Car insurance groups explained

"What insurance group is my car?" Is a question that we often get asked, but finding out what you might pay for your car insurance if you're a young driver or looking to cut the cost of your motoring involves knowing more than what insurance group it's in.
Looking for a new car for you or your family takes time and financial wrangling. If you've narrowed down the list to two or three favourites, a deciding factor could be how much each motor is going to cost you in the long term. You'll need to bear in mind:
  • Fuel efficiency - what fuel does it use, how much that costs and how many miles per gallon might you get?
  • Maintenance costs - how much and how often will the car need to be serviced, are they prone to breakdowns and how readily available or costly are the parts?
  • Vehicle Excise Duty (commonly mistaken as Road Tax) - This is worked out on emissions data, readily available via online searches and calculated via this Direct.gov website.
  • Insurance.

Car Insurance Rating Groups

Generally insurance group ratings quoted on adverts are a very broad guideline for how much you'll pay. The ratings are set by the motor insurance repair research centre Thatcham and operate on a scale of 1 - being the cheapest (Fiat Panda Active 1108CC, 04 registration plate onwards for example) to insure to 50 - being the most expensive (Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, 3596CC, 05 registration plate onwards). According to Thatcham's website they crash test cars at a standard speed of 15 km per hour to work out the base level then a vehicle's group rating is also determined by:
  • The new car price, reflecting variations in trim level and the cost of settlement in the event of a 'total loss'
  • Vehicle performance, including the 0-60 mph. acceleration and top speed
  • Parts pricing from a standard list of 23 parts
  • A vehicle's security levels.

Calculating Risk

Based on that information you can start to get a picture of how much your car might cost to  insure. Notice I say might, rather than will, because estimating how much your car will cost to insure involves complex risk analysis. As well as how generally risky, based on its rating, your car is, there are various other elements included in how we calculate the cost of insurance. Here at MORE TH>N we have a cut off point for acceptable risk - too much risk and there's no point even giving out a price. For example we're unlikely to provide a quote for a young driver with points on their licence wanting to insure a Ferrari F430 (insurance group 50) - the risk is just too great. As one of our Technical Analysts puts it:
"The lower the car insurance group the more likely it is that the risk will be acceptable."
Each insurance company calculates risk differently, hence the variations in price. If you'd like to start your car insurance quote with MORE TH>N, you can do so right here.

(Originally published on 27/01/2012)

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