The seven cheapest new cars to insure – ranked

Kia Picanto
The least expensive cars to insure tend to be small, cheap and slow – but buying at this end of the market isn't as bleak as it sounds. Pictured: Kia Picanto

Car insurance companies consider a number of factors when calculating how many zeros to add to your quote. Where you live, who you are, how long you’ve been driving and how often you’ve crashed during that time will all contribute to the cost of your policy, which is a concern to all drivers as the average UK premium nears £1,000 for a year’s cover.

But in addition to your personal information and driving history, insurers will still take into account the characteristics of your chosen vehicle – especially if your age or where you live puts you in another “high-risk” group.

The least expensive cars to insure tend to be small, cheap and slow. A small-displacement engine with modest power output puts underwriters’ fretful minds at ease, as does the relatively low cost of repairing these basic, economical vehicles; the parts are inexpensive and churned out in their thousands, so common repairs such as bumper and door replacements incur favourable costs when compared with more desirable, less common models.

Electric cars fall foul of this. They tend to be large, expensive and fast, with powerful motors and high-performance figures. Additionally, they can be expensive and complicated to fix – a problem that insurers have blamed for high policy costs. These circumstances might change, but for now EVs are expensive to insure, while the dwindling supply of small, inexpensive petrol-powered cars remains the least expensive.

Theft is another factor that insurers use to calculate premiums. Put simply, if you think a car is particularly desirable, thieves do too. Small city cars aren’t worth that much and are less attractive to steal than, say, Range Rovers, which get nicked all the time. A handful of flash cars are so susceptible to theft that they’ve become virtually uninsurable in some areas.

Buy slow, inexpensive and undesirable

So it seems the answer to Britain’s car insurance problem is simply to buy a slow, inexpensive, undesirable car that nobody wants to steal. But that’s not as bleak as it sounds, since this end of the market tends to present the best-value vehicles, which are also the most affordable to buy and maintain.

Insurance groups are used to categorise cars by risk. The lower the risk, the lower the group and, by extension, the lower your insurance premium will be, all other factors being equal.

It’s worth remembering that insurance groups apply to specific versions of a given car, rather than the model as a whole – a 1.0-litre variant with steel wheels and no satnav might fall into group 2, while the same car with a 2.0-litre engine and more equipment could be in a significantly higher group. For our list of the most affordable new cars to insure, we’ve included cars that fall into groups 1 to 5.

1. Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10
The Hyundai i10 is likely the least expensive new car to insure in 2024 - Matt Vosper Photography

The brilliant i10 is one of only a handful of new cars that fall into insurance group 1 – even then, some variants and options will put it into group 2 or above. But with a 1.0-litre engine and an automatic gear-box, the i10 (one of the best five-seat city cars on the market) becomes probably the least expensive new car to insure in 2024. As with many small cars, it’s a bit slow on motorways.

Variant: 1.0 Advance Auto 

Insurance group: 1

2. Kia Picanto

Closely related to the Hyundai i10. Like Hyundai, Kia has a reputation for reliability and good design, though we think the i10 is a slightly better buy – not least because the Picanto has fewer seats. That’s right, the Picanto (or at least the least expensive 1.0-litre auto variants) has only four places to sit, which for most people is plenty, especially in a car so small that three adults abreast in the back will feel like sardines.

Variant: 1.0 2 5dr Auto [4 seats]

Insurance group: 1

3. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo
The Polo feels like a larger car than it is

Unlike smaller cars such as the i10 and Picanto, the Polo is a more versatile hatchback that doesn’t feel like it’s been designed as an urban runabout. Borrowing heavily from the Golf, the Polo feels like a larger car and even the smallest engines will be sufficient for dual carriageways. Expect to spend more for a fancy Volkswagen than you would on other “cheap” cars, though.

Variant: Life 1.0

Insurance group: 3

4. Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia
The Fabia is similar to the Polo, with the added advantage of more legroom and a bigger boot - SKODA AUTO

This is mechanically similar to the Polo and shares a lot of the same power trains. The Skoda is considered the better car, with more legroom in the back and a slightly bigger boot, but there isn’t much in it. Most Fabia versions are in insurance groups roughly par for a car of this size, but a handful are considered particularly low risk.

Variant: SE Comfort 1.0 MPI 5dr 

Insurance group: 4

5. Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza
The Ibiza's engine is plenty for even fast roads - david shepherd

Seat’s interpretation of the supermini brief is excellent and is generally priced lower than that of sister cars from Skoda or Volkswagen. We also reckon it’s marginally cooler to drive a Seat. Only the 1.0 earns you truly affordable insurance, with the more powerful engines in higher groups, but this small engine (shared with the Fabia) is plenty for even fast roads.

Variant: SE 1.0 MPI 5dr

Insurance group: 2

6. Dacia Sandero

Dacia Sandero
The Sandero compares favourably with much smaller and more basic rivals

Dacia’s bargain Sandero is inexpensive to insure thanks to a low insurance group given to its back-to-basics Essential trim level. It’s not a sophisticated car, but it compares favourably with much smaller and more basic rivals, and is still one of the most affordable new cars – although a used car can work out cheaper in the long run.

Variant: 1.0 SCe Essential

Insurance group: 4 

7. Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo
The underrated Aygo is 'cute and compact' - Jeff Gilbert

An underrated and versatile runabout, the Aygo from Japan often gets overlooked in favour of familiar European and Korean models. It’s cute and compact, and while insurance group 5 makes it costlier to cover than the i10, its chunky SUV-esque styling makes it an appealing other option to the largely anonymous designs of this segment.

Variant: VVT-i Pure

Insurance group: 5