Car Insurance Groups

Lower Groups - Cheaper Premiums

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Car Insurance Groups

The make and model of car you drive can influence the price of your car insurance policy. So, if you're looking to save money on your car insurance premium, it's worth checking car insurance groups to see what group your vehicle is in, understand how these insurance groups are decided, and how the next car you buy will impact on your insurance price. This is a guide to car insurance groups explained.


The Group Rating System

The Group Rating System is administered by Thatcham Research, on behalf of the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Members of the ABI and Lloyds Market Association (LMA) make up the Group Rating Panel, which meets every month to set new car models to an insurance group. There are 50 different car insurance groups - those in insurance group No.1 are the cheapest cars to insure while those in insurance group 50 are the most expensive.

The number of insurance groups has changed in recent years. Until 2009, the number of car insurance groups were 1-20 but this has been expanded - this means, according to Thatcham, that 'each model of car can be more accurately banded with cars of similar characteristics and therefore create a more precise Group Rating System.'

What are the affecting factors?

The Group Rating Panel considers a range of factors when establishing UK car insurance groups. As stated by Thatcham, the affecting factors include the following:

  • Damage and Parts Costs - the costs of the parts if any repairs are needed to a car, and the likely extent of damage; lower costs will contribute to a lower group rating.
  • Repair Times - types of cars that need longer repair times typically incur higher costs and will therefore be placed in a higher group rating.
  • New car values - the more expensive the car as new, the higher the cost of replacement or repair, and the higher the position it will hold in the car insurance groups list.
  • Parts Prices - The Group Rating Panel studies a list of 23 common parts to 'compare one manufacturer's parts costs to another'. Lower costs likely mean a lower group rating.
  • Performance of the car - Expect high performance cars - those with higher speeds and quick acceleration - to be towards the top of the car insurance groups table.
  • Car safety - Cars with improved safety systems, such as an Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system - are judged to be less likely to be involved in certain types of accident and so the insurance rating will be lower.
  • Bumper Compatibility - The structure and alignment of bumpers at the front and rear of a vehicle play an important part in protecting against damage in the event of collisions and accidents. Cars with bumpers that 'meet the insurer's criteria' can receive lower insurance ratings.
  • Car Security - Cars with fitted security devices - including alarm systems, immobilisers and clearly visible VIN numbers - can all help to reduce insurance claims costs and contribute to lower car insurance groups.

What types of cars are the cheapest to insure?

The cheapest types of cars to insure - and those that are included in the lower positions in the car insurance groups list - are usually models with smaller engines, low specifications and relatively inexpensive to buy from new. Models that are usually included in the lower car insurance groups are Ford Ka, Volkswagen Fox, Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and Fiat Panda.

How else can I cut the cost of insurance?

If you drive a car which is one of the mid to upper car insurance groups there are other ways of reducing the cost of your insurance. These include:

Paying a higher excess

When you get a quote for car insurance, you'll be offered the chance to set the amount of voluntary excess you're prepared to pay - the amount you'll put towards the cost of any repairs if you make a claim. Setting this at £200 instead of £100, for example, could reduce the price of your policy.

Increase your car's security

If your car doesn't have an alarm or a tracking device, adding one could improve the security of your vehicle in the eyes of insurers and reduce the likelihood of it being stolen. Check with your insurer if they consider these modifications, as this could affect your premium price too.

Pay insurance annually

You can purchase car insurance and pay for it annually - all in one go - or on a monthly basis by direct debit. Paying monthly is convenient but also incurs interest so usually works out more expensive over the course of 12 months.

Use Black Box Car Insurance

New and younger drivers can save money on their car insurance by opting for Black Box Car Insurance. This involves a black box being installed in the car, which uses telematics to track and record driver behaviour and performance. Safe driving is rewarded with discounts on car insurance come renewal time.

Get a quote for Classic Car Insurance

If your car was built pre-1990, you may want to consider getting a quote for Classic Car Insurance - this type of car insurance is designed specifically for older cars and may offer you a better deal on your insurance.

Join an automotive organisation

Some insurers may offer a discount on your insurance premium if you are a member of an automotive organisation, such am IAM RoadSmart, a charity that promotes road safety and driving standards.

Check a car's insurance group

If you are looking at new cars to buy it's always useful to know which of the insurance groups a particular model belongs to. It should be a part of the buying process, alongside other factors such as the economy of the car and it can inform the final decision - all things being equal, you may finally choose the model in one of the lower car insurance groups.

Thatcham Research has a really handy tool to help with checking car insurance groups. Their 'My Vehicle' search facility allows anyone to look up the car insurance group for any model - to register for the free service, click here.

FAQs around Insurance Groupings

What is the cheapest car to insure?

Car insurance groups are reviewed regularly to include new models. But the cheapest cars to insure are usually smaller models with low specifications and not too expensive to buy new. Models such as the Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, Vauxhall Corso and Hyundai i10 are all found within the cheapest insurance groups.

How many car insurance groups are there?

There are 50 UK car insurance groups, with those in group 1 the cheapest cars to ensure and those in group 50 the most expensive.

How do car insurance groups work?

Car insurance groups work by looking at a number of factors about a particular make and model of car and then placing it in a group. The number of the group should be reflected, in some way, by the price of car insurance.  

Are older cars cheaper to insure?

Older cars are not always cheaper to insure. Newer vehicles have better security and technology, making them safer to drive and harder to steal, so they can work out cheaper. 

What are Thatcham insurance groups?

Car insurance groups are sometimes known as Thatcham insurance groups, because Thatcham Research administer the insurance Group Rating System.

Who are Thatcham research?

Thatcham Research is the company that provides most of the data and information to define a car's insurance group. It's Thatcham Research that administers the Group Rating system on behalf of the ABI - the Association of British Insurers.

Which is the cheapest insurance group?

Group No.1 is the cheapest of the car insurance groups, however this is just one factor an insurer may use to underwrite a car insurance policy, so it doesn't automatically mean a Group 1 car will get you the cheapest premium.

What insurance group is my car in?

Thatcham Research has a useful car insurance group checker. Simply register for the 'My Vehicle' service, provide a few details - type of vehicle, manufacturer, model, range, body style and fuel type - and the group rating of your car will be revealed.

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