Cars with low insurance groups

Low insurance groups should mean cheap car insurance premiums, so check out the best cheap-to-insure affordable used cars here

James Wilson
Oct 29, 2021

Cars with low insurance groups can be a godsend when trying to keep your motoring costs down. This is especially true for young drivers who only recently passed their test, those who have zero no-claims bonus and even those who have points on their licence. Even if you're not in one of those categories, though, getting a cheap-to-insure car means more money in your pocket.

Insurance groups go from 1 to 50 (the lower the group, the lower the perceived risk of the car) with these categories being determined by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The ABI looks at a number of areas which indicate how much damage a car is likely to sustain in an accident and how expensive this would be to repair.

The lower the chance of damage and the smaller the likely repair bills, the lower the insurance group. Additionally, when evaluating each make and model, the ABI looks at how fast a car is, how much it is worth and even the historic likelihood that drivers of that model will make a claim, as these factors impact the chance of a claim being made and the size of any insurance payout, should the worst happen.

What this all means, is that smaller, affordable cars with modest power figures tend to qualify for the lowest insurance groups. This is no bad thing, as modern, small, affordable cars are perfectly suited to many UK roads. Also, a small car which sits in a low insurance group doesn’t mean you need to drive around in a cramped matchbox, as there are larger low-insurance options, too, include a super-practical estate car. We've even included a convertible below, albeit a small one.

Keep reading for eight of the best low-insurance cars, seven of which sit in insurance group 4 and below, with one being classed in group 5. One important note to keep in mind is that car insurance is a fickle beast. A particular make, model and trim registered in one year might sit in group 2 for insurance, whilst versions made the previous year could sit in group 5, potentially because they miss out on certain bits of safety kit.

The upshot of this is that it's wise to double-check individual cars' insurance groups - and to get specific insurance quotes - before commiting to buying a certain car. This should ensure that you don't get stuck with an insurance premium that is more than you expected.

What cars are in insurance group 1, 2, 3, 4?

1. Seat Mii

Our pick Seat Mii 1.0 MPI 75 FR Line
Insurance group 4
Used deals from £5,690
Monthly finance from £131*

Seat has one of the most easily overlooked small cars with its Mii. Why? Because it is one of a triplet of diminutive cars and its two sister cars steal the limelight. The two attention-hogging alternatives are the Volkswagen Up and Skoda Citigo, with VW, Skoda and Seat being part of the same parent company.

While a VW badge is often associated with more upmarket models and a Skoda badge is typically associated with excellent value and practicality, the fact of the matter is all three cars are pretty much identical under the skin. Add in the bonus that the Mii can often be the best value when purchased second-hand and the Seat is a mighty attractive proposition.

FR Line models come with subtly sporty styling details, such as more racy alloy wheels, but these don’t change the fact that the Mii is cheap to run thanks to its frugal petrol engines and low insurance costs. Plus, the Mii is spacious enough for four and a doddle to drive in town thanks to its great visibility.

SEAT MII BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Renault Clio

Our pick Renault Clio 1.0 SCe 75 Play
Insurance group 3
Used deals from £12,995
Monthly finance from £204*

Renault did a fantastic job with its latest Clio. So good in fact, some regard it as a better car than the Ford Fiesta - which is high praise indeed as the Fiesta was the best-selling car of 2020 and is locked in a battle with the Vauxhall Corsa for the title of ‘best-selling car of 2021’.

Part of what makes the Clio so good is that it performs strongly in all the areas that matter. Low running costs? Yes; low insurance groups and economical engines help here. Plenty of standard equipment? Again, yes; tech such as a seven-inch touchscreen media system - which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible - is included on all new models.

Finally, does it look good and drive well? Absolutely; there is plenty of French style inside and out and although the Ford Fiesta is a smidge more enjoyable to drive on a twisty road, the Clio isn’t far behind and it is satisfyingly comfy, too.

RENAULT CLIO BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Volkswagen Polo

Our pick Volkswagen Polo 1.0 EVO 80 SE Tech
Insurance group 1
Used deals from £9,290
Monthly finance from £176*

Gone are the days when the VW Polo could be considered a particularly small car. With each new version it has grown and it has got to the point where the latest model, which was launched in 2018, could easily be mistaken for the larger VW Golf if only glancing at it quickly. If you were to crack out a tape measure, the Polo and Golf are very similar in height and width - but the Golf is longer, which helps increase rear passenger and boot space.

Thanks to its size, the Polo could function as your only family car; its boot is able to swallow a substantial 351 litres of luggage, which is only 30 litres behind the Golf. This makes it a very practical small car - perfect as a low-insurance but spacious car. Plus, the interior of the Polo is top-class, feeling well built and being available with a slick touchscreen media system.

VOLKSWAGEN POLO BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Skoda Fabia Estate

Skoda Fabia Estate side view

Our pick Skoda Fabia Estate 1.0 S (s/s)
Insurance group 4
Used deals from £9,990
Monthly finance from £189*

If you want a small estate car, which is well-made yet shouldn’t cost much to insure and run, then there is only one option - the Skoda Fabia Estate. Hats off to Skoda for carving out a niche for itself. For those wanting the absolute lowest insurance, lower-spec ‘S’ trim is the best option but there is a trade-off with equipment, as it's quite basic. Still, going for an S model doesn’t change the fact there is a large 530-litre boot, which is massive for this size of car.

As the current version of the Fabia has been in production since 2015, there is a great range of second-hand models to choose from - meaning that there are plenty of affordable models available - most of which should be cheap to insure. The majority of models come with a petrol engine and a manual gearbox, but there are both diesel and automatic options, although these are much less common and will sit in a higher insurance group.

SKODA FABIA BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Rio

Our pick Kia Rio 2 1.25 ISG
Insurance group 4
Used deals from £6,999
Monthly finance from £137*

One of the best strengths of any version of the Kia Rio is the warranty. As standard, Kias come with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is as good as it gets in the car world. Most new cars come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, so even if you go for a great value four-year-old Kia Rio, you'll get as much warranty cover as the vast majority of brand new models.

This is not all the Rio has to offer, though. It falls into a low insurance group, providing you go for a model with the right trim and engine combination - such as a ‘2’ spec Rio with a 1.25-litre petrol engine. The Rio isn't the largest small car, but does offer a slightly bigger boot than the Ford Fiesta and makes a viable small family car.

KIA RIO BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Vauxhall Adam

Our pick Vauxhall Adam 1.2i Griffin
Insurance group 3
Used deals from £6,299
Monthly finance from £128*

Compared to some style-focused small cars like the Fiat 500 and Mini Hatchback, the Vauxhall Adam offers fantastic value for money. Also, thanks to the wide number of trims and personalisation options Vauxhall offered with the Adam, there is more than likely a colour and specification combination that suits your tastes.

All models come with a petrol engine but there are a handful of different versions which vary in terms of power and claimed fuel economy. For those wanting low insurance, the lower-powered 1.2-litre engine is the best option. Happily, entry-level specification for the Adam is good, with features such as alloy wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning and Bluetooth all included.

VAUXHALL ADAM BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Smart ForTwo Cabrio

Our pick Smart ForTwo Cabrio 1.0 Passion Auto
Insurance group 5
Used deals from £8,799
Monthly finance from £157*

Finding a convertible car which sits in a low insurance group is not easy, but the Smart ForTwo Cabrio is a great option, especially if you plan on doing the majority of your driving in town. Why? The dinky Smart car is perfectly suited to the hustle and bustle of busy towns but on a motorway with lorries driving past you are very much aware of its small size.

As Smarts are pitched as upmarket cars, the Cabrio's build quality and equipment generally reflects this. Still, it can be expensive when new, but go for a second-hand model and it's much better value. One of the Smart ForTwo’s best features is how easy it is to manoeuvre, for example when slotting into tight parking spaces. A large part of this is thanks to having a tiny turning circle, which also makes doing u-turns much easier.

SMART FORTWO BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Seat Ibiza

Our pick Seat Ibiza 1.0 SE Technology
Insurance group 2
Used deals from £7,591
Monthly finance from £148*

The Seat Ibiza is another small but practical supermini, which is larger than the Mii and aimed to compete with rivals such as the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. It is actually built using many of the same parts as the VW Polo, so it is in general a high-quality product. Importantly, though, Seat made sure to inject a little more youthful spirit into the Ibiza, which is good as the Polo can come across a touch too sensible.

The result is the Ibiza is a car which comes with good onboard technology - like an intuitive central touchscreen media system - and also an enjoyable driving experience. Plus, thanks to a range of frugal petrol engines, the Ibiza is impressively economical. Practicality is good, too, with the boot able to carry 355 litres of luggage - which is four more than the already pretty practical Polo. This, no doubt, will have annoyed the VW engineers...

SEAT IBIZA BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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