Just passed your driving test? Ready to start car shopping? Here we list 20 of the cheapest cars to insure for new drivers.
But first, let’s explore what makes a car cheap to insure, and what the cheapest kind of insurance is if you’re a first-time driver. (If you’re eager to start your car hunt, you can skip to the list here.)
What makes a car cheap to insure?
The amount it costs to insure a car will largely depend on the car insurance group it’s in.
It works like this:
- Cars are placed into one of 50 groups by a panel of the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
- The panel uses data collected by car safety researchers Thatcham Research to score the vehicles across a range of categories.
- The categories include the price of the vehicle, engine power, cost of repairs, and safety and security features.
If the car is cheaper to buy, cheaper to repair, less powerful and has performed well in security tests, it’s placed into a low insurance group. On the flip side, a more expensive, more powerful car is considered riskier and therefore placed in a higher insurance group.
As a rule of thumb, the lower the insurance group, the cheaper it is to insure.
What else affects car insurance costs?
In addition to the car insurance group your vehicle falls into, your insurance costs will also be affected by:
- Your driving history. Insurance providers want to understand the level of risk you pose as a driver, so they’ll look at your overall driving history before calculating your premium. This includes your age, how long you’ve been driving, and any penalty points or driving convictions you might have. If you have a spotless driving record with no previous claims, your quote should be cheaper.
- Vehicle security features. Insurance providers also want to know that your car is protected against theft. If you have alarms, immobilisers, or other built-in security features (like GPS trackers), it’s more likely to deter thieves and will therefore be cheaper to insure.
Read more: Car Immobiliser: Your Definitive Guide
- Where you park. Finally, where you park your car when it’s not being used can also affect your car insurance premium. If you park on the street, it could be a target for thieves or suffer damage from passing vehicles or vandals. But if you keep it in a secure garage or CCTV-covered car park, it could be considered lower risk by insurance providers.
Read more: Where Should You Park Your Vehicle at Night?
What is the cheapest kind of car insurance for new drivers?
When you choose your level of car insurance coverage, you’ll often have a choice between comprehensive and third-party.
- Comprehensive car insurance (also referred to as “fully comprehensive” or “fully comp”) is the broadest level of cover you can get for your vehicle. It pays out if you damage your car, someone else’s car, or injure someone in an accident.
- Third-party car insurance is the minimum level of cover required to drive in the UK. As the name suggests, it only covers third parties (other drivers or passengers, including your own) in the event of an accident. However, unlike comprehensive cover, it doesn’t cover damage to your vehicle or the cost of your medical expenses following an accident.
Third-party insurance is popular with younger drivers, however, it’s not always the cheapest. Because third-party policies often attract higher-risk drivers, insurers may be more likely to have to make payouts following an accident.
With this in mind, third-party policies can sometimes be more expensive than comprehensive coverage. So, it’s always a good idea to compare quotes from different providers and across varying levels of coverage to find one that works for you. (Hint: insurance brokers can help here!)
20 best cars to insure for new drivers
1. Vauxhall Corsa
Cheap to run, easy to drive, and jam-packed with incredible features, the Vauxhall Corsa is a classic compact car for first-time drivers. Its smooth steering and small size make it ideal for city living, while the LED headlights and smart touchscreen (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) make longer journeys safe and comfortable.
2. Nissan Micra
A popular model with driving instructors, the Nissan Micra offers instant familiarity for new drivers. But that’s not all it has going for it. With a sharp design, sleek interior, and pleasant driving experience, this safe and reliable motor lands comfortably into insurance group 1, making it cheap as chips to insure.
3. Hyundai i10
A zippy little motor built for nipping around town, the Hyundai i10 is another group 1 insurance model new drivers simply must consider. The interiors feel like they belong in a higher-end vehicle and, depending on the spec you opt for, the tech is second to none (rearview camera, anyone?).
4. Citroën C1
With a 1.0-litre engine, the Citroën C1 is not the most powerful car on this list, but it’s cheap to run and — crucially — cheap to insure. Compact, easy to drive, and easy to park, it’s tailor-made for city driving.
5. Fiat Panda
The Fiat Panda is a relatively basic vehicle, but it can offer terrific value for money. Although the looks aren’t to everyone’s tastes (it’s a little boxy), it’s quite spacious inside for a hatchback. And once you get going, you’ll enjoy the driving and the savings.
6. Volkswagen Up
Safe and fun to drive with plenty of legroom for passengers, the Volkswagen Up is an extremely economical first car. And if you choose a less powerful engine, the Up rolls into insurance group 1, making it cheap to insure for first-time drivers.
7. Skoda Citigo
Looking for something cheaper than the VW Up? The Skoda Citigo is a comparable motor with a lot going for it. Another insurance group 1 car, it has plenty of neat features and a snazzy interior to make up for the slightly lower brand appeal.
8. Renault Twingo
It’s no longer available to buy new, but the Renault Twingo is a smart choice for a first-time used car. It’s a small city runner with the engine in the back, making it a spacious rear-wheel drive. It’s probably not suited for long motorway journeys, but if you’re zipping around town, it’s easy to handle in tight situations. Plus, it’s in insurance group 2, so that should help keep costs down!
9. Volkswagen Polo
A slightly more expensive brand and model, the Volkswagen Polo is still a popular choice as a first-time car. The quality of VW manufacturing is there for all to see with plenty of space for passengers, a decent-sized boot, and a fair amount of soundproofing, too. All in all, this is a refined and enjoyable drive — and one that won’t break the bank to insure, either.
10. Toyota Aygo
The quirky Toyota Aygo isn’t all that powerful or roomy, but it is cheap to insure (hello insurance group 2). Easy to drive and chock-full of character, it’s built for city living, weaving effortlessly through traffic and fitting snugly into even the tightest of parking spaces.
11. Skoda Fabia
Sitting in insurance group 3, the Skoda Fabia is a little more expensive to insure than some of the other vehicles on this list, but you might still nab yourself a bargain to offset that higher price. And what a bargain it could be! A comfy, practical car, it’s full of lovely little features that make driving it an absolute joy. From its large bottle holders to the hidden ice scraper, the small things can make all the difference.
12. SEAT Ibiza
Another insurance group 3 vehicle, the SEAT Ibiza is a sleek, roomy number with plenty of flair and character. The interiors are impressive, while the boot boasts plenty of space for a week’s worth of shopping. You’ll comfortably seat four adults with room to spare in this practical hatchback.
13. Ford Fiesta
In many ways, what you see is what you get with the Ford Fiesta. It needs little introduction to UK motorists and makes for a terrific first-time car for new drivers. With its refined design and smooth steering, the Fiesta feels like a grown-up motor. Its comfy interiors and top-notch tech make it a joy to drive.
14. Dacia Sandero
The Dacia Sandero has a growing reputation as a cheap new car for first-time drivers, and it’s easy to see why. Although practical and spacious, the interiors are startingly sparse, and that all translates to an affordable sticker price. However, if you really want to save on insurance, you’ll have to shop around for a used model (insurance group 2) instead of splashing out on brand new (insurance group 7).
15. Toyota Yaris
Although the interiors are a little cramped, the Toyota Yaris has plenty going for it. With its bold and fun design, the lack of room is offset by modern features as standard. And if you can find a used 2011 to 2020 model, you should make some healthy savings on your car insurance!
16. SEAT Mii
The SEAT Mii might not be as boxy as the Tardis, but it does have something in common — it looks small on the outside and feels spacious on the inside. The dashboard is sleek and simple, and it boasts a built-in smartphone holder (a nice touch for the modern first-time driver).
17. Ford KA+
The Ford KA+ is appropriately named — Ford has added a little extra something everywhere. It has more space than the KA, looks more stylish, and feels more comfortable, yet remains a brilliantly affordable car.
18. Kia Rio
A cheap, economical and environmentally friendly hatchback, the Kia Rio combines style and substance. With low running costs, solid fuel efficiency and low emissions, it’s a great option for first-time drivers.
19. Renault Clio
Need a safe, smooth-driving first-time car with a huge boot? Look no further than the Renault Clio. With reversing sensors and responsive controls, it’s a popular choice for new drivers, and cheap to insure, too. However, if you opt for a more powerful engine model, this may push your premiums higher.
20. Peugeot 208
With striking high-end interiors and a stunning exterior design, the new Peugeot 208 is a comfortable, safe, and economical drive. The best bit is the large screen on the dash, which mirrors your smartphone display, and air conditioning comes standard. However, if you want to bring costs down, you may need to shop around for a used model.
Should I get a cheap car for my first car?
It depends! Everyone has a budget they need to stick to, but opting for the cheapest car as your first car could be more expensive in the long run. If it breaks down constantly or isn’t as fuel-efficient as newer models, you could find yourself out of pocket trying to keep it running.
As the old saying goes, if you buy cheap, you buy twice.
But you shouldn’t rule out buying a used car altogether. A small, affordable, safe and reliable used car makes perfect sense for first-time drivers. Bumps and scrapes can happen as you get to grips with life behind the wheel (so you don’t want expensive cosmetic fixes added to your budget), and it’s often easier to finance, drive and maintain than a brand new motor.
To recap: Low insurance cars for new drivers
The cheapest cars to insure for new drivers tend to be smaller, safer, less powerful, and easier to drive. They should have the latest security features and be parked somewhere safe overnight to lower insurance costs further. Happy searching and driving!
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