There’s arguably no better feeling than independently getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time. But before you can head out and enjoy the open road, there are various costs to consider when buying your first car, one of which is car insurance.

Due to their often-younger age and lack of experience, new drivers tend to be hit with steep insurance premiums that can make owning a car more of a challenge. However, the good news is that there are plenty of cheap used cars that offer lower insurance prices, allowing new drivers to enjoy the freedom unlocked by their first car.

In this article, we will cover:

What makes a car cheap to insure for a new driver?

To determine the costs of cover, the ‘Group Rating Panel’ will examine each model and place it in one of 50 car insurance groups. Generally speaking, the higher the insurance group, the more expensive it is to insure, especially for new drivers.

During the review, members of the panel will consider various factors to determine which group the car will be classified as, including:

The value of the car: Cheaper cars tend to fall into lower insurance groups as they generally cost less to replace or repair in the case of a claim.

The costs of repairs: Cars that are easy and inexpensive to repair generally fall into lower insurance groups as the costs of a claim will be less than a more expensive model.

Safety and security: If a car is fitted with advanced safety and security technology, it may be in a lower insurance group as the likelihood of an accident or theft is reduced.

Power and performance: Cars that offer larger engines and performance-oriented features tend to have higher premiums due to the increased risks related to driving them.

How can a new driver reduce their insurance premiums?

Aside from considering the car’s insurance group, there are various steps a new driver can take to help bring the costs of their insurance premiums down:

Consider black-box insurance: ‘Black-box’, otherwise known as telematics insurance, is where your vehicle is fitted with a small device to monitor your driving. Typically, you’ll receive a score based on factors such as speed, braking and time of driving. Initially, black box insurance tends to be cheaper, and you’re often rewarded with a lower renewal price if you have a strong score.

Add extra drivers: Adding a named driver with more experience can often bring your insurance premiums down as this is perceived as less risky in the eyes of insurance companies.

Select a higher excess: In the case of a claim, you will be required to pay the excess towards any repairs to your vehicle. When setting up your policy, consider selecting a higher voluntary excess figure, as this can help to reduce your premiums. Make sure you can afford to pay the total excess amount though.

Consider the safety of your car: To reduce the chances of an incident occurring, parking your car on a driveway can help with reducing your insurance premiums. Fitting additional equipment such as a dashcam or wheel lock can also reduce your payments with most providers.

Top 10 cheapest cars to insure for young drivers

Now that you know more about what makes a car cheap to insure, it’s time to explore the cheapest cars to insure for young drivers. Rather than just focus on tiny petrol city cars, we’ve included a fully electric model and even an SUV.

Read on to find out our pick of the cheapest cars to buy and insure for young drivers.

  1. Volkswagen Polo (2017-Present)
  2. Fiat 500 (2008-Present)
  3. SEAT Mii (2012-2019)
  4. Renault ZOE (2019-Present)
  5. Skoda Citigo (2012-2019)
  6. Ford Ka+ (2016-2019)
  7. Ford EcoSport (2014-2023)
  8. SEAT Ibiza (2017 -Present)
  9. Hyundai i10 (2020-Present)
  10. Renault Clio (2019-Present)

1. Volkswagen Polo (2017-Present)

From insurance group 1

When you think of cars that are popular amongst newer drivers, the Volkswagen Polo is likely to come to mind. Much loved for its strong build quality and recognisable design, Volkswagen’s offering holds its own against rivals such as the Toyota Yaris and the Audi A1 in the widely competitive supermini segment.

The cheapest models to insure are those with the 1.0-litre petrol engine, of which there are a few variants to choose from. Used ‘S’ and ‘SE’ models offer everything you need but we’d recommend looking at a ‘beats’ model as they provide more fashionable styling and an uprated sound system.

While Polo models in insurance group 1 are equipped with an engine that only offers a performance figure of between 65bhp and 85bhp, they compensate for this by being highly economical, with 55mpg+ being more than achievable. Higher-powered, turbocharged variants are also available but expect to pay more for your insurance if you opt for one of those models.

Best Features

  • Solid build quality throughout.
  • Lowest insurance group on a variety of trim levels.
  • Highly economical powertrains.
Things to Consider
  • May be more expensive than some rivals.
  • Cheapest-to-insure powertrain lacks performance.
  • Competitive segment, so plenty of alternatives to consider.

2. Fiat 500 (2008-Present)

From insurance group 3

With its retro looks and cheaper price tag, the Fiat 500 is popular among newer drivers for a variety of reasons.

As a nimble city car, squeezing into tight parking spaces and zipping in and out of urban traffic is a breeze, taking much of the stress out of daily driving. It’s also one of the most characteristic options you’ll find in this segment, with a variety of colour combinations to consider when searching the used market.

Having been around for over a decade, there’s a variety of used Fiat 500 examples that offer low insurance costs, but it’s the 1.0-litre mild hybrid ‘Hey Google’ models that are the cheapest, residing in insurance group 1. However, models with this powertrain are pretty rare, so it’s worth considering the 1.2-litre ‘Pop’ (insurance group 5) as an alternative.

Best Features

  • Iconic retro looks.
  • Plenty of used examples to choose from.
  • Very easy to drive on a daily basis.
Things to Consider
  • Limited space in the rear and boot.
  • Interior design may feel a little dated.
  • Safety rating could be better (three-star Euro NCAP).

3. SEAT Mii (2012-2019)

From insurance group 1

Sharing the same platform as the Volkswagen up! and the Skoda Citigo, the Seat Mii is a dependable city car that’s also fun to drive. Originally available with 59bhp or 74bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engines, the Mii went electric-only in 2019.

The 1.0-litre S and Ecomotive versions fall within insurance group 1, so it’s those models you need to look out for if getting the lowest possible premium is your goal. However, most models also sit in relatively low insurance groups.

In addition to low insurance costs, practical benefits of the Mii include £20 road tax, 62mpg fuel consumption and 251 litres of boot space. Although compact, it easily fits four adults inside, and with some clever interior design elements, the Mii feels surprisingly comfortable and spacious, particularly in the front.

Best Features

  • Low running costs.
  • Smooth driving experience.
  • A cheaper alternative to the VW up! and Skoda Citigo.
Things to Consider
  • Limited optional extras to choose from.
  • No turbo engine option available (unlike the Up!).
  • High levels of wind noise on the motorway.

4. Renault ZOE (2019-Present)

From insurance group 15

Used electric cars can often be more expensive than petrol or diesel alternatives primarily due to their relative rarity and higher cost when new. However, there are plenty of great used electric cars for new drivers to consider that don’t cost a fortune to insure, one of which is the Renault ZOE.

As one of the first dedicated mass-market EVs available, the ZOE has proved popular over the years, particularly amongst urban drivers. With an all-electric range of up to 239 miles (depending on the model variant), it makes light work of the daily commute and is fairly comfortable on longer stints too.

The cheapest used ZOE models to insure will come in the Expression trim (insurance group 15), offering useful tech such as cruise control and a Bluetooth voice control system, but there are various models to consider that won’t cost much more to insure.

Best Features

  • Distinctive looks allow you to stand out.
  • A nimble driving experience that’s great for urban life.
  • Zero emissions and cheaper running costs.
Things to Consider
  • Limited electric range on entry-level models.
  • Generally more expensive to buy than petrol/diesel alternatives.
  • Pretty tight in the back for adults.

5. Skoda Citigo (2012-2019)

From insurance group 1

The Skoda Citigo is smart, stylish and surprisingly spacious. Practical and cheap to drive, its simple design feels grown-up and timeless. Sharing the majority of its parts with the Volkswagen up! and the SEAT Mii, it shares many of the same benefits as the latter but with a focus on value for money.

With two adults sitting in the back, it can store up to 251 litres in the boot — or if you fold the rear seats down, it can pack an impressive 959 litres.

All of the available trims for the Skoda Citigo sit within groups 1-4. Even better, there are multiple trims to choose from in insurance group 1, such as the 1.0 MPI SE or the 1.0-litre MPI Sport.

Best Features

  • Smart, stylish and timeless.
  • Spacious design.
  • Cheap to run.
Things to Consider
  • Lacks basic features like rolling down rear windows.
  • Entry-level variant of the up! and Mii.
  • Limited choice of engines.

6. Ford Ka+ (2016-2019)

From insurance group 1

Longer than the original Ka and with five doors, the Ford Ka+ comfortably holds four adults and 270 litres of luggage capacity (or 849 litres with the rear seats folded). Available with either a 1.2-litre petrol engine or a 1.5-litre diesel engine, it’s an affordable car that’s quiet to drive and well-equipped inside.

Only available with a 5-speed manual gearbox, the KA+ is easy to drive with light steering that makes it easy to manoeuvre around town and in supermarket car parks. The interior is a pleasant place to spend time thanks to its decent-quality cabin and easy-to-use controls that are well laid out.

Our recommended trim for new drivers needing the cheapest possible car insurance is the Ka+ Studio 1.2 Ti-VCT, which falls into group 1.

Best Features

  • 517 miles of driving between fill-ups.
  • Attractive design.
  • Spacious and well-equipped.
Things to Consider
  • Lack of modern technology inside the car.
  • Less premium than some rivals.
  • Limited to three engine options.

7. Ford EcoSport (2014-Present)

From insurance group 8

Often seen as a cheaper alternative to the Ford Puma, the EcoSport is an affordable entry-level SUV for new drivers.

Inside the EcoSport you’ll enjoy plenty of space, and the higher ride height provides you with clear visibility of the road. It’s also fitted with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is clear and easy to use, allowing you to connect your smartphone either through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

When it comes to the cost of insuring the EcoSport, the 1.5 TDCi Zetec trim is the only variant that sits within group 8. Sportier trims like the ST-Line are more stylish with two-tone exterior paintwork and fancier alloy wheels but start from insurance group 12, making them more expensive to own overall.

Best Features

  • 8-inch infotainment system.
  • Cheaper alternative to competitors.
  • Economical to run.
Things to Consider
  • Less legroom in the rear of the car.
  • Uninspiring to drive.
  • Small boot.

8. SEAT Ibiza (2017-Present)

From insurance group 2

Sharing a lot of its mechanical parts with the Volkswagen Polo, the SEAT Ibiza is a slightly cheaper alternative that’s also a bit sharper to drive.

It’s not quite as comfy as the Polo, but the five-door variant scores points for its stylish interior, luggage capacity and up-to-date infotainment system. There’s ample storage space in the Ibiza, too, with 355 litres of boot space, more than many of the competitors in its class.

When searching for a used Ibiza, pay attention to the trim level and engine you choose, as they all sit in different insurance groups. For the cheapest possible insurance, the S 1.0 MPI with 75PS is the one to go for if you’re a new or young driver, as it sits in insurance group 2.

Best Features

  • Smart, stylish interior.
  • Surprisingly spacious.
  • Up-to-date infotainment system.
Things to Consider
  • Less premium interior compared to the Polo.
  • Steering wheel audio controls can be fiddly.
  • Less refined on the motorway.

9. Hyundai i10 (2020-Present)

From insurance group 1

The Hyundai i10 is a small city car with plenty of space and equipment, providing new drivers with excellent value for money as a used car.

The design of the i10 is sharp and stylish, and many versions are fitted with helpful technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It can also hold its own on motorways, proving to be surprisingly quiet and refined at higher speeds.

Thanks to the 3-cylinder petrol engine, the i10 can travel up to 467 miles on one tank of fuel with an average fuel economy of 53.3 mpg. To get a version that falls into insurance group 1, you’ll want to look out for the 1.0 Premium Auto or the 1.0 Advance Auto models.

Best Features

  • Plenty of boot space.
  • Low running costs.
  • Smart interior.
Things to Consider
  • Can feel a little short on power.
  • Sluggish gear changes on auto models.
  • Lack of driver seating adjustments.

10. Renault Clio (2019-Present)

From insurance group 2

As one of the most stylish options available in the supermini segment, the Renault Clio goes toe-to-toe with the likes of the popular Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

However, much like its counterparts, the Clio has also long been a go-to for new drivers thanks to its inexpensive running costs, chic aesthetics and well-equipped nature. It’s more practical than many of its rivals too, offering an impressive 391-litre boot space that’s more than suited to the daily lives of most.

Insurance costs for a used Renault Clio will vary depending on which variant you opt for. The examples with the lowest insurance group are those with 64bhp or 74bhp engines. Despite their low power figures, these models still feel nimble and are highly economical, with over 50mpg being easily achievable.

Best Features

  • Sleeker aesthetics than most.
  • Towards the top in terms of practicality.
  • A go-to choice, so plenty of used examples are available.
Things to Consider
  • Competitive segment, so a lot of options to consider.
  • Limited space in the rear for taller passengers.
  • Sportier R.S. Line models will be more expensive to insure.

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