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What do the car insurance groups mean?

Published 7 October 2015 by

If you’re on the hunt for a new car, you probably already have a wide range of specifications that you’re trying to fill but we’ve got one more to add to your list – the insurance group a car falls into. You may be unaware of this but the type of car you choose will be put into a certain car insurance group and this can have an impact on the car insurance premium that you pay.

The basics

Every car built to UK specifications is assigned to a car insurance group. These are decided upon by the Group Rating Panel which is made up of representatives of the insurance industry and members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Lloyds Market Association.

The cars are put into insurance groups labelled from 1 to 50, based on research conducted by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre. Generally, the lower the group the car’s in, the cheaper it will be to insure. Cars placed in the highest groups are typically high performance models which will cost insurers more in insurance claims. However, car insurance groups are only there to act as guidance to insurers when calculating premiums, as what you’ll pay for insurance depends on other factors as well.

The assignment of cars into groups is based on a number of factors – these include the performance of the vehicle, repairs, the cost of spare parts, safety features and the price of a new model. According to the ABI, repairs are an important factor when rating a car, as the cost of repairs accounts for more than half the amount paid out in motor insurance claims.

Performance also plays its part, as a vehicle that can accelerate rapidly and reach top speeds is seen as more of a risk and is likely to produce expensive claims, which will see it classified in a higher insurance group.

The safety features of the car will be taken into consideration as well. For example, the inclusion of an Autonomous Emergency Breaking system (AEB) or alarm will help it to be placed in a lower insurance group.

What this means for you

If you’re interested in a particular vehicle, you can check the insurance group that it falls into by logging into MyVehicle and entering the appropriate details. If you’re already an owner of a car that falls into one of the expensive car insurance groups, there are a few things that you can do to cut costs.

The easiest way to do this is to add extra security to the car in the form of immobilisers and alarms. Outside of enhancing your car, you could opt to pay a higher excess or pay your insurance premiums upfront to avoid the interest that most insurers charge on monthly payments.

For more ideas on how to reduce the cost of your car insurance, read our guide.