The cheapest cars for new drivers to insure

Some of the best small models with low running costs

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 9:00 am
Small cars lead the way when it comes to cheap first-time insurance

After the intial purchase price, insurance and fuel are the biggest costs faced by drivers.

For younger, newly qualified drivers insurance is particularly difficult, with a combination of youth and inexperience meaning they face higher premiums than any other group.

While you can’t do much about your age or driving experience, choosing the right first car can help save money on insurance.

Understandably, smaller cars, such as the best-selling Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta, are popular first choices thanks to being easy to use and relatively cheap to buy and run. But even between smaller cars, not all models are equal.

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To help new drivers find the cheapest first year insurance, driver training firm Local Driving School looked at the country’s most popular small cars and compared average insurance quotes for a newly qualified driver who listed their occupation as “student”.

Volkswagen’s compact Up emerged as the cheapest car to insure, with an average premium of £1,483. That made it £140 a year cheaper than second place Citroen C1 but still £1,000 more expensive than the average UK premium.

Pick a pre-2017 Citroen C1 and you could get free car tax as well as relatively cheap insurance

The C1, which is part of a shared project with Toyota and Peugeot, was just four pounds cheaper than the Hyundai i10 city car (£1,627) while the Ford Ka was close behind, with an average cost of £1,650 per year. Despite being closely linked with the C1, the Toyota Aygo was more than £100 more expensive, at £1,755.

Larger and more premium models proved to be the most expensive for drivers just starting out, with the BMW 1 Series the most costly model in the city car to C-segment arena. With an average premium of £3,552 it was more than twice as expensive as the smaller Volkswagen. The Up’s big brother, the Polo, was the second most expensive, and at £3,077 per year it was even pricier than the larger Golf (£2,873). The Golf-rivalling Ford Focus was also comparable on cost, proving less than £30 cheaper than the German model, while the desirable Mini Cooper came with a less desirable average premium of £2,844.

Running costs such as fuel and tax are also a consideration for new drivers and choosing carefully can save hundreds a year. Several of the cheapest models to insure – such as the C1, Aygo and Up – qualify for car tax of between zero and £20 per year if you go for a pre-2017 model and offer wallet-friendly fuel economy.

Claire Davies, marketing manager at Local Driving School commented: “Car insurance is all about risk - with the popularity of the VW Polo, insurers also see lots of accidents and claims for this model, which result in higher insurance costs. Certain trim levels and specifications can also change the insurance group of a car dramatically.

“To avoid any costly surprises, check insurance quotes on the exact model you’re looking at before buying, and compare this to similar models with different specifications. The smallest details can massively change the quoted price from these averages. We also recommend checking the safety ratings of the cars you’re comparing - a high safety rating should be an important consideration in any purchase.”