Running A Car - Insurance groups for cars
Insurance costs are based on a combination of data and statistics that have been converted into a banding system. Every new car sold in the UK falls into a list of 50 insurance groups, and the higher the band number, the higher the insurance premium.
Insurers meet every month to review the vehicles in each band. The categorisation of each car reflects a mix of specification data (engine size, performance, initial purchase cost etc) and 'real-world' data that considers the statistical probability of claims being made by owners, and the cost of repairs resulting from those claims.
Repair costs account for more than half the money paid out through insurance claims. Premium manufacturers charge more for both parts and labour, so their products fall into higher insurance bands than cheaper, low-specification models. Models with smaller engines, less powerful engines are considered less likely to be involved in an accident so that often reduces premiums too.
At the cheapest end of the insurance system you'll find cars such as the Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii in band 1, although only the lower powered 60ps models. In group 2, you'll find versions of Toyota's Aygo city car, although interestingly, the Peugeot and Citroen versions of the Aygo, the 107 and C1, are appear a group higher, despitebeing broadly identical. That could be as a result of shorter repair times, more competitively priced common-repair parts, or the perception of a dealer network's efficiency.
Moving up the scale, we can see how engine specification and performance can affect premiums by looking at the Ford Focus range. Focus insurance ratings start in band 7 for the 85bhp 1.6 Studio, but rise to band 11 for the 105ps version, all the way up to 25 for the 1.6T Ecoboost Zetec S. All are the same engine size, but with different power outputs. Similarly, the Volkswagen Golf starts in band 11 for the 85bhp 1.2 TSI, but peaks at band 30 for the 170bhp 2.0 TDI.
Further up the system, we find the Audi A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro and BMW 530d SE in band 40.
In the very top grouping, band 50, you'll not be shocked to discover supercars from marques such as Aston , Ferrari and Lamborghini – but you might be surprised to find more prosaic machinery there too. Various versions of Jaguar F-Type and XK are in there for example, as well as the Jeep Cherokee SRT-8.
You can find out which insurance band the car you're considering is in by looking in the data section of our car reviews but here's a selection of cars that are cheap to insure.
Cheap cars to insure
We've pulled together a list of some of the cheapest new cars to insure on the market that sit in insurance groups 1-3. We've also put the What Car? star ratings with them too. After all, a car that is cheap to insure doesn't make sense if it is flawed in other areas.