rating codes are developed by looking at a car's:

  • Average amount of property damage done in an accident
  • Likelihood of occupant injury
  • Likelihood of third-party injury
  • Claims data
  • Average cost to repair

True Cost to Own

Since the crash tests show that the Highlander is significantly safer to drive than the 4 Runner, it's no surprise that the Highlander has a lower-cost classification. You can see this by looking at each vehicle's True Cost to Own through research site This site factors in the purchase price of each vehicle and how ownership costs vary from model to model.

The 2017 Highlander has a 5-year True Cost to Own of $40,638. The 2017 Toyota 4 Runner's cost to own is $43,597. One major annual expense for each vehicle is auto insurance. Assuming the same person was buying each vehicle, the average cost of insuring the Highlander for 5 years is $6,146. The average cost to insure the 4Runner for the same period is $6,296. While it is not a significant difference, the insurance expense is higher for the 4 Runner. Excellent safety ratings have contributed to the fact that premiums for the Toyota Highlander are cheaper than premiums for the 4Runner.

Answered November 1, 2017 by AutoGuy

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