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A guide to car insurance groups

The type of car you drive and the group it falls into has a big impact on how much you pay for your insurance. So we've put together this guide to give you an overview of what UK car insurance groups are, how they work and a list of the most affordable to cover.

What are car insurance groups?

In a nutshell, they are a way of classifying cars based on how much they cost to insure. They're sometimes called car insurance bands and there are 50 of them in all: cars in group 1 are the cheapest to insure, cars in group 50 are the most expensive.

The higher groups are usually made up of high performance cars like Ferraris, top-of-the-range Jaguars and Porsches. At the lower end, it's Fiat Pandas, Dacia Sandero 1.2s and Citroen C1s.

The groups are set by the Group Rating Panel, who base their decisions on data from Thatcham Research, the motor insurers' automotive research centre.

How do they decide on the groups?

To work out which band to put a car into, the Group Rating Panel looks at several factors:

1. How long it'll take to fix and how much it'll cost to do it
The quicker the repair time and the lower the cost, the lower the group.

2. How much new parts cost
They compare the cost of 23 common parts from a few different manufacturers.

3. Your car's acceleration and top speed
The higher the performance, the higher the group.

4. Your car's safety features
If it has things like auto emergency braking, this could help to lower the insurance rating.

5. How secure it is
Features like high security locks, glass etching, and immobilisation or alarm systems can help lower its group rating.

Do all insurers use car insurance groups?

They might follow their own ranking instead of the Group Rating Panel's, but by and large they all use some kind of grouping to help work out the cost of your insurance.

How do I do a car insurance group check?

If you've spotted a car you like the look of, head to MyVehicle on the Thatcham Research website. Once you've registered, you'll be able to find a range of independent security, safety and insurance grouping data.

What are the lowest rated car groups

According to AutoExpress, these are 2016's most affordable group 1 cars:

  1. Dacia Sandero 1.2
  2. Hyundai i10 1.0
  3. Peugeot Bipper & Partner Tepee
  4. Renault Twingo
  5. SEAT Mii
  6. Skoda Citigo
  7. Skoda Fabia
  8. Smart ForFour
  9. Vauxhall Corsa
  10. Volkswagen Up!

How else could I cut my insurance costs?

Buying a car in a low insurance group is the most straightforward way to cut your insurance costs. But what if you've set your heart on a car in a higher group? Don't worry, there are other things you can do that may reduce the price of your policy.

1. Increase your car's security features
Adding things that reduce your chances of making a claim, like immobilisers and alarms, can help.

2. Up your voluntary excess
Increase the amount you contribute if you need to make a claim, and your price will usually come down. Take a look at our guide to car insurance excesses to find out more. Just make sure this is an affordable option for you in the long run.

3. Pay in one go
If you can afford to pay in a lump sum, you can usually avoid paying any interest.

4. Keep it simple
Take out a policy that only includes the essentials – so no courtesy cars or breakdown cover – and it will help to keep the costs down. Just remember, you need to find a balance between lowering costs and having a policy that meets your needs.

5. Add a black box if you're a new or young driver
These use a satellite tracker to check how you're driving by monitoring things like your speed, acceleration and braking. The steadier you go, the lower your insurance will cost.

So what do you need to remember?

We hope this guide has made it easier to understand car insurance groups, but what are the main points to remember?

  1. Groups matter – if you're looking at buying a new car, it's worth checking the insurance group before you buy to make sure it's affordable
  2. There's other ways to reduce your costs – if you've got your heart set on a car in a higher rated group, there are other ways to bring the cost of insurance down
  3. Ask questions - if there's anything you're not sure about, speak to your insurer.