The scheme of car insurance groups was introduced a while ago and intended to give owners and insurers a fair idea of the cost of repairs to their vehicle in the event of a crash. The higher the insurance group rating, the higher the cost of repairs would be, and hence the higher the premium charged for insuring the vehicle.
If I want to find my car insurance group then it can be done quite easily at a website such as parkers.co.uk, where all I need do is input the details of the vehicle. If I were thinking of buying a new car the site would also be useful as I could start a search with an insurance group number that I knew I could afford, and find vehicles that match.
Until quite recently the insurance groups ranged from 1-20, but the system has been revised and now the groups run from 1-50 in an effort to give more precision and accuracy, especially in cases of certain niche types of vehicles such as 4 x 4s or small cabriolets. It appears that, in general, the new insurance group number for a given vehicle would be roughly double that of what it used to be, so a basic Ford Fiesta 1.6, for example, might change from group 4 to group 11.
Obviously a major factor affecting a car’s insurance group is the type of car and its initial purchase price. The more expensive a car is to buy in the first place, the more it is likely to cost to repair. High performance cars might be more likely to be involved in an accident than a modest city car, and this also would have a bearing on the allocated group.
Cars with complex bodywork involving double skins or extensive use of aluminium or carbon fibre are likely to be technically more difficult to repair and hence much higher in the group ratings.
Many people in these difficult economic times, may be looking for a car that is cheap to insure and will therefore restrict their choice of purchase to a car in group 12 or less. If you are looking for the absolute cheapest to insure then look at groups at 5 or below, and cars such as the Ford Fiesta 1.25, Seat Ibiza 1.2, Skoda 1.2, Kia Rio 1.1, or Toyota Yaris 1.0. These are all small cars with small, economical engines and good all-round ability for the money. Many would say that such a car is all you need these days on our congested roads unless you are in the habit of doing long journeys.