Insurance

Car insurance groups explained

The make and model of car you drive will 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.

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.'

Car insurance group rating 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. Find out ore about how to stop car thieves.

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What types of cars are the cheapest to insure?

cheap-cars-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.

Find out more about the cheapest cars to insure in our guide.

How to get cheaper 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.

Pay as you go car insurance

Unlike some traditional car insurance policies, Pay by Mile car insurance [HH1] allows you to pay on a monthly rolling subscription at no extra cost.

Better still, you only pay for the miles you drive which could be as low as 4p per mile. There is an additional monthly parked premium, to insure your vehicle while it’s parked.

Short-term car insurance

If you’re just borrowing or sharing a car, adding that to your annual policy could be more costly than it needs to be. Temporary Car Insurance can be taken out for as little as 1 hours and up to 30 days.

It can be used as many times as you like in a year and there is also a business use option. If you’re travelling for business every now and again, your annual policy may not cover this. That’s where Temporary Car Insurance comes in.

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.

Car insurance group checker

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.

Use the My Vehicle Search Thatcham Research tool to check car insurance groups for any model.

Car insurance groups FAQs

  • What is the cheapest car to insure?

    The cheapest types of cars to insure are in lower car insurance groups. They 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.

    Find out more about the cheapest cars to insure in our guide.

  • 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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^10% of all customers buying Car Insurance Plus with us from 1st January 2021 to 30th June 2021 paid less than £151. Based on comprehensive Car Insurance Plus, purchased direct, excluding any additional products and upgrades, with payment on an annual basis. Your premium will depend on your circumstances and the level of cover you choose.