Car insurance for 17-year-olds

Find out the average cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old, the cheapest cars to insure and how to cut insurance premiums.

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So, you’ve passed your test and are free to get behind the wheel without supervision. Time to celebrate! That is until you try to get car insurance and do a double-take at just how much it costs. Car insurance tends to be very expensive for 17-year-olds, especially when you consider that many are still in education and not earning a full-time income. This guide explains what car insurance is available to 17-year-olds and how they can find the best policy for their needs.

Cheapest cars to insure for a 17-year-old

Make Model Age Average price -
Vauxhall Adam ENERGISED 1.2 3dr 17 £1810 Get Quote
Volkswagen UP 1.0i Up 5dr 17 £1582 Get Quote
Ford KA 1.2 85 Zetec 5dr 17 £1596 Get Quote
Renault Twingo 0.9 TCE Iconic 5dr 17 £1727 Get Quote
Kia Rio 1.0 T-GDi 2 5dr 17 £1727 Get Quote
Ford Fiesta 1.1L Zetec Ti-VCT 5dr 17 £2049 Get Quote
SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI XCELLENCE 5dr 17 £2292 Get Quote
Hyundai i10 1.0 Se 5dr Hatchback 17 £1855 Get Quote
Volkswagen Polo 1.2 S 5d 17 £1793 Get Quote
Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i X-Press 5dr 17 £2236 Get Quote
Peugeot 108 1.2 PureTech Allure 5dr Petrol Hatchback 17 £2390 Get Quote
Citroen C1 1.2 PureTech Flair 5dr 17 £2390 Get Quote
Skoda Fabia 1.0 MPI 75 Colour Edition 5dr 17 £1919 Get Quote
Dacia Sandero 1.0 SCe Ambiance 5dr 17 £1919 Get Quote
Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i ecoTEC Design 5dr 17 £2113 Get Quote

Why is car insurance more expensive for 17-year-olds?

Well, we hate to say it, but younger and less experienced drivers are simply more likely to be involved in an accident and make a claim. Official stats prove it. Department for Transport figures, for example, show that 17- to 20-year-old drivers make up a disproportionately high number of road traffic casualties (11%) compared with most other age groups.

Car insurance companies will calculate a new customer’s premium based on the risk of someone in their demographic making a claim on their policy, among other things, so insurers charge them far more to compensate for this.

What types of insurance are available to 17-year-olds?

Technically, 17-year-olds can purchase the same types of insurance as any other motorist: comprehensive, third-party, fire and theft or third-party only.

Comprehensive insurance offers the deepest level of protection. And, contrary to what you might expect, it may not be the most expensive type. So, it’s worth checking the cost of all types of insurance.

With some insurers, younger drivers may be able to opt for a “black-box” policy. This allows insurers to track your driving activity and (hopefully) prove that you are a safe driver. If you can do this, you’ll often get discounts on your premium.

Average car insurance cost for a 17-year-old

To give you an idea of the average cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old, we ran several quotes using a popular make and model for a 17-year-old and an average UK postcode. Based on our results, on average, you could get a comprehensive car insurance policy for an annual sum of £2049.32.

Average insurance cost for a 17-year-old by location

The table above shows the cheapest cars to insure for 17-year-olds and the average insurance premium for each make and model. However, several other factors that affect the cost of your car insurance premiums, one of the biggest being your location.

To show the power of the postcode, here are some average quotes for a 17-year-old living in three different locations. The quotes are for a Hyundai i10 S 5d Model.

  • Cheap: £1512 (Truro, TR8)
  • Average: 1855.46 (Chester, CH1)
  • Expensive: 2271 (London, E10)

As you can see above, there is a great degree of cost variability between each location due to factors such as the likelihood of theft, historic claims data in the area and road traffic data. For example, the driver who lives in London will pay an extra £759 per year when compared to the driver who lives in Truro.

Case study: finding the cheapest car insurance for a 17-year-old

Holly, our fictional 17-year-old, has held her licence for 5 months. She’s been driving her parents’ shared car as a named driver since she passed her test but wants the freedom and flexibility that owning her own car will give her, so she is thinking of investing in a second-hand VW Golf SE hatchback.

Holly’s keen to get the cheapest car insurance she can, so she decides to try out a few options. She starts off by getting quotes from a leading price comparison site, plus Direct Line, which isn’t on price comparison sites.

When the price comparison site results come up, she gets a bit of a shock. Some of the top five quotes all come in at more than £3,000, with the cheapest being £2,255 if she pays annually.

Can going direct save Holly money?

Sadly, Direct Line isn’t any cheaper. Its standard comprehensive policy would set her back an eye-watering £4,282, while the provider’s black box policy would cost £3,094, so she rapidly rules this option out.

What about adding an experienced named driver?

Desperately searching for ways to cut the cost of cover, she asks her 50-year-old dad if he’d be interested in driving her car occasionally so she can add him as a named driver. He likes the idea and has a clean driving record with plenty of no-claims years, so she tries adding him as a named driver on the price comparison site.

She’s pleased to find that this knocks more than £200 off the cost of insurance via the price comparison site, with the cheapest quote now coming in at £2,029.

Is it worth considering a different car?

Finally, Holly notices that her car of choice – a VW Golf SE – is in insurance group 11 out of 50. It’s not the most expensive insurance group, but nor is it the cheapest. She reconsiders and checks the price for a VW Polo SE instead, which is in insurance group 8. This puts her cheapest quote at £1,598, so she decides this is a trade-off worth making.

What other costs are involved in getting your first car?

As well as paying for their car insurance, new drivers will need to make sure they have the money available to cover a bunch of other costs. They all add up, so make sure you budget carefully before shelling out for your own car.

  • Fuel. As a new driver, it’s easy to underestimate the cost of keeping the tank full or an electric engine powered up.
  • Car tax. This annual bill, also known as vehicle excise duty, is paid to the government. The amount you’ll pay is based on your choice of vehicle, its emissions and when it was registered.
  • MOT. If a car is more than three years old, you’ll need to pay for an MOT test every year to make sure it meets the minimum legal standards for road safety and environmental friendliness.
  • Servicing and maintenance. You’ll have to pay for the cost of repairs and maintenance as a vehicle ages. An MOT test will identify what crucial maintenance jobs are required.
  • Repairs. If your car needs repairs following an incident, you can make a claim on your insurance, in which case your provider will pay for it. However, this will impact your no-claims bonus, so you might prefer to cover the costs of cheaper repairs by yourself. And bear in mind that wear and tear won’t be covered. Touching up minor scratches caused by gritty roads or dealing with rust patches will typically come out of your own pocket.

If you’re 17 and you’ve just shelled out for driving lessons and a test, the cost of insurance is not going to be something to smile about. You’ll be paying the highest average amount for it. At the same time, you may still be in full-time education and not earning enough to cover these costs. There is some light relief, though, as there are lots of ways you can cut down the cost, from trying a telematics policy and adding an experienced named driver to upping your excess and choosing a cheaper car. While the savings on their own might not seem like much, they will add up, and if you can consistently drive well, avoiding any accidents and insurance claims where possible, your premiums will hopefully start to go down as you get older.”

Rebecca Goodman, financial journalist

How can 17-year-olds save on their car insurance?

  • Choose a cheaper car. Insurers will consider how much a car costs to repair when calculating your premium. When you choose a cheaper car, you’ll pay less to insure it. Scroll up to see our list of the cheapest cars to insure.
  • Add a named driver. If you add a more experienced driver onto your policy, insurers will often reduce your premium.
  • Take your “Pass Plus” course. This course teaches newly qualified motorists how to handle some more advanced aspects of driving, such as driving at night or on the motorway. You’ll get a certificate for completing the course, and some insurers will offer a discount to younger drivers who have this.
  • Add a black box. A telematics box will track your driving activity and prove to your insurer that you’re a safe driver. Black box insurers will offer you a discount if you agree to this. Assuming, of course, you drive safely. Careless driving could have the opposite effect. .
  • Increase your voluntary excess. Most insurers will cut your premium if you agree to cover more of your insurer’s potential costs with a larger excess. Make sure you don’t set it so high that you can’t afford to pay it following an incident, though.
  • Add additional safety measures. When you install extra safety measures – such as an alarm or immobiliser – in your vehicle, you reduce the likelihood of making a claim. For that reason, most insurers are happy to reduce your premium when you do it.
  • Avoid unnecessary modifications. Modifications such as a spoiler or an expensive sound system can send your premium skyrocketing because your insurer will factor in the cost of replacing these luxury items.

Do I need insurance to drive my parent’s car?

Danny Butler

Finder insurance expert Danny Butler answers

If buying your own car as a 17-year-old is a bit out of your price range, you may beg the use of your mum or dad’s car instead. The car will, obviously, have an insurance policy in your parent’s name. But that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be insured to drive it.

Every driver needs to have their own insurance to drive a given car, and the same applies to young drivers borrowing their parent’s run-around. If you drive without insurance, you’ll be breaking the law and risk some serious consequences.

You have a couple of options to get insured on someone else’s car.

  1. Take out your own car insurance policy. As the example prices we’ve shown above, this may cost you a pretty penny, but it does mean you’ll build up a no-claims discount. This could result in lower premiums in subsequent years.
  2. Get insured as a named driver on your parent’s policy. This is usually a pretty simple process that just involves your parent contacting their insurer and asking for you to be added. It’s important, though, that they are still the person who drives the car the most. If you end up being the main driver of the car but are down as a named driver, this is an offence known as “fronting“. Because of your lack of experience, adding you to their policy will increase premiums for your mum or dad. But it may well cost less than you buying your own policy. One downside is that policies rarely allow a named driver to build up their own no-claims discount.

The bottom line

Car insurance can be a huge expense for 17-year-olds, but you can take a number of actions to reduce the costs. From choosing a vehicle in a low insurance group to installing a telematics device, options are out there for first-time drivers.

As always, it’s important to compare quotes to find a provider that suits the level of cover you need and falls within your budget.

Frequently asked questions

*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, (Mar ’24). 51% of car insurance customers could save £524.68
The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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