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What are the cheapest cars to insure?

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If you’re in the market for a new car, whether you’re buying new or second-hand, you should check out the cost of insurance before you set your heart on a certain make or model.

There are numerous factors that affect the cost of the quotes you receive, such as your age, occupation, driving history and where you live. But one of the biggest influences on whether you can get cheap car insurance or not is the make and model of car you choose. In addition, you’ll also pay differing amounts for insurance depending on the model year, body style and ‘trim’ level.

A car trim is a collection of features bundled together into a package, and then marketed and sold as an upgrade over a car’s standard form.

Some cars are much cheaper to insure than others. So, given that you’ll be paying for insurance every year you own the car, it’s worthwhile researching insurance costs before buying your new set of wheels. 

It’s pretty easy to research car insurance costs as each car is placed in an ‘insurance group’ between one and 50. Cars in group one are the cheapest to insure, and group 50 the most expensive.

Essentially, if you are thinking of buying a car that is fast or expensive (or both) then you can usually expect to pay a higher insurance premium. The higher the trim level on the model you choose, the more you will generally pay too.

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Factors that affect how cheap a car is to insure

When calculating your car insurance premium, insurers will look at:

  • Your age and location: New or young drivers typically pay more for insurance than older drivers. If you live in an area with a high crime rate or a high number of road accidents, you’ll also pay more for cover.
  • Your driving history: You’ll get cheaper car insurance if you haven’t made any claims on past car insurance policies, and you have a clean licence. A history of claims or motoring convictions will see your premium go up. 
  • Your car: This includes the make, model and trim, engine size, number of seats, modifications and security features.

When it comes to your car, the following will impact how much you pay for car insurance:

Engine size

In general, the bigger engine your car has, the more your insurance will cost. That’s because drivers with powerful high-performance cars are deemed more likely to be involved in an accident. Large, powerful cars are also more expensive to repair or replace. Smaller cars with smaller engines are less likely to be involved in high-speed high-value crashes and will cost less to repair if they are.

Insurance group

Most insurers use industry-standard insurance groups. A vehicle’s insurance group is decided by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Group Rating Panel, which includes members from ABI and the Lloyds Market Association. The panel uses data from Thatcham research and assigns new car models to an insurance group based on a number of factors.


A modification is any kind of alteration to a vehicle that wasn’t in the manufacturer’s standard specification, or wasn’t fitted as an option when the vehicle was made. Modifications normally aim to make a car go faster or look better. If you significantly increase a car’s power and performance, most insurers will see the vehicle as a higher accident risk and so you’ll pay more for insurance. Other modifications might make a car more tempting for thieves – so, again, you’ll pay more for cover.


Security features such as an alarm, immobiliser or tracking device can both reduce the likelihood that your car will be stolen and boost the chances of it being recovered, and returned to you if it is. Standard security features have got better over the years, with many new cars already having an immobiliser and alarm system fitted.

How do car insurance groups work? 

Every car make and model is put into an insurance group by the ABI Group Rating Panel. This group system makes it easier for buyers to have a general idea of the cost of insuring any car they are thinking of buying. It’s important to note that different models of the same car with a different trim or engine size can be in different groups.

The panel looks at the following factors when assigning new car models to an insurance group:

  • New car value: Usually, the cost of a car correlates with the amount it would cost to repair or replace that car.
  • Cost of parts: Cars with high parts prices are typically dearer to repair, especially if parts are hard to come by or need to be imported from overseas.
  • Repair times: The panel compares a list of 23 common repair items with similar manufacturers. The longer the average repair time, the higher the insurance group. Conversely, some cars with the best safety features will take the longest to repair.
  • Performance: More powerful cars are capable of faster acceleration and higher speeds than smaller cars. They are also more likely to be driven by drivers who take risks. All these factors mean they are more likely to be involved in an accident. 
  • Safety features: Vehicles fitted with the latest safety features such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) are less likely to be in low-speed rear-end accidents, which could mean being placed in a lower insurance group. You can also check a car’s New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) rating. Cars are rated between one and five stars for safety.
  • Security: The harder it is for the car to be stolen or broken into, the lower the insurance group will be. Alarms and immobilisers can reduce the chances of a car being stolen, while some types of keyless cars are more susceptible to theft.
  • Trim level: Premium trim levels include additional features, technology and performance enhancements. These will cost more to repair or replace in the event of an accident.
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Top 10 cheapest cars to insure in the UK

Here are the top 10 cheapest cars to insure in the UK as rated by How much insurance costs for each individual driver will depend on their age, driving history, where they live and other factors.

New and used prices are estimates from

1. Volkswagen Polo hatchback: Best for young city drivers

Only the VW Polo 1-litre 79bhp petrol engine in Life trim is in group one for insurance. The VW Polo is small and cheap to insure – its lack of power makes it a good option for young drivers whizzing around the city. 

Volkswagen Polo hatchback
Engine 1.0-litre 79bhp petrol
Insurance group 1
Features 8-inch touchscreen, LED headlights
Safety AEB
Price new/used (Parkers) £20,050 – £31,235/£7,350 – £9,855

2. Kia Picanto hatchback: Best for older motorists downsizing

The Kia Picanto automatic 1-litre 65bhp in ‘2’ trim is in insurance group one. The manual version of the same car is in insurance group three.

The automatic might be the cheapest to insure but it’s a bit slow, taking 16.6 seconds to get from 0-60mph. But it’s a popular car with bold styling and a ‘youthful’ image.

Kia Picanto hatchback
Engine size 1-litre 65bhp petrol automatic
Insurance group 1
Features Air conditioning and audio controls on steering wheel
Safety Six airbags and driver’s knee bag
Price new/used (Parkers) £8,345 / £2,795 – £4,615

3. Volkswagen Up! hatchback: Best for young drivers on a budget

The Up! 1-litre Move Up three-door 59bhp petrol engine is in insurance group one. It comes with three seats and Parkers describes it as “agile and fun to drive.”

Volkswagen Up! hatchback
Engine size 1-litre 59bhp petrol
Insurance group 1
Features Air conditioning, Bluetooth, 5-inch infotainment screen
Safety NCAP 3 stars, two ISOFIX points in the rear
Price new/used (Parkers) £10,030 / £2,035 – £5,015

4. SEAT Ibiza hatchback: Best for nipping around town

Very similar to a VW Polo, the SEAT Ibiza 1-litre 79bhp boasts modest performance, going from 0-62mph in 15.3 seconds. It has a spacious interior and Parkers says it offers “fuss-free motoring” with a 1-litre MPI petrol engine.The car falls into insurance group 3 if you opt for sports edition (SE) trim or group 4 if you opt for the sportier formula racing (FR), which has different bumpers and upgraded LED exterior lights.

SEAT Ibiza hatchback
Engine 1-litre MPI 79bhp petrol
Insurance group 3 (SE trim) and 4 (FR trim)
Features 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, 8.25-inch infotainment screen, fatigue warning system
Safety 5-star Euro NCAP score, electronic stability control, ISOFIX child seat points, Front Assist braking
Price new/used (Parkers) £18,595 – £24,235 / £6,440 – £23,172

5. Hyundai i10 hatchback: Best for maintenance affordability

Buyers of the Hyundai i10 get a five-year/100,000-mile warranty as well as affordable maintenance costs. The SE Connect trim with an automatic gearbox is in insurance group 3, while the manual version is in group five, as is the 1.2-litre automatic model.

Blurring the lines between city car and supermini, the i10 is slightly bigger than the VW Up!

Hyundai i10 hatchback
Engine 1-litre 66bhp petrol automatic, 1-litre 66bhp petrol manual or 1.2-litre 88bhp petrol automatic
Insurance group 3 (1l auto) and 5 (1.2l auto and man)
Features 16-inch alloy wheels, generous interior space, 8-inch touchscreen
Safety AEB, driver attention alerts, eCell (which automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident)
Price new/used (Parkers) £8,995 – £14,345 / £2,803 – £13,960

6. Skoda Fabia hatchback: Best for motorway driving

The Skoda Fabia won Carbuyer’s best small car 2023 award.

The 1.0 MPI with a 79bhp engine in SE Comfort trim is in insurance group 3 – but other models are in groups 10 and above. With a 0-62mph time of 15.5 seconds, this version is better suited to the town than motorway driving and boasts lane-keeping assistance and blind spot warnings.

Skoda Fabia hatchback
Engine 1-litre MPI 79bhp petrol
Insurance group 3 (SE), 10
Features 380 litres of boot space, 15-inch alloy wheels and rear parking sensors
Safety ISOFIX child-seat mounting, self-parking devices and Travel Assistant
Price new/used (Parkers) £13,485 /£10,870 – £21,395

7. Kia Rio hatchback: Best for extras

Bigger than the Kia Picanto, the Kia Rio is also cheap to insure. Both the ‘1’ and ‘2’ trim levels are in group 4, with the latter more expensive but having more features such as 15-inch alloy wheels, rear electric windows, a DAB radio and an eight-inch display with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, along with cruise control and DPi engine.

Kia Rio hatchback
Engine 1.25-litre 82bhp DPi petrol
Insurance group 4
Features 325-litre boot, DAB radio and 15-inch alloy wheels
Safety Reversing camera and rear parking sensors
Price new/used (Parkers) £10,095 – £17,595/ £1,324 – £11,541

8. Ford Fiesta hatchback: Best for parts availability

The UK’s best-selling car of all time, the Ford Fiesta was discontinued in 2023 but there are plenty of used cars you can buy. Both the 1.1-litre 74bhp petrol engine and 1-litre EcoBoost 99bhp petrol in Trend and Titanium trims fall into insurance group five. The EcoBoost gets from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds, making it a quicker small car compared to other cheap models. 

Ford Fiesta hatchback
Engine 1.1-litre 74bhp or 1-litre EcoBoost 99bhp petrol
Insurance group 5
Features Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Ford MyKey
Safety Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance and optional extras including AEB and optional driver assistance pack
Price new/used (Parkers) £19,350 – £26,460 / £5,500 – £26,103

9. Fiat Panda hatchback: Best for visibility

Cheap and cheerful with a funky interior design, the Panda has a tall roof and a slightly raised driving position, meaning excellent visibility for city driving. However, it’s not ideal for motorway driving.

The Red trim version gets roof bars, a cabin air filter and interior surfaces treated with a biocide substance designed to kill viruses and bacteria. Garmin trim versions get 15-inch matte black alloy wheels and come with a Garmin smartwatch.

Fiat Panda hatchback
Engine 1.0-litre 70bhp petrol engine
Insurance group 6
Features Cabin air filter, roof bars (Red version), 15-inch matte black alloys (Garmin versions)
Safety Optional Active Safety Pack, city braking system
Price new/used (Parkers) £13,950/£1,740 – £14,590

10. Dacia Sandero Stepway hatchback: Best for rural areas

Budget brand Dacia’s Sandero Stepway is similar to the latest Renault Clio. Its higher ride and slightly more rugged trim on the Stepway, compared with the standard Sandero, will appeal to drivers who live in rural areas. Raised suspension makes it easier to tackle speed bumps and kerbs.

The 1-litre turbo control efficiency (TCe) 90bhp petrol engine with an automatic gearbox and Expression trim is in insurance group 7, with the 1.5 dCi 90 Ambiance five-door in group 10 and the 1.5 dCi 90 Laureate five-door in group 11.

Dacia Sandero Stepway hatchback
Engine 1.0-litre TCe 90bhp petrol
Insurance group 7 (1l auto), 10 (1.5l Ambiance) and 11 (1.5 Laureate)
Features 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, automatic lights and wipers and air conditioning
Safety Two ISOFIX points in the back, AEB and blindspot warning
Price new/used (Parkers) £15,050 – £19,145 / £10,939 – £18,468

Other considerations around cheap cars to insure

When looking at the cheapest cars to insure, there are other factors that you should look at too. These include:

  • The price: Whether you’re buying new or used, cars can vary widely in price. Some cars with cheap insurance – because they have great safety features, for example – might be expensive to buy. 
  • New or used: A brand new car will come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but you’ll pay a price premium and its value will depreciate the moment you drive away from the showroom.
  • Vehicle excise duty (VED): Often referred to as car or road tax, VED is based on a car’s age and emissions. Some cars pay £0 VED, while highly polluting models can pay up to £2,365 in the first year of registration.
  • Reliability: A car’s reliability affects the faults it may develop, breakdowns and how much time it might spend off-road for repairs.
  • Suitability: The best make and model will depend on what you will use the car for, such as zipping around a city or long journeys on the motorway. Think about whether you need space, speed or room for pets or children.
  • Fuel type: You won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car from 2030, although you’ll still be able to buy used models and drive them legally. Electric vehicles are much better for the environment but ideally you’ll have a home charger or live near an on-street charging point.
  • Fuel consumption: How much petrol or diesel you need to put in your car will have a big impact on running costs. Smaller cars tend to be more economical. 
emma lunn

Emma Lunn

Money Writer

Emma Lunn is a multi-award winning journalist who specialises in personal finance and consumer issues. 

With more than 18 years’ experience in personal finance, Emma has covered topics including mortgages, first-time buyers, leasehold, banking, debt, budgeting, broadband, energy, pensions and investments. 

Emma’s one of the most prolific freelance personal finance journalists with a back catalogue of work in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday, and the Mirror. 

As a freelancer she has also completed various in-house contracts at The Guardian, The Independent, Mortgage Solutions, Orange, and Moneywise. She also writes regularly for specialist magazines and websites such as Property Hub, Mortgage Strategy and 

She has a real passion for helping people learn about money – especially when many people are struggling to get by in today’s challenging economic climate – and prides herself on simplifying complex subjects.

Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.