26 Oct

What’s the cheapest car for a young driver to insure?

Insurance guides

For many young people, picking up the keys to their first car is a rite of passage. It’s an exhilarating feeling, meaning independence and an end to relying on parents and friends for lifts.


But, right now, too many young people are having to wait patiently for all that excitement to begin. Lockdowns during the pandemic resulted in a complete cessation of driving tests and although these reopened on 22 April, there is still a long waiting list, of at least 17 weeks or even longer.


Apart from the numbers of people waiting to be tested, the situation is compounded by a shortage of DVSA examiners and even some driving schools are said to have waiting lists to take on new students.


This means many young people are in an unenviable situation, unable to start their lessons or gain experience. One way forward for those in a more fortunate position is to rely on their parents to give them some practical training, while they wait both for professional teaching and for a test slot to become available.

However, it is possible that a parent’s car may be unsuitable for practice sessions, since it may be too valuable or powerful, for example.


So, the solution for young drivers is to buy their first car before they take their test. This can be a sensible move, and provides them with a considerable advantage. They can gain road sense and invaluable experience, providing they have an appropriately qualified driver – such as a parent – to accompany them. They can also do this safely, since the vehicle will be insured.


GoShorty supplies fully comprehensive temporary insurance for learner drivers cars that are owned by drivers aged 17 to 25 and which have a value of up to £10,000. The good news is that once the young driver has passed, they can then purchase annual cover if wish – although there is no getting away from the fact that first car insurance is extremely costly.


Why is young driver insurance so expensive?

Unfortunately, young drivers are more likely to have an accident and this is reflected in high premiums. Young people in particular, are shown as being more likely to take risks and secondly, becoming a safe driver comes with experience. Insurers price their premiums at such high rates because so many large claims have been paid out.


Choosing a first car is an important decision. Clearly, cost is often a big factor, but equally, the car needs to be in good condition, since there is point driving a model that is going to require large amounts on maintenance, is unreliable and potentially unsafe.


So, in terms of insurance, the key is to find an insurer that is in a so-called low insurance group. All vehicles are subject to a group rating system and given a number from one to 50, having been subject to independent assessment by Thatcham Research, which advises the insurance industry. The lower the number, the lower the insurance premium and so choosing one of these cars is a must for those seeking affordable cover. These cars will not be built for speed – but from a young person’s point of view, this is a positive and reduces the risk of a serious accident. Meanwhile, if they do have a prang, then these mass market vehicles can often be repaired relatively easily because of the availability of parts.


Conversely, those at the other end of the scale and that are designated high numbers, will be extremely powerful cars and so the most costly to insure.


What models suit young drivers?

Young drivers will almost certainly be looking for a used car, but they should also focus on buying from a reputable dealer that is proving a warranty. The car should be well maintained and with good fuel economy. The good news is that there are plenty of models in low insurance groups and so much will come down to availability and preference.


Car prices change constantly, so the young driver will need to put in hours of research. But, some of the favourite models which may appear on your radar could include the Polo and Up from Volkswagen, the Renault Clio, Ford’s Fiesta and the Skoda Fabia.


But, what about electric cars? Many young people want to do as much as they can to reduce the impact of climate change and so would prefer to have an electric car, or at least a hybrid. The problem here is that purchase costs will almost certainly be higher and there will be less choice compared to traditional fuel models. Hybrid cars tend to be more aimed at the family market and again, may be unsuited to those seeking a first car. But, depending on your budget, it is well worth looking to see what is available and models currently among the most affordable to insure include the MG ZS, Renault’s Zoe and Peugeot’s 208 EV.


The pandemic has been hard for everyone – and that includes young people. They have had to deal with many challenges in terms of their education and almost feeling their lives have been put on hold. In terms of driving and owning a car, there are signs that matters are slowly improving and for many, taking ownership of those keys and experiencing the freedom of the road cannot come at a moment too soon.

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