Insurance groups explained
Car insurance groups are established by the Group Rating Panel - using information from the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre in Thatcham, it assigns cars to one of 50 groups, with those in group 1 the cheapest to insure and those in 50 the most expensive.
The Group Rating Panel includes members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Lloyd’s Market Association.
Before buying a new or used car, it's worth taking into consideration the insurance group the vehicle belongs to. This might help you make a confident and informed decision, and enable you keep insurance costs down.
If you want to check the insurance group of a car you are interested in buying, go to MyVehicle at Thatcham Research. Here, you can discover the insurance group for your car, searching by type, manufacturer, model, body style and other categories.
Low insurance group cars list
The cheapest cars to insure are those vehicles which are relatively inexpensive to buy – usually low-specification models with smaller engines. You could expect to find cars such as the Toyota Yaris, Vauxhall Corsa, Kia Rio and Dacia Sandero among the cheapest to insure.
We’ve crunched the numbers and below is a breakdown of some of the cheapest cars to insure depending on which age group you fall in to.
Car manufacturer and model
25 and under
Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Fox, Fiat Panda, Peugeot 107, Citroen C1
Ford Ka, Volkswagen Up!, Fiat 500, Mazda 2, Seat Mii
Mazda MX 5, Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500, Vauxhall Adam, Volkswagen Up!
Skoda Citigo, Volkswagen Up!, Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500, Peugeot 108
Volkswagen Up!, Skoda Citigo, Fiat 500, Fiat Panda, Volkswagen Beetle
Mazda MX5, Skoda Citigo, Kia Picanto, Hyundai i10, Fiat Panda
Mazda MX5, Skoda Citigo, Hyundai i10, Fiat 500, Ford Ka
Skoda Citigo, Volkswagen Up!, Ford Ka, Fiat Panda, Mazda MX5
Volkswagen Up!, Smart Fortwo, Skoda Citigo, Ford Ka, Suzuki Alto
66 and over
Mazda MX5, Smart Fortwo, Mini One, Ford Ka, Fiat 500
What factors contribute to grouping?
Cars are assigned to their insurance group based on a number of factors. These include:
Damage and parts costs - The likely extent of damage to each model and the price of the parts involved. Lower costs usually mean a lower group rating.
Repair times - Longer repair times mean higher costs and a higher group rating. According to Thatcham Research, over half of all money paid out in motor insurance claims goes on repairing cars - so the cost of spare parts and repair times are major factors in pricing motor insurance.
New car values - New car prices provide a guide to replacement and repair costs.
Parts prices - A list of 23 common parts is used to compare one manufacturers' parts costs to another.
Performance - High performance cars are at higher risk of frequent insurance claims, so the acceleration and top speed of vehicles are taken into account.
Safety - Vehicles fitted with an AEB - Autonomous Emergency Braking systems - will avoid 'low speed front to rear' accidents and so could benefit from a lower insurance group rating.
Bumper compatibility - The alignment and structure of bumpers can help a car to receive a lower insurance rating.
Car security - Cars with security features, such as alarm/immobilisation systems and high security door locks, could see a lower insurance group.
Cutting the cost of car insurance
Buying a vehicle that is in one of the lower car insurance groups is one of the best ways to cut the cost of your policy.
However, if you already own a car which isn't among the cheaper models and want to reduce the price of your policy, there are still a number of steps you can take.
- Adding security-enhancing systems, such as recognised and approved immobilisers and alarms, is a simple way of reducing costs. Such devices will make your car more secure and therefore reduce the statistical chances of you making an insurance claim.
- You could also choose to pay a higher voluntary excess - the amount you contribute in the event of a claim - which will usually mean a lower premium.
- If you're prepared to pay your annual insurance policy up front and in one lump sum, this could work out cheaper than arranging monthly direct debit payments. Insurers often charge interest on monthly payments.
- Choosing to include just the essentials of a policy and not adding optional extras - such as having the use of a courtesy car if yours is unavailable for a certain time for any reason, like an MOT, repairs or service - will also keep costs down.
- New and young drivers might consider a black box insurance policy. This uses a satellite tracker to monitor how well the car is being driven. By measuring speed, acceleration and braking, this technology gives insurers a more detailed picture of the risk a driver poses. In short, safer and considerate drivers can be rewarded with lower insurance premiums.
- Equally, one of the best ways to find the best value insurance policy for you is to shop around and compare cheap car insurance quotes from a number of providers.
For more ideas on how to reduce the cost of your car insurance premiums, visit our money saving tips page.