Car insurance groups

How to find the cheapest cars to insure

What are car insurance groups?

Every car belongs to an insurance group, labelled from one to 50. The lower the insurance group number, the cheaper a car typically is to insure. So, if you’re on the lookout for cheap car insurance, it’s worth researching the insurance band of potential cars and buying one that’s in a low band.

What level of car insurance do I need?

How do car insurance groups work?

Cars are put into their insurance groups by a group of representatives from the insurance industry called the Group Rating Panel. This panel works out which cars are the most likely to cost insurers the most money, based on data from Thatcham Research.

Generally, cheaper cars are considered less risky than powerful, expensive ones, which means they’re usually in lower down bands and can provide the most cost effective car insurance for young drivers in particular.

That said, there’s plenty of other criteria that the panel looks at when deciding which car insurance band a car belongs in. These are the factors that come into play:

1. Bumper

The panel assesses the structure of bumpers and how they perform in an accident. If they perform well, the car is likely to be in a lower insurance group.

2. Body shell

A new shell might be needed to repair damage to a car, so how readily available the body shell is will affect the car’s grouping.

3. Damage and parts costs

The panel looks at how much damage is likely to each model of car, as well as the price of parts. This indicates how much a car might cost to repair.

4. New car value

The cost of a new car is an indicator of how much the make and model might cost to replace or repair. Newer, more expensive cars will cost more to replace.

5. Parts prices

The panel compares the cost of manufacturers parts using a list of 23 common parts.

6. Performance

The car’s top speed and rate of acceleration will be taken into account, as high-performing cars tend to have more insurance claims.

7. Repair times

If a car is likely to take a long time to repair, it will cost more and so will come in a higher insurance group.

8. Safety

Safety features like autonomous emergency braking systems are likely to help a driver avoid accidents and could cause the car to be rated in a lower insurance group.

9. Security

If a car has particularly good security features, it is less likely to be stolen and so could be placed in a lower insurance group.

Top tip:

Consider adding extra security features to your car to get cheaper insurance! But always check with your insurer first.

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What do the letters mean on car insurance groups?

You might have seen cars categorised in insurance groups with letters, like the group 7E. This letter demonstrates how secure the vehicle is - a major factor for insurers when grouping cars, since theft is still a primary reason for insurance claims.

These are the security ratings laid out by Thatcham:

EExceeds the security requirement for this type of car. This means that the insurance group rating has been lowered.
AAcceptable standard of security for this type of car.
DDoesn't meet the security requirements for this type of car. This means that the car’s insurance group rating has been increased.
UUnacceptable level of security. An insurer might ask you to increase the car’s security before they’ll agree to cover it.
PProvisional category. This means that there isn’t enough data available at this time to classify the car. The rating will probably be updated when a new car is available for evaluation.
GGrey import. This means that the car has been imported from outside the UK. Only cars sold in the UK can be assessed.

The ‘E’ and ‘D ratings are particularly interesting as they change a car’s insurance group to a category that’s higher or lower than the car’s current category.

For example, a group 5 car that is extremely secure will be moved to group 4 and given the rating 4E. On the other hand, a group 5 car that doesn’t perform well when it comes to security will be moved up to group 6. It will then be labelled as 6D.

What are the cheapest cars to insure?

Different models of the same car could be in different car insurance bands. But, if you’re looking for cheap car insurance, this is an idea of the type of car you can expect to see in each band.

Group numberCar
1 - 10Vauxhall Corsa, Skoda Citigo, Fiat Panda
11 - 20Fiat 500, Kia Picanto, Ford Fiesta
21 - 30Mini Cooper S, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Lancer Estate
31 - 40Ford Mondeo, Land Rover Discovery, Mitsubishi Shogun
41 - 50Citroen C6, Audi R8, Ford Mustang

Are cars in insurance group 1 always cheapest to insure?

For the most part, cars in insurance group 1 will be cheapest to insure, but don’t forget that each insurer will have different experiences of claims and might see you as a higher risk in a certain car than other insurers - so there isn’t a foolproof way to know.

Can I find the same car in different car insurance bands?

You won’t be able to find the exact same make and model in different bands, but you can find similar ones. If you like Ford Fiesta hatchbacks for example, you’ll find the Vignale 1.0T EcoBoost 125PS 3d in group 13 and the Style 1.1 Ti-VCT 70PS 5d in group 2. Yes they’re different cars, but you get the idea!

Are older cars cheaper to insure?

Generally, older cars are cheaper to insure because they’re less valuable than newer cars. This means that the cost of replacing the car could be a lot lower. Don’t forget that insurers take a lot of other factors into account though, and older cars don’t tend to have as many safety features, so it’s not an exact science!

How can I make my insurance cheaper?

Of course a major way to lower the cost of your insurance is to buy a car in a low insurance group. But if you already have a car, there are other ways to lower the cost of your insurance too.

Here are a few pointers:

1. Add a named driver

Consider adding an older, more experienced driver as a named driver on your insurance policy to reduce your premium.

2. Increase security

This doesn’t have to mean any fancy security features. If you park your car in a locked garage at night instead of a busy city street, you could lower the cost of your insurance.

3. Add telematics

Adding a black box or dashcam to your car and taking out a corresponding insurance policy could reduce the cost of your insurance hugely. A dashcam alone can save you 30% on your premium!

4. Go for ‘third party only’

Rather than getting a fully comprehensive insurance policy, you could go for the most basic, ‘third party only’. This is a risk though as if you have an accident your car won’t be protected by the insurance company.

5. Grow your no claims

Growing your no-claims bonus is one of the best ways to get cheap car insurance. The longer you go without claiming on your insurance, the cheaper your premium gets!