Which Used Cars are the Cheapest to Insure?
Unless you’re in the very lucky position of having an unlimited budget when you’re shopping for a car, insurance is pretty sure to be a factor in your final choice.
That’s because, along with the cost of your finance package, annual road tax (if any), yearly fuel bill and parking charges, it’s one of the expenses involved in running a car which you can’t get out of paying.
The amount of insurance you pay will be based on many things, for example your age, driving history, address and not least the type of car you have chosen which will be classified into one of 50 different insurance groups.
HOW INSURANCE GROUPS ARE WORKED OUT
A number of factors go into calculating which insurance group every car falls into. These include:
- Cost of replacement parts - Insurers’ panels use a list of 23 standard car parts which they compare to help them decide which group a car should be placed in.
- Cost of the expected labour needed to carry out repairs.
- The price of the car when new.
- Its performance - That means any ‘hot hatch’ or high-performing model will always attract higher premiums in relation to the same model with more modest top speed and acceleration times.
- The amount of safety kit fitted as standard.
- Any anti-theft or other security features - right down to visible vehicle identification numbers and number plate details etched on windows.
- The ease of getting hold of replacement bumpers, as these are the parts which most often come a cropper in minor prangs.
- Tests carried out by the motor insurers’ automotive research centre at Thatcham Research concerning safety, security and repair costs.
INSURANCE ROLL OF HONOUR
The huge differences between the cost of repairing some cars over others does result in some notable variations in the cost of insuring cars which, when side by side, otherwise seem pretty similar.
A number of online tools are available which can show you which group a particular car falls into, such as the one offered at carinsurancegroups.co.uk.
At Swansway Group dealerships, we offer a range of cars that are snugly seated at the bottom of the car insurance table, so if insurance cost is an issue for you, you’ll be able to find a car to suit your budget. Here are just a few of our suggestions*:
GROUP 1 MODELS
Citroen C1 3-door: The C1 did well for a car of its size in the EuroNCAP safety tests, which accounts for its presence at the bottom end of the insurance scale. However, it’s also praised by the critics at Honestjohn.co.uk for being generally cheap to run, and a respectably nippy performer in city traffic.
Fiat Panda: Compact and enjoyable to drive, as well as offering reasonable space for back-seat passengers, this little hatch was European Car of the Year in 2004, which certainly gives it a credibility among cars of this age.
Volkswagen Up!: The Up! has been a resounding success for Volkswagen, impressing the public and pundits alike with its combination of tiny running costs and reliable convenience. An impressively strong fuel economy to boot makes the Up! an instant candidate for anyone in the market for an affordable, city runabout.
GROUP 2 MODELS
Fiat Qubo Active: For family transport this model is a winner on practicality. The sliding side doors, a tribute to its van roots, also bring the benefit that the kids can’t swing them open into the side of the car parked alongside! While it might possess the practical dimensions of a van, the Qubo certainly doesn’t drive like one!
Peugeot Partner Tepee Urban: The second van-based model in our low premiums line-up, the Partner boasts seating for up to seven people with removable back seats for added flexibility, remarkably allowing more luggage space than a Citroen C4 Picasso - including loads of flaps, pockets and boxes for all those bits and pieces that every family magically accumulates on even the shortest of drives!
Skoda Fabia - Blueline, Classic and Silverline models: The solid engineering which went into Skoda’s small hatch helped make it a positive bargain, and that still holds true for used models. “Excellent value, unsurpassed build quality and more than a smidgen of style makes the Fabia one of the best superminis around”. If you can stretch to Group 3 premiums, you can get your hands on a Fabia 1.2S five-door (pre-2011 model).
GROUP 3 MODELS
Citroen C3: One of the more spacious cars on this list, with particularly commendable handling according to the Honest John guys. Excellent visibility makes it a doddle to reverse and park, while the same review summed it up as: “very comfortable, rides extraordinarily well, handles brilliantly, goes well enough, sits in a sensible tax bracket and is enjoyable to drive.” Enough said…
Peugeot 107: This is a “must-consider city car” for anyone seeking a fun but frugal set of wheels-about-town, says one journalist. One happy owner also told them: “Mine has been very reliable and gives 60-plus mpg (real world figures) with average use. £20 a year tax is great and insurance is peanuts too. It’s pretty unbeatable and it manages to provide a fun drive for the super cheap costs.”
SEAT Ibiza E 3-door and Ibiza S 5-door: With the Ibiza, drivers get the reassurance of a five-star Euro/NCAP safety rating, which earned this model its low insurance grouping. Standard kit runs to remote central locking and a six-speaker CD/tuner, while Auto Express called it “just the job for anybody who needs something fun and distinctive for the daily commute”.
HOW ELSE CAN YOU CUT YOUR INSURANCE COSTS?
Cars in these three lowest insurance groups are likely to help you cut your insurance premiums. But you’ll also find that your driving habits, such as:
- your annual mileage
- whether or not you use your car for regular commuting
- where you live
- whether you nominate other people as named drivers
- whether your car has any non-factory fitted extras on it, and
- where you park it at night
will all have an impact too.
So it’s impossible for us to give you a ball-park figure for how much you’re likely to save through choosing one of the cars from our list as opposed to something in a higher insurance group.
But while you’re under 25, you’re likely to be expected to pay quite a bit more than the £434 average annual cost of motor insurance in the UK reported by the Association of British Insurers for the first half of 2016.
There are, though, steps you can take while you’re in this ‘risky’ age group to cut your premiums, as the ABI itself says. Apart from choosing a car in a low insurance group, it suggests:
- Considering taking an advanced driving course, such as Pass Plus, after passing your driving test, as some insurers may offer premiums discounts if you do.
- Always driving safely to reduce the risk of an accident. Claims-free driving means you can build up a no claims discount and see your premiums fall as you gain more driving experience.
- Shopping around. Even for young drivers, the availability and cost of cover varies between insurers.
WHAT CAN YOU BUY WITH THE CASH YOU SAVE ON YOUR COVER?
With all this in mind, it’s perfectly possible to save a couple of hundred quid each year by going for a car in the lowest three insurance groups over a sportier model from the same range. So what will that £200 buy you? How about:
- Four tanks of fuel (based on an average price of £1.12 per litre and a 45-litre tank - about par for the course on lots of the small cars we’ve mentioned). So at a typical range of 450 miles per tank, that’s another 1,800 miles of motoring;
- A Jack Wills tweed blazer for £198, from ShortList magazine’s list of best Christmas gifts to give for 2016;
- A Canon Powershot A4000 16-megapixel digital camera to record all your favourite moments for posterity;
- Not one, but three FitBit Ones, so you can not only check your own physical activity, but you can have a contest with your partner and even get your mum to join in;
- A couple of award-winning Sony 3D Blu-Ray DVD players - if you’re prepared to stump up an extra £20;
- A Nest Learning Thermostat, whose near-£190 price tag should be recouped in savings on your energy bills throughout the following year;
- And even the kitchen sink… if you’re being really practical, you could splash your cash on this rugged Cooke & Lewis single-bowl sink and drainer in stainless steel and toughened glass. And it won’t mind being splashed with water either...
With quality new and used cars from lots of great manufacturers always available, Swansway Group will help you find a great low-insurance car which will reward you with lower running costs. Visit your local dealership for friendly, honest advice on the best car to suit your needs.
*Insurance groups are complicated! Not all variations of the models detailed fall into the ones shown - so you should always check with your Swansway Group dealer and insurance company before committing to any car.