What influences a car’s insurance group?

There are a lot of factors that go into a car’s insurance rating. But typically, you can expect to see hatchbacks, superminis and city runners equipped with frugal engines sitting at the lower end of the spectrum. Whilst large cars, such as SUVs and MPVs, as well as rare models and high-performance vehicles, tend to sit at the higher end. 

However, the official insurance group rating panel, backed by Thatcham Research, is responsible for determining a car’s insurance bracket. The panel is made up of members of the Association of British Insurers and Lloyds Market Association. When it comes to assigning a car to a group, there’s a pretty meticulous system in place that takes into account a number of the car’s features, including: 

  • The price of the car as new – this gives an insight as to how costly damages or repairs will be
  • The price of replacing or repairing damaged parts – cars with a high value usually sit in a higher insurance group 
  • Repair times – cars with a relatively straightforward and fast repair time generally sit in a lower insurance group 
  • Car safety features – cars fitted with advanced safety systems such as emergency braking (EAB) or a collision warning system may be placed in a lower insurance group as they are deemed less likely to be involved in an accident 
  • Car security equipment – having security equipment fitted can again, lower your insurance bracket as your car is deemed less likely to be stolen 
  • The car’s performance – vehicles with higher speeds and quick acceleration tend to be placed in a high insurance group on the basis they’re more likely to be involved in an insurance claim
  • The car’s make and model – particularly rare or classic cars again, are often placed in a higher insurance band 
  • Bumper compatibility – even the bumpers are taken into consideration as their structure, shape, and alignment are integral to reducing damage

Every time a new car is released it gets sent to the insurance group rating panel, who will assess the car in line with the above considerations. They will also test drive each car and run controlled crashes. Thatcham Group will then allocate the car to an insurance group which for the most part, insurance companies will go off, too. 

Insurance groups and used cars 

Does buying a used car affect its insurance group, you ask? Good question, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it does, considering all the other factors assessed. 

However, the age of the car doesn’t actually directly influence the insurance group it’s assigned. We say directly because there is still a link between age and insurance groups. For example, older cars may not be fitted with as many safety or security features – which as we know can decrease the car’s insurance score. 

Generally speaking, once the make and model of a car have been assigned an insurance group, it will remain in that group – regardless of how many owners it’s had. If you want to learn more about how car insurance groups work – our handy guide contains all the facts. 

Our top tips for finding the best car for your insurance group 

When it comes to finding the best car for your insurance group, we’ve got some handy tips we’d love to share with you! 

  • Do your research – before jumping straight in, do some research on insurance groups and find out what kind of prices each group offer. Assess each band against your budget to work out what’s in your price range. Once you know what insurance bracket you’re looking for you can use lists like ours to find out which cars are the best for that bracket. 
  • Shop around – Once you have an idea what car you’d like you can look online or visit local dealerships to find one at the best price. Buying a used car will help you bring the cost down significantly and at Motors, we have endless options for you to choose from. 
  • Use a car insurance group checker – Did you know that you can use insurance group checkers – like this one from MonekySuperMarket – to find out exactly what band your desired car falls under. 

Plus, if you need any more help buying a used car, our ultimate guide contains everything you need to know – and then some.

What are the best cars for each insurance group? 

We’ve broken the insurance groups down into 10 brackets that go from 1-5 through to 46-50. From low-cost city run-arounds to high-performing SUVs – you’ll find a diverse range of cars on our list. 

So without further delay, let’s take a look at the best car for each insurance group.

1. Best car for insurance groups 1-5: Škoda Fabia

With its modest 76bhp engine (read low powered) all Fabia models sit under group 1. And though the Škoda Fabia may be one of the cheapest cars to insure it feels anything but cheap to drive – thanks to its impressive build quality and agile steering. 

Don’t let its size deceive you either, this supermini-based estate is surprisingly roomy. Its spacious cabin has more than satisfactory levels of leg and headroom, as well as a substantial 530-litre boot. That’s not to mention its secret storage pockets and draws. 

All in all, its affordable price tag and low running costs combined with its fairly engaging driving experience, make the Škoda Fabia the top contender for those on a budget.

Best Features

Skoda Fabia Key Features

  • Low powered engines mean lower insurance costs
  • Surprisingly spacious interior makes this a good option for room-conscious buyers
  • Option of either a manual or automatic gearbox
  • Light controls make it new driver-friendly
  • Power – Lowest-output version has 79bhp, making it the cheapest to insure 
  • Overall cost – Most efficient Fabia can return up to 55.1mpg, which will help bring monthly fuel bills down
  • Seats – The Fabia is a five-seater car 
  • Fabia prices range from £1,250 through to £25,550 on Motors.co.uk. You’ll find that newer examples are cheaper to run thanks to their more efficient engines 

2. Best car for insurance groups 6-10: Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta ticks all the right boxes and is one of the best to drive in its insurance group. With most variants falling between groups 4 -15, you’ll have no trouble finding a model to suit your needs. Its superb handling and comfy cabin promise a pleasurable drive, whilst its elegant exterior ensures a stylish one. 

Boasting a five-star safety rating with Euro NCAP, the Fiesta brings safety features and technology in abundance. You can expect LED daytime running lights, a lane-keeping system, automatic headlamps and an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay

The Ford Fiesta might be small but it sure is mighty. With its big-car features, class-leading steering and a surprising amount of space, all tied together in a car that doesn’t break the bank to insure or run – what’s not to love?

Best Features

Ford Fiesta Key Features

  • Ford Fiesta has a range of engine options so there’s something to suit all budgets
  • Available in three- and five-door layouts 
  • Long production life means there are plenty of used examples available 
  • Sporty ST versions will be the most costly to insure
  • Power – The lowest-powered Fiestas will be the cheapest to insure – look out for the 74bhp versions
  • Overall cost – A small engine means lower fuel bills, while low CO2 emissions will mean low tax bills too
  • Seats – The Fiesta is available with five seats
  • There’s plenty of variety when it comes to prices for the FIesta, with tip-top examples coming in at £26,895 and mid-level versions with reasonable miles available for around £15,000

3. Best car for insurance groups 11-15: Kia Ceed

The Kia Ceed takes the win for insurance groups 11-15, though you can find some models in groups as low as 6. Newer editions come with a generous seven-year warranty too, which demonstrates the car manufacturer’s confidence in their creation – and it’s certainly warranted! 

The car’s strong build quality and agile handling alongside its comfortable cabin and sporty appearance have no doubt contributed to its rise in popularity. One thing’s for sure, this reliable family run-around won’t let you down. 

So, if value-for-money is what you’re after, the Kia Creed’s frugal engine, impressive warranty and generous list of standard equipment might be just what you’re looking for.

Best Features

Kia Ceed Key Features

  • Spacious and practical interior makes it a good option for families
  • Kias come with an impressive seven-year warranty that can be transferred between owners
  • All versions come with plenty of equipment, delivering high value in the process
  • Variety of engines and outputs to suit all budgets
  • Power – Newer Ceed models use a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, though earlier versions feature a 1.0-litre petrol engine – this latter one will be the cheapest to insure
  • Overall cost – All Ceed models have been designed around efficiency and value, so all versions will be great for those looking to reduce costs 
  • Seats – The Ceed has five seats, while a larger Sportswagon version offers a bigger boot
  • The Kia Ceed has been around for a long while, so prices start £1,375. The latest, most efficient versions increase this up to £24,850

4. Best car for insurance groups 16-20: Audi A1

For insurance groups 16-20, the Audi A1 effortlessly takes the win. The A1 actually has a very broad insurance rating that ranges from 3 to 33 ( depending on the model and choice of engine). But with most variants sitting comfortably around 16-20, it’s this band’s top pick. 

Offering superb build quality, practicality by the bucket load and a plush interior – the A1 promises to impress. Its sleek and sporty appearance combined with its smooth handling mean it’s a car that doesn’t just talk the talk. What’s more, The A1 comes with an array of tech equipment that’s sure to wow you. Though it’s nothing less than you’d expect from the leading German manufacturer. 

In short, The A1 brings a classy feel thanks to its high-grade materials but, thankfully, its smaller engine means it’s cheaper to run than you might think.

Best Features

Audi A1 Key Features

  • The A1 is Audi’s most compact model and a great example of a more upmarket design on a smaller scale
  • It’s efficient and cheap to run thanks to great fuel consumption
  • Current versions do cost more than many rivals 
  • All engine choices are relatively low-powered so make for cheaper insurance 
  • Power – New versions with a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine offer a great combination of power and performance. 
  • Overall cost – Thanks to fuel economy of 52.3mpg the A1 will prove very inexpensive to run
  • Seats – The A1 has five seats, however the back ‘middle’ seat is quite small and might be only for occasional use
  • Prices on Motors.co.uk range from £1,696 to £31,990. There have been two generations of A1

5. Best car for insurance groups 21-25: Renault Megane

The Renault Megane is another car that covers a range of insurance ratings, namely 14-35. Though the stronger models sit in insurance groups 21-25. Offering the perfect blend of style and substance, this is a car that focuses on comfort and practicality. 

Its stand-out cabins boast an abundance of leg and headroom as well as numerous cubbies and storage holders. And its sporty exterior matches the same high standards as its interior – making this a solid choice for its category. 

What’s more, it holds a five-star safety rating with Euro NCAP and comes with plenty of useful tech as standard. The Renault Megane’s long production life is a reflection of its popularity and with its bucket load of benefits, it’s easy to see why. 

Best Features

Renault Megane Key Features

  • The Megane has been on sale for many years, with plenty of variety in the used market as a result
  • Older models are available with diesel engines, though newer, more efficient versions come with petrol engines
  • Spacious cabin comes equipped with hard-wearing materials that can stand up to daily use
  • A more spacious estate version was also available for drivers after extra boot space
  • Power – Latest hybrid versions use a 1.6-litre petrol engine, but the 1.0-litre versions will be cheaper to insure and run
  • Overall cost – The 1.0-litre Megane will be good on fuel and insurance, but the hybrid versions will bring even better running costs – albeit with higher insurance groups
  • Seats – The Megane is available with space for up to five people 
  • Prices for the Megane start from as little as £795, though these will be older, higher-mileage examples that will need more spending on them for upkeep. Used examples reach up to £29,795

6. Best car for insurance groups 26-30: BMW X1

When it comes to insurance groups 26-30, the BMX X1 cuts through the noise. This premium SUV crossover upholds everything you’d expect from the renowned marque. Combining sharp styling, a well-laid-out interior and modern technology – it’s a car that oozes class and sophistication. 

Though style isn’t all the AX1 has to offer. Its precise handling presents a composed drive and it comes in a range of engine types too. The hybrid version particularly offers low running costs as well as a punchier performance. 

All in all, the BMW A1 is the perfect fit for its insurance group as it’s comfortable and efficient but isn’t over the top in terms of insurance premiums. The plethora of equipment helps, too. 

Best Features

BMW X1 Key Features

  • The X1 is BMW’s smallest SUV, so it has the looks of larger vehicles but is smaller and easier to park
  • All models come with plenty of equipment, making it a good value for money
  • Four-wheel-drive versions are available for people who want a bit of extra security in slippery conditions 
  • A number of engine options are available, including efficient petrol engines and smooth diesels, the latter of which will be well-suited if you’re a long-distance driver
  • Power – As mentioned there are plenty of engine options, but it’s the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel which best blends performance and economy
  • Overall cost – The diesel will prove cheap to run for long distance motorists, though 1.8-litre petrol versions will be a better option for those doing shorter commutes or the school run as it’ll prove cleaner and more efficient over these routes
  • Seats – The X1 is available with five seats, with the rearmost seats able to offer a good amount of legroom and headspace.  
  • Prices start from £3,490, though earlier models will have more miles and will be costlier to maintain. The latest examples carry quite a premium and cost just under £45,00

7. Best car for insurance groups 31-35: Mazda MX-5

When it comes to insurance groups 31-35, the Mazda MX-5 is without question, a cut above the rest. It’s also available in insurance group 24 for those looking for a car in a lower insurance bracket. 

This timeless sports car is a consistent favourite amongst many motorists and it’s no wonder. Its lightweight build, low centre of gravity and responsive drive deliver an experience you won’t forget. Quite simply, it’s a lot of fun to drive. And the fact it’s a convertible only adds to its allure. 

Yet, despite its powerful engine and iconic aesthetic, this is a car that stands its ground when it comes to costs – with prices for a used MX-5 starting fiercely low. In comparison to insurance rates with other convertibles – it fares pretty well here too.

Best Features

Mazda MX-5 Key Features

  • The MX-5 is one of the UK’s most popular convertibles, which is why there are plenty of used examples
  • It’s a strict two-seater and, as a result, does cost more to insure – sports cars cause premiums to rise
  • Earlier models are popular because of their simple mechanics and wide variety of spare parts
  • The latest-generation MX-5 was also available with a folding metal roof – you’ll see it badged as ‘RF’
  • Power – The latest MX-5 is available with either a 1.5- or 2.0-litre petrol engine – the former will be cheaper to insure 
  • Overall cost – The MX-5 is one of the cheaper sports cars to run. Both engine choices are surprisingly frugal, while maintenance bills shouldn’t be too high
  • Seats – All MX-5s come with two seats 
  • Prices for the MX-5 start from £1,850 and these models could prove to be a low-cost weekend ‘fun’ car providing you’re ready for maintenance bills. Top-end versions cost £34,698. 

8. Best car for insurance groups 36-40: Audi A4

The Audi A4 has proven to be the car of choice for insurance groups 36-40, though available in groups 19-44 – it takes the win for this band. Available as a saloon or estate, this is a car that radiates class. And that’s all thanks to its sleek body, thoughtful interior finished with suitable plush materials and ample leg and headroom. 

What’s more, efficient diesel engines are the go-to for Audi, making the A4 a wise choice for those looking for a car that can go the distance (literally). Though it has a slightly higher price point than some of its rivals, you can be sure to find a great deal on a used model. Plus, Audi’s are known for holding their value. 

All in all, the A4 is an executive big-hitter, but thanks to its efficient engines and reasonable insurance premiums, it won’t sting too much where budgets are concerned. 

Best Features

Audi A4 Key Features

  • The Audi A4 has been on sale for many years, meaning that there are plenty of models available for a variety of budgets
  • A more spacious estate or ‘Avant’ version is available, which is a good  option for those after more boot room
  • Efficient diesel engines are the go-to choice in the A4, making it a great long-distance car
  • Loads of equipment are included on all models, with highlights such as satellite navigation and air conditioning on many versions as standard
  • Power – Newer models are mainly powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine, though 2.0-litre petrol versions are also available. These latter engines are better for shorter journeys as they’ll prove to be cleaner during shorter trips
  • Overall cost – The Audi A4 is more expensive to buy than many rivals, but residuals are stronger so it’ll be worth more when it comes to sell
  • Seats – The A4 is available with five seats. The rear seats have plenty of legroom, too.
  • Price ranges for each car – As the A4 has been on sale for many years, older examples can be fetched for under £1,000 but these examples will no doubt need more money spending on them to keep them roadworthy. The latest examples will cost around £45,000. 

9. Best car for insurance groups 41-45: Land Rover Discovery

The top choice for insurance groups 41-45 is undoubtedly the intrepid Land Rover Discovery. As practical as it is stylish, the iconic car is a world-class leader in a number of departments. 

With its spacious boot and impressive body (that can comfortably seat seven adults across its three rows) the Land Rover Discovery is perfect for larger families who enjoy a good old road trip. And there isn’t many a road the SUV can’t take on either. Its four-wheel drive proves to be more than capable on the harshest of terrains. And whilst it’s fearless off the beaten track, you can expect a smooth ride on softer grounds too. 

Admittedly, the Discovery does have higher running and maintenance costs than other 4x4s, but if you ask us, it’s worth it. The seven-seater powerhouse is a fine choice if you’re looking for an accomplished people carrier that will go off-road when needed. 

Best Features

Land Rover Discovery Key Features

  • The Discovery was introduced as a more family-friendly SUV that could travel over any terrain
  • The Discovery does have a reputation for being costly to repair when larger components break
  • Latest versions come with huge levels of off-road technology than can help it tackle the worst of surfaces
  • A high driving position is particularly confidence inspiring 
  • Power – Newer versions of the Discovery use diesel engines, though earlier versions are available with a V8 petrol engine – this will be extremely costly to run and very bad in terms of emissions
  • Overall cost – The Discovery carries a premium over other four-wheel-drives, and it’s also accompanied by higher running and maintenance costs 
  • Seats – The Discovery has always been available with seven seats regardless of generation 
  • Prices for older Discovery models can go as low as £1,500, but make sure you budget for lots of repair and running costs. Newer versions can go as high as £94,000. 

10. Best car for insurance groups 46-50: Porsche 718 Boxster

If you’re looking to break into Porsche’s range, then the 718 Boxster is your entry car. Its exhilarating performance and suburb handling promise a hair-raising driving experience – which is exactly what you’d expect from the prestigious brand. And though it might sit in the highest insurance groups, it’s certainly earned the right to. 

With its iconic, streamlined style and sleek lines in all the right places, one thing’s for sure, the strikingly handsome 718 will turn heads from a mile off. What’s more, the mid-engine two-seater classic has plenty of power to call on and quick acceleration too, yet somehow still leaves you firmly in control. 

Porsche’s 718 Boxter is a first-class motor that rolls an inviting driving experience and drop-top thrills into one premium package.

Best Features

Porsche 718 Boxster Key Features

  • The 718 Boxster is the entry car into Porsche’s range and it’s one of the firm’s more affordable convertibles
  • The 718 Boxster mixed things up by using a four-cylinder petrol engine, as opposed to the flat-six engines that had been used on Porsches previously
  • The Boxster uses a folding fabric roof which can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 31mph. It’s also quick enough to raise at the lights in case there’s a sudden rain shower!
  • The Boxster is more practical than you might think – it’s got a small boot in the ‘nose’ and a second one at the back. It’s enough space for a few squashy weekend bags 
  • Power – As mentioned, the 718 Boxter uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, though more powerful Boxster S versions use a 2.4-litre version
  • Overall cost – The Boxster S – as with all Porsche cars – carries a chunkier price tag, while servicing and maintenance costs will be higher than more ‘standard’ cars
  • Seats – The 718 Boxster is only available with two seats 
  • Prices for earlier 718 Boxster models start from just over £33,000, with these versions bringing higher mileages. Look closely at service records to avoid any mechanical headaches further down the line, too. Latest low-mileage examples come in at just under £100,000

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