Car insurance premiums are calculated based upon a number of risk factors, including the driver's age, experience, location and how they intend to use the vehicle, but essentially it's about the car itself.
Cars are categorised into groups for insurance purposes, with group one being the cheapest cars to insure and group 50 the most expensive. The group rating reflects how powerful the car is, its safety and security features, how likely it is to be stolen and how expensive it is to repair. Lower groups generally contain the cheaper cars with lower power outputs, such as small city cars.
Expensive luxury vehicles and sports cars belong to the higher groupings. You can also help to keep your premiums low by storing the car in a locked garage overnight - and telling your insurer so - and by limiting your mileage. If your area is a hot spot for car theft, insurers could reward you for installing extra security devices such as tracking systems.
With this in mind, whatever age you are, you are likely to get the cheapest premiums for cars belonging to the lowest insurance groups. They don't usually provide the most entertaining drive and may not be the most stylish, but running costs are low and, depending upon how you use the car, they can be very practical.
For city dwellers who don't do a lot of miles, for example, a small footprint can help to access tight parking spaces, and there's no point indulging in a high-revving engine if you spend a lot of your time on the road stuck in traffic. However, with a few years' driving experience under your belt, you're probably ready to step up from old bangers to new cars with a bit more style.
Citroen C1/Peugeot 107/Toyota Aygo
This trio are all but identical under the surface, and all feature fairly smart but slightly different exteriors. They are some of the cheapest cars to insure for younger drivers and make reliable and practical little city cars for urban dwellers, although they are less at home on the motorway and completely incapable of carrying large groups of people or any big cargo.
If you're enjoying driving, the Swift is an unsung hot-hatch hero. It's small and light but blessed with a very entertaining engine and also comes with low insurance premiums - probably the cheapest way to get into thrilling hot-hatch territory.
It's the cheapest Mini in the range to insure, and you'll be surprised at just how spacious the modern Mini One is. The premium-quality fit and finish is a step up from many other small cars, and of course the Mini is always a trendy option.
Offering a bit more space and lots of retro charm, the Beetle is another car which has always been popular with the younger crowd. The modern version boasts Volkswagen's famous build quality and is surprisingly cheap to insure.
This is a comfortable four-door option for those who need a bit more cabin space without incurring high insurance costs. It's good but conservative-looking and a sensible choice if you spend more time on open roads than in the city.
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