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Car Insurance Groups Explained

Each model of car is assigned to a car insurance group in the UK, which will affect your premiums. Find out more here.

Last updated: 02 July 2020

Car Insurance Groups Explained
Usually when buying a car you’ll make your decision based on the type of car, the engine size, the price or perhaps the colour. But if you don’t want to end up paying a huge amount for your insurance, you also need to check which insurance group your vehicle will fall in to. This guide will explain what insurance groups are, how they’re calculated and how the groups can affect car insurance.

What are Car Insurance Groups?

Each car belongs to one of 50 different insurance groups which groups cars together based on the risks insurers face when insuring a car. Generally, the higher the insurance group, the higher the cost to insure, as those cars in the higher groups are those which would be most expensive to repair or replace. 

How are Car Insurance Groups decided?

Each car has been placed into a group by the motor insurance repair research centre Thatcham, who work alongside the Association of British insurers. The group system has been in place since 2007 and each new make of car is allocated a group.

When deciding which group each car should be placed a wide variety of factors are considered. Most significantly is the repair costs, as on average, over half the costs of most insurance claims goes towards car repair costs. This isn’t the only factor however, also considered is:

  • Car performance: How quickly a car reaches 60mph and other performance factors are typically considered. This is because, statistically, high performing cars are more likely to make insurance claims. 
  • Price of a new car: Newer and more expensive cars tend to be more costly to replace, meaning they are more likely to be placed in a higher group. 
  • Body Shell and parts pricing: The price of a car’s body shell is typically considered when grouping a car as an insurer may have to pay for the replacement if a claim is made. The availability of the parts and a new shell is also considered. 
  • Repair time: The length of time it takes to repair a car is considered and a longer repair time will typically result in a higher grouping.
  • Car Security: If a car has better security, reducing the likelihood of theft, then this will lead to a lower grouping. 
  • Car bumper: A car’s bumper is crucial if a car is involved in an accident, therefore a stronger bumper will typically lead to a lower grouping. 
  • Car Safety: Cars which have autonomous emergency breaking are less likely to be involved in low speed front to rear accidents, usually meaning they’re placed in a lower grouping. 

How do I find a car’s insurance grouping?

You can find the insurance group of any car on the Thatcham website. The precise insurance group of each car will depend on the trim, extras and engine size of the specific model you choose. 

It’s also important to note that the Thatcham groupings are only advisory, and insurers may set their own groupings if they choose. 

What are the cheapest cars to insure?

Typically, the cheapest cars to purchase, those with smaller engines, are also the cheapest to insure. Cars which are typically bought by first time drivers because they’re in lower groups, and therefore cheaper to insure, include Fiat Panda, Citreon C1 and Peugot 107, among others. Whilst lower grouped cars which are popular with older drivers are the Fiat 500 or a Ford KA.  

How can I lower the cost of my car insurance?

In addition to buying a car from a lower insurance grouping, there are several other ways to reduce the costs of your insurance premium:

  • Take out a telematics policy: Telematics insurance involves fitting a small black box into your car which monitors the way in which you drive. If you drive safely and sensibly, your insurance will be reduced. 
  • Increase your voluntary excess: A voluntary excess is the amount you must pay if you make a claim, before your insurer pays out. By increasing your voluntary excess, you can expect to pay less on your monthly payments. Always make sure you can afford your voluntary excess when you sign up to your policy. 
  • Pay upfront: Another way to reduce costs is to pay for your policy upfront rather than in monthly payments. Although many choose to pay monthly, you may be charged interest on the instalments, meaning an upfront payment can work out cheaper. 
  • Reduce mileage: Insurers will ask you for a maximum annual mileage as those with less mileage will typically be less likely to be involved in an accident.  
  • Improve your security: Some insurers offer a security discount for cars with a certain type of alarm or with an immobiliser. 
  • Named drivers: Insuring an experienced driver with few claims on your vehicle alongside your own cover will often reduce the cost of your policy. 
  • No claims bonus: Insurers will often offer discounts if you haven’t made an insurance claim in a while. The longer the time since your last claim, the higher the discount.

Where can I find the best car insurance policy?

The most important action you can take when choosing a policy is making sure you shop around. You can do that using our car insurance comparison tool. Simply fill in a few details and we’ll take account of your price range and specific needs to find a car insurance policy tailored to your needs. 
Michael Quinn

Author: Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.