Cheapest cars to insure

Low cost but big on value, these are the cheapest cars to insure in Britain, with quotes of less than £1,000 a year for teenage drivers

John Evans
Jul 10, 2018

You’ve saved the road tax, sorted the finance and budgeted for the fuel costs. And then the insurance quote pops up on your screen.

The average car insurance premium is £660 per year, according to the AA, but if you’re a young driver, that looks like a bargain: the average price for drivers aged 17-22 is £1,630.

There are plenty of ways to cut the cost of insuring a car but the simplest one is to buy a car in a low insurance group. Every car on sale in Britain is placed into one of 50 insurance groups by an organisation called Thatcham Research. It takes into account a car’s safety and security equipment, the cost of repair, and its performance.

In general, the lower the group, the cheaper the premium will be, so you’ll almost certainly reduce insurance costs by getting a car in a low insurance group. It’s not the only factor, though. As the list below shows, a group 7 car can still come with cheap insurance.

 

The cheapest cars to insure in Britain

All cars are still in production, costing around £10,000 or less. New car discounts will cut the price, as will buying a used model. Each one comes with example comprehensive insurance quotes for one young and one middle-aged driver, shown below. Our quotes for the young driver assume there is a black box fitted to the car monitoring their driving.

Bear in mind that quotes can vary by several hundreds of pounds, based on factors such as your postcode, parking arrangements, annual mileage and driving history. Insurers are not allowed to discriminate based on gender but many policies will force younger drivers to have a higher excess.

  • F19 - 19-year old female with two years’ no claim bonus and no penalty points, living in GU12 (Guildford). Voluntary excess: £250
  • M40: 40-year-old male living in GU12 five years’ no-claim bonus and non penalty points. Voluntary excess £250

 

The quotes have been sourced through uswitch.com. The pictures below are general images of the cars, and not necessarily the highlighted specification.

  

Volkswagen Take up! 1.0 MPI 60PS s/s 3dr

Best cheap car to insure for the very lowest insurance premiums

Insurance group 1 (full VW up! range: groups 1-10) 
Typical insurance premiums F19 £572; M40 £240
Manufacturer price £9,605
 
Costing less than £600 a year for a typical 19-year-old to insure, this little Volkswagen will go straight onto a teenager’s shortlist even before you consider its surprisingly spacious interior, as well as its comfort and stability at motorway speeds.

Less impressive is the basic technology on offer. An auxiliary port is the only way to get music from your phone through the stereo, as USB and Bluetooth for a wireless phone connection are only fitted as standard on higher-specification models which are more expensive to insure.

You’ll also be spending more than you would on an entry-level Skoda Citigo, which is virtually identical to the up! (but does have a USB port), and costs little more to insure

Fuel economy 68.9mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.4sec  Boot size 251 litres

 

Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI 60PS S 3dr

Best cheap car to insure for overall value

Insurance group 2 (full Skoda Citigo range: groups 2-4)

Typical insurance premiums F19 £575; M40 £241
Manufacturer price £8,785

Skoda is part of the Volkswagen Group and the Citigo is little more than a VW up! with different badges.

This is excellent news because the Citigo comes with all of the space, comfort and solidity of the Volkswagen. It costs a few pounds more to insure but the car itself is cheaper and comes with a standard USB port on the cheapest S model, making it a better buy than the equivalent up!.

The Citigo S specification is still basic, though, and you would probably be happier spending a few hundred pounds more on an SE model with the same 60hp engine, which comes with air conditioning, alloy wheels and a smartphone holder, so you can use your device as a sat-nav. You’ll pay a little more for insurance, but this may be as little as £20 per year.

Fuel economy 64.2mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.4sec  Boot size 251 litres

 

Kia Picanto 1.0 1

Best cheap car to insure for a lengthy warranty

Insurance group 4 (full Kia Picanto range: groups 4-7)

Typical insurance premiums F19 £607; M40 £248
Manufacturer price £9,500

Being in insurance group 4 should put the little Picanto at a disadvantage compared with the Hyundai i10 below, which is in group 2 and shares its mechanical parts with the Kia.

However, not only is the Kia cheaper to buy than the Hyundai but it’s also cheaper to insure for both sample drivers. The Picanto is a nimble city car and comes with an industry-leading seven-year warranty. Even in basic 1 trim it has front electric windows, USB and aux ports, and remote central locking.

Fuel economy 64.2mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.3sec  Boot size 255 litres

 

Hyundai i10 S 5dr

Best cheap car to insure for unlimited mileage warranty and practicality

Insurance group 2 (full Hyundai i10 range: groups 2-7)
Typical insurance premiums F19 £609; M40 £257
Manufacturer price £9,695

It’s the cheapest Hyundai to insure but, in basic S trim, the i10 isn't at its best, despite having a five-year warranty, a roomy boot and spacious interior.

Like the cars above, it lacks a Bluetooth wireless phone connection and air conditioning. The i10 S even goes without a light in the boot, which is fitted to the rest of the range.

It means that a higher-specification SE model is a better car, particularly as it’s barely more expensive to insure. New Hyundai i10 discounts mean that the upgrade may cost less than £400 and the difference is even less for used buyers.

Fuel economy 60.1mpg  Acceleration 14.7sec  Boot size 252 litres

 

Vauxhall Viva 1.0i SE 5dr

Best cheap car to insure for standard equipment

Insurance group 3 (full Vauxhall Viva range: groups 3-4)
Typical insurance premiums F19 £612; M40 £271
Manufacturer price £10,075

As the most expensive car here, you might be expecting more from the Vauxhall Viva, and it does include features including Bluetooth, cruise control and electric front windows. Upgrading to SE A/C typically costs less than £500 and brings air conditioning.

Its insurance costs are competitive but thereafter it loses ground against more modern rivals. Cars such as the Skoda Citigo, for example, have more space, are more economical and are nimbler than the Viva.

Fuel economy 54.3mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 13.1sec  Boot size 206 litres

 

Citroen C1 Touch VTi 68 3dr

Best cheap car to insure for unexpectedly low insurance

Insurance group 7 (full Citroen C1 range: groups 7-10)

Typical insurance premiums F19 £616; M40 £250
Manufacturer price £9,125

You might think that the Citroen C1’s classification in group 7 would rule it out of this list, but this is an example of a car that is virtually as cheap to insure as one in group 1.

Insurers are extremely secretive about how they calculate premiums, so we don’t know exactly why this is the case. It could be that C1 owners are generally being less crash-prone than other drivers, or that the cars are driven more frequently on safer roads.

In any case, this enhances the C1’s reputation as a no-frills, bargain runabout. its engine pushes the car forward with energy, at least up to 40mph. Again, this is an entry-level car without Bluetooth or air conditioning.

Upgrading to Feel specification, adds air conditioning, Bluetooth and a touchscreen without changing the cost of insurance greatly. You’ll also have far more choice on the used market where these cars are plentiful.

Fuel economy 74.3mpg Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.1sec  Boot size 196 litres

 

Renault Twingo 1.0 SCe 70 Expression 5dr

Best cheap car to insure for manoeuvrability

Insurance group 2 (full Renault Twingo range: groups 2-8)
Typical insurance premiums F19 £618; M40 £260
Manufacturer price £10,000

With fresh, individual styling, a tight turning circle that offers great manoeuvrability and a reasonable amount of space inside, the Renault Twingo is an ideal first car, with cheap insurance available too.
The cheapest Expression cars are basic but crucially include Bluetooth and a phone cradle, so you can wirelessly connect your phone, play music through the car’s speakers and safely use it as a sat-nav.

What’s more, despite being nearly the most expensive car here, the £618 premium insurers demand for a 19-year-old female driver is reasonable, compared with some of the cars further down the list.

Fuel economy 56.5mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.5sec  Boot size 219 litres

 

Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i x 3dr

Best cheap car to insure for distinctive design

Insurance group 3 (full Toyota Aygo range: groups 3-7)

Typical insurance premiums F19 £628; M40 £261

Manufacturer price £9,260

Among the small city cars listed here, the Aygo is the most expensive to insure for both sample drivers. However, the price of the car is relatively cheap and that’s before the discounts you can get on the model.

It’s one of the most distinctive-looking small cars on the market with X-inspired styling and the option of bold colours. The little engine is really energetic around town, too. Underneath the dramatic styling are the same mechanical parts as the Citroen C1. The Aygo also shares that car's lack of space in the back, too.

As the cheapest version, the Aygo-x is really basic but an impressive five-year warranty is standard.

Fuel economy 68.9mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.2sec  Boot size 168 litres

 

Dacia Logan Access SCe 75

Best cheap car to insure for a low price

Insurance group 2 (full Dacia Logan range: groups 2-9)
Typical insurance premiums F19 £689; M40 £279
Manufacturer price £8,495

It’s the only estate car in this list and costs less than £9,000 when new, so this Dacia Logan has a lot going for it. Especially as it’s cheaper than the smaller Dacia Sandero (below) to insure.
Fashionable it’s not, but the Logan does offer plenty of space in the rear seats, a sizeable boot and low insurance premiums.

Access trim brings a new meaning to “basic”, as the short list of standard equipment doesn’t include a radio. That’s nothing that a trip to Halfords can’t resolve, though, where you’ll be able to find an aftermarket stereo with digital radio and Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity.

Fuel economy 52.3mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.7sec  Boot size 573 litres

 

Dacia Sandero Access SCe 75 5dr

Best cheap car to insure for value

Insurance group 2 (full Dacia Sandero range: groups 2-11)

Typical insurance premiums F19 £692; M40 £268

Manufacturer price £6,995

Britain’s cheapest new car may be inexpensive to buy but it's not the cheapest to insure: in the example above, a teenage driver will pay more than £100 per year extra than for a Volkswagen up!.
However, where most of the models in this list are tiny city cars, but the Dacia Sandero offers low insurance premiums on a much larger car, the size of a Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa.

The cheapest model, called Access, is in insurance group 2 but it doesn’t have a radio. Upgrading to Ambiance level doesn’t affect your insurance group and includes equipment such as a wireless Bluetooth phone connection, electric front windows, remote central locking and a radio.

Fuel economy 54.3mpg  Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.2sec  Boot size 320 litres

 

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