Car insurance groups explained

 
Insurers base their risk assessments on multiple elements, such as fuel type, style and age, doors, length of ownership and purchase price. However, one aspect to consider when understanding how your premium is calculated, is your car’s insurance group. If you’re going to pay to drive it, then it’s helpful to know as much about your vehicle as possible. It will give you a better idea of how insurance costs are worked out and may even change the way you buy cars in the future.

How many insurance groups are there?

 

There are 50 groups in total and every new car is given an insurance group rating. It is rated by the level of safety and security equipment it possesses. Group 1 is the lowest risk car insurance group. The highest risk group is 50.

For example, a Skoda Citigo 1.0 SE is in the lowest group (1). It is one of the least expensive vehicles to insure. At the other end of the scale are cars such as the Bentley Flying Spur, renowned for its ultra- luxurious styling, rated in group 50. 

Thatcham Research Centre is an organisation that ensures the motor industry remains committed to exacting safety standards, improving the safety of drivers and their passengers while also helping to keep insurance costs low. They administer the system of categorising all UK cars into insurance groups. They undertake extensive research and testing for car performance, security and safety to supply insurers with the data they need to calculate premiums. 

 

Each insurance group rating number will be accompanied by a letter. These are security ratings:

 

  • E - Your vehicle exceeds the security criteria for the group and therefore has had its rating upgraded. For example, a group 22 car that features outstanding levels of security will be upgraded to 21E.
  • A - Your car has an acceptable level of security features.
  • P - This means ‘provisional’ or yet to be rated due to insufficient data – perhaps the car is a new model and hasn’t been tested enough.
  • D - This means insufficient security requirements that don’t meet the accepted standard. Therefore a group 22 car would be downgraded to 23D.
  • U - Where the level of security for the model concerned is regarded as Unacceptable. Individual insurers may insist on the security being upgraded before providing cover. 
  • G - This states that your car is an import, or that it doesn’t meet insurance group criteria for cars created for the UK market.


This system is created to distinguish between thousands of makes and models of cars on UK roads without bias in order to calculate their risk level. 

Some example cars and their groups

Cars

Audi A4 S Line                   
BMW 320i M Sport             
Citroen C1 VTi 1.0              
Fiat Abarth T-Jet 595 1.4l             
Honda Civic 1.0                  
Kia Ceed 1.0 T-Gdi             
Lotus Elise 1.6                    
Mini Cooper 1.5                  
Mercedes C Class AMG 1.6l     
Peugeot 2008 PureTech 1.2l               

Groups

25E - 33E
28E - 30E 
8E 
31D
15E - 16E
8E - 9E
42D
15E - 27E
31E
13E

What factors affect car insurance groups?

 

Insurance groups work by identifying several key factors to establish which rating each brand new car receives. These include:

  • Safety and security
  • Value when new
  • Costs of parts and repair
  • Each car’s performance
 

Performance and vehicle technology

 

Advancements in technology have a great impact upon car insurance groups. In the past, for example, a car would have mostly been constructed from steel. Today, the lighter properties of aluminium are more common, but aluminium is also more expensive to replace. 

Individual components such as bumpers carry more safety features today including reversing and parking sensors and multiple cameras. Wing mirrors now house turn signals and blind-spot monitoring devices. These items are now more expensive to repair or replace. To monitor such economic developments manufacturer’s parts are constantly price-checked to establish how their cost will impact the car’s insurance group.

 

More car-tech can mean more car-cost

 

Generally speaking, the more expensive a car is when it’s new means it is usually more expensive to insure, owing to greater levels of technology, repair times and the cost of sourcing parts. As technology becomes more prevalent, the resulting labour costs become greater as mechanics need to develop specialist skills to identify and repair issues. Furthermore, the higher a car’s performance (meaning acceleration and top speed) the more likelihood these cars will feature at the higher end of the insurance group list.

How to reduce your future car insurance premiums

 

There are many other factors that determine how much your car insurance costs. These include your age, occupation and driving history including how many claims you have made, plus how many points you may have on your licence. 

To reduce the cost of your premium, find out which insurance group your car belongs to, then:

  • Try not to modify your car unnecessarily
  • Set as high an excess as you’re able to afford
  • If you’re aged 17-24 consider black box insurance 
  • Reduce your annual mileage and consider your daily usage

 

Understanding risk will help to manage your costs

 

Using all the information available, you’ll start to get an approximate figure of how much your car might cost to insure. Remember, estimating how much your car will cost to insure still involves complex risk analysis.


As well as how risky (based on its rating) your car is, there are other elements that affect how insurance costs. Here at MORE THAN we have a cut off point for acceptable risk. Too much risk and there's no point even giving out a price. For example, a young driver wanting to insure a 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo (insurance group 50) would be unlikely to get an affordable quote. The risk is 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. But understanding how these risks are calculated will place you in a much better position to begin to lower your car insurance costs in the future.

 

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