First-time drivers aged 17- to 19 years old tend to pay 51% more to insure the same vehicle compared to their 20-year-old counterparts, recent data from MoneySuperMarket has revealed.
The financial comparison website’s latest Young Drivers Index also shows that the average cost of a full comprehensive policy for motorists in the 17 to 19 age group stands at £935, which is significantly higher than the £364 average for those aged 20 and above.
To come up with the figures, the firm analysed more than one million quotes requested by its clients between June 2020 and June 2021. The company also used the data to identify the most popular cars among first-time drivers and the typical cost of insuring these vehicles.
The Ford Fiesta tops the list of most popular cars among young motorists based on insurance searches, according to the index obtained by financial advice and information website This Is Money. But with fully comprehensive coverage for 17- to 19-year-olds costing an average of £711, the model is not the cheapest to insure for the age bracket.
None of the top three favourites actually made the list of cars with the lowest premiums. The Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo, which placed second and third in the most popular rankings, cost £689 and £656 to insure for first-time drivers.
For these three models, the average insurance rates drop to £347, £393, and £392, respectively, for drivers aged 20 and older.
Why is car insurance more expensive for young drivers?
Every registered vehicle in the UK is included in one of 50 insurance categories, according to MoneySuperMarket. The easier the car is to repair, and the less rare, expensive, or powerful it is, the lower the group it will fall under. Premium costs also tend to be cheaper when the vehicle is in a lower insurance category.
The following factors are the primary determinants for a vehicle’s grouping, according to the financial comparison website:
- Vehicle’s price
- Cost to repair
- Cost of common replacement parts
- Length of time to repair
- Performance, including acceleration and top speed
- Safety and security features
However, insurance groupings are not the only factors that impact premium prices. Insurance cost can also be affected by every driver’s details, including age and driving history.
“Car insurance premiums are often higher for drivers who have recently passed their test as insurers associate more risk with them,” Praksha Patel-Shah, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, told This Is Money. “Prices can also differ significantly depending on the type of car you drive.”
To save on premiums, Patel-Shah advised motorists, especially the younger ones, to shop around using price comparison sites to find the best deals. She also shared tips on how first-time drivers can lower car insurance costs.
“There are a number of ways for newly qualified Britons to reduce their insurance premium,” she said. “You can keep costs down by reducing your mileage or opting for a higher excess. You could even look into telematics policies, which use data to monitor how people drive, and use this to determine the cost of their car insurance. The more careful the driver, the more competitively priced the policy.”
“It’s also important that you don’t just accept the first car insurance quote you receive,” Patel-Sheh added. “By shopping around and comparing you could easily save yourself up to £235.”
Read more: Top 10 car insurance companies in the UK
Ten cheapest cars to insure for first-time drivers in the UK
The cheapest cars to insure are not necessarily the most popular for the country’s young drivers. However, these vehicles do not necessarily lag in performance and can enable newly licensed motorists to save hundreds of pounds in premiums. These are the least expensive cars to insure for drivers aged 17 to 19, based on MoneySuperMarket’s data.
1. Citroen C1
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £506
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £294
- Difference between age groups: £212
- Percentage increase between age groups: 72%
Topping the list is the Citroen C1, which runs on a fuel-efficient 1.0-litre petrol engine that is suitable for city driving. The model is also easy to maintain, helping keep insurance costs down. Based on auto review site Parkers’ insurance group checker, most versions of the vehicle fall under category six to 13. Annual premiums for the 17 to 19 age group, however, are still 72% higher than those for over-20 drivers.
2. Fiat 500 Pop
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £509
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £319
- Difference between age groups: £190
- Percentage increase between age groups: 60%
The Fiat 500 Pop is the entry-level model in the Fiat 500 range and the first version on the list. It is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine capable of 59 miles per gallon (mpg), good for driving around the city. Insurance starts as low as group seven but can go up to group 15, depending on the trim.
3. Fiat 500 Lounge
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £519
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £304
- Difference between age groups: £215
- Percentage increase between age groups: 71%
The second of three Fiat 500 models in the list is also the ninth most popular car for young drivers, and for good reason. Apart from Bluetooth connectivity, it is among the most fashionable small cars with its retro styling. Lounge comes with three engine options: 1.2-litre petrol, 900cc petrol, and 1.3-litre Multijet diesel. The last, capable of 76mpg, is the most efficient engine in the line-up. Just like Pop, Fiat 500 Lounge falls under insurance groups seven to 15.
4. Peugeot 107
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £539
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £286
- Difference between age groups: £253
- Percentage increase between age groups: 89%
The Peugeot 107’s strength lies on its low running costs. The car’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine runs at 66mpg and emits just 99 grams per kilometre (g/km) of carbon dioxide (CO2), making it free to tax. Some review sites, however, say the model is not “well-equipped” and may “struggle in out-of-town” drives. Peugeot 107 falls under the three to five insurance categories.
5. Ford Ka
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £543
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £315
- Difference between age groups: £277
- Percentage increase between age groups: 72%
Ford Ka also takes the fourth spot in the most popular rankings, the highest among the models included in this list. Ka insurance costs are among the lowest in the country, thanks to its large dealer network and affordable replacement parts. Most versions are under insurance group three.
6. Toyota Aygo
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £550
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £305
- Difference between age groups: £245
- Percentage increase between age groups: 80%
Competitively priced, the Toyota Aygo is cheap to run with its 1.0-litre VVT petrol engine and emits very low levels of CO2, meaning motorists do not have to pay road tax. Older versions sit at insurance groups two or three, while recent releases fall under the six to nine categories.
7. Fiat 500
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £560
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £299
- Difference between age groups: £261
- Percentage increase between age groups: 87%
Just like the other versions in the list, the Fiat 500’s small engine makes it cheap to run. Recent versions are powered by a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine that also features a mild-hybrid technology consisting of a 12-volt starter generator and a small lithium-ion battery. The vehicle is capable of 53.3 to 56.5mpg, with carbon dioxide emissions starting at 105g/km. Insurance rate gap between age groups, however, is among the highest in the list.
8. MINI One
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £587
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £429
- Difference between age groups: £158
- Percentage increase between age groups: 37%
The MINI One retains the style and character of 60s cars, making it the fifth most popular car among young drivers. Versions running on a 102 brake horse power (bhp) 1.2-litre TwinPower petrol engine or 95bhp 1.2-litre TwinPower turbo diesel engine are available, both equipped with engine stop-start to boost fuel-efficiency and cut CO2 emissions. MINI One sits relatively high in the insurance categories, with the lowest rating at group 13.
9. Renault Clio
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £626
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £354
- Difference between age groups: £277
- Percentage increase between age groups: 77%
The Renault Clio is powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine with 99bhp, with 1.3-litre TCe petrol versions offered in trims with an automatic gearbox. The car’s low running costs make it appealing to many young drivers, placing sixth in the most popular list. Insurance rating starts at group three but can go up to category 12, depending on the trim.
Read next: These are the most common types of insurance
10. Ford Fiesta Zetec (80)
- Average full comprehensive cover for 17 to 19: £648
- Average full comprehensive cover for 20+: £364
- Difference between age groups: £284
- Percentage increase between age groups: 78%
The Ford Fiesta Zetec is designed for younger buyers who want a car with a sporty look and feel, minus the high maintenance costs and expensive premiums. It is powered by a 1.6 TDCI diesel engine with 94bhp or a 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol version with 123bhp. In 2019, however, Ford replaced the Zetec with the Trend trim, which comes with several feature upgrades.