UPDATED: Mar 12, 2020
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There’s a lot to consider before buying a car. You need to find a make you can trust, a model you can like, and an insurance rate you can afford. As a result, most Americans are ready to do some deep-dive research into all of those arenas.
It’s important to remember that there are resources available to you for researching automobile safety, performance and insurance plans. And, if the research process is off-putting to you, it still can’t be put off. In fact, the research needs to be done within 4 days—the grace period most insurance companies give customers to get a new plan for a new vehicle.
Luckily, online tools like our site, have done some of the legwork for you.
We’ve looked into the safety ratings and insurance costs for some of the most popular Kia models, and we think you’ll be surprised by what we’ve seen.
From bikes and bankruptcies to big success
Kia means “out of the east.” And in 1994, the South Korean bicycle-turned-motor company decided to go into the western car market. Launching its first entry into the American market in Portland, Oregon, with the Sephia and later the Sportage, Kia found success. However, the Asian market crash triggered a bankruptcy for the carmaker in 1997. That triggered a significant stock purchase by South Korea’s largest carmaker Hyundai.
Kia hasn’t looked back since.
Today it’s South Korea’s second-largest car manufacturer, and in 2016 it became the first non-luxury automaker since the 1980s to rank first by J.D. Power and Associates in reliability. Among the reasons for this reliability is impressive safety rankings.
We’ve used two reputable online sources to give you a glimpse into how safe each model of Kia is:
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—Through government-enforced vehicle performance standards, the NHTSA seeks to reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses from vehicle crashes. The NHTSA provides a user-friendly “Ratings” tool online, but they take it up one notch. You can also use their “Vehicle Comparison” tool to make your choice between two or three makes and models a little easier and better informed.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety—This organization was founded in 1959 by insurance company interests, but it has evolved into an independent, nonprofit with the mission of using factual data, scientific research and safety education to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage due to motor vehicle crashes. They have a user-friendly “Ratings” tool on their website that gives vehicles ratings for crashworthiness (how well occupants are protected in a crash) and crash avoidance and mitigation (how well the vehicle can prevent an accident or lessen its severity). The four ratings are: Poor, Marginal, Acceptable or Good for each safety category. To qualify as a Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn good to superior ratings across a variety of evaluation categories, such as:
- Overlap tests
- Roof strength
- Head restraint tests
- Front crash prevention
- Headlight ratings
Rating the Kia insurance rates
Insurance rates in Oregon give a fair representation of the national average rate. Here’s what the price of insurance, for each model of Kia, would be for an Oregon driver. To calculate each model, we used to following information:
- 2018 model
- 10,001–15,000 miles driven yearly
- Basic coverage
- No accidents in the past 5 years
- Driver located in Oregon
- Good credit
Here is how it breaks down, by model:
The average insurance costs for a Soul is $111 a month — or $1,335 a year.
The average insurance costs for a Sportage is $104 a month — or $1,250 a year.
The average insurance costs for an Optima is $117 a month — or $1,400 a year.
The average insurance costs for a Forte is $113 a month — or $1,360 a year.
The average insurance costs for a Sorento is $107 a month — or $1,280 a year.
The average insurance costs for a Sedona is $117 a month — or $1,405 a year.
The average insurance costs for a Rio is $113 a month — or $1,335 a year.
The average insurance costs for a Cadenza is $131 a month — or $1,567 a year.
Compare these insurance rates to a comparable brand, here are Ford’s auto insurance rates.
This small car, which some owners would describe as a small wagon or small SUV thanks to its boxy roominess, has been a popular entry-level car for drivers for years. It has also ranked well in terms of safety. The 2018 version received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest recognition, the Top Safety Pick+. It has a “Superior” rating on its crash avoidance and mitigation system and the highest rating (Good) on all other factors, except for passenger-side crashworthiness and child seat anchors ease of use. Those two categories received the second-highest ranking of “Acceptable.”
The sportage is Kia’s—official—small SUV and another one of its vehicles to receive an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ recognition. It got the highest possible ratings on all factors of crashworthiness and a “Superior” rating for front crash prevention. Headlights and child seat anchors are the only factors that received less than the highest ranking, but they still received the second-highest ranking.
When it comes to size, the Optima is Kia’s midsize car. When it comes to safety, there is nothing “mid-tier” about it. The Optima not only received a Top Safety Pick+ ranking, it also has the highest possible safety ranking across every single crashworthiness and crash mitigation factor. Only the ease of use of the child seat safety anchors didn’t reach the pinnacle of safety, although it did garner a ranking of “Acceptable.”
The Forte is Kia’s small-sized sedan and it too has big time safety ratings. It has the highest ranking for crash avoidance and mitigation, which is one reason it gained the Top Safety Pick+ ranking. So, what’s imperfect about the Forte’s safety? Not much. It got the second highest ratings for passenger-side crashworthiness and child seat anchor ease of use.
Kia’s midsize SUV, the Sorento, is another Top Safety Pick winner, although it did not garner the “+” level of the award. Nonetheless, it has a perfect crashworthiness performance and a “Superior” rating for crash avoidance and mitigation. Its headlights and the child seat safety anchors are the only two categories that did not reach the highest rating level.
The Sedona is Kia’s minivan and one of the only vehicles in the Kia fleet that does not garner a Top Safety Pick award. However, that’s not because it isn’t safe. It’s because the passenger-side crashworthiness was not officially rated. Every single other factor in the crashworthiness field received the highest ranking and the crash avoidance and mitigation system was ranked as “Superior.” Headlights received the “Acceptable” ranking.
Kia’s mini-car is the Rio and it’s one of the only vehicles of the fleet to receive subpar safety rankings over the years. However, it has only shown improvement in its crashworthiness. The only “Poor” ranking the vehicle received was for its headlight safety system.
Kia’s large sedan is another one of its Top Safety Pick winners. Crashworthiness and crash avoidance rankings all landed top ratings. Headlights and ease of use of the child seat anchor system fell short with “Acceptable” and “Marginal” rankings, respectively.
Vehicle insurance savings tips
The savings can sometimes be big when you know the formula for setting rates. Here are some helpful tips to reduce your vehicle insurance costs.
Control what you can
Your age and sex impact your insurance costs. You can’t control those two things, but here are things you can:
- Geographic location—A basic commute in the suburbs versus a longer rush-hour commute through a high-traffic urban area affect your insurance rate differently. You may not be able to move or change jobs just to reduce your insurance rates, but you can be diligent about how and where you drive. Shorter and safer means cheaper.
- Driving record—Speeding tickets can increase your rates, especially if you live in an area that counts moving violations as points against your record. When possible, take advantage of traffic schools to clear your record of tickets. Otherwise, the tickets won’t clear from your record for 2 to 5 years.
- Credit score—Your credit score is used in part to determine accident risk. It seems unfair to many, but studies done over the years show a correlation between people with bad credit and bad driving records. So, keep those Visa and Mastercard balances low or pay off your credit cards each month. You may even consider holding off on financing until your credit score is in order. This component can make a big difference in your total car-related expenses.
- Vehicle type—The value of your car will impact your insurance rates. For instance, check out how BMW’s insurance estimates compare to Kia’s.
Make sure to compare price estimates from a variety of insurance companies. While competition keeps costs relatively stable, not all carriers offer the same discounts. In addition, some carriers are able to bundle your vehicle insurance with other forms of insurance, such as life, renters or homeowners insurance. If it’s possible for you to time your new auto insurance policy with signing up for another form of insurance, you can save a significant amount of money.
Finally, programs like Progressive’s Snapshot enables a driver to have a device installed on the computer that manages your vehicle. The device captures driving habit information such as:
- How often you drive
- How fast you drive
- What time of day or night you drive
By analyzing this data, insurers are able to assess a driver’s risk factor. If the system sees your habits as safe, the system could keep your insurance rates low.
Please check out the rest of our site if have questions about your insurance situation. We have plenty of articles about traffic and vehicle safety, too.