How much you pay for your car insurance depends on two things. First, you, the driver – your age, driving experience, and record – and secondly, of course, your car.
Did you know that every single car on the market belongs to an insurance group and that buying a car in a higher group could cost you up to £100 in extra premiums every month?
If you’re looking to buy a new car, or to change your car over the next year or so, here you’ll find out how to save money by getting the right motor.
Table of Contents
What exactly is a car insurance group?
Car insurance groups are a way of dividing up cars by their level of insurance risk.
Each car insurance category contains all the cars that are deemed to represent a similar level of insurance risk.
There are 50 groups in total, Group 1 being the lowest risk and Group 50 the highest. The lower the risk, the cheaper a car is to insure, because the insurer is less likely to have to pay out a claim, and any claim is likely to be for a lower amount of money (e.g for a less expensive car).
Some cars don’t belong to a group. Because the car insurance groups apply only to cars built to UK specifications, private imports don’t have a group. Nor do kit cars. Cars which have been highly modified may also have to go through a special process because they no longer fit the group system.
How to compare car insurance group quotes?
Although you know your car’s insurance group, other factors will also affect your quote, such as your age, job, driving experience and any No Claims Bonus. If you want to find the cheapest car insurance then you’re going to want to get comparative quotes online. You won’t be able to see how these factors play out unless you take a few minutes to source some car insurance comparisons.
For example, for a driver of 25 years old with clean record, an Admiral car insurance policy could cost in average £885 a year vs. beyond 2200£ for a car in the highest car insurance groups.
How are car insurance groups decided?
Cars are given their group by the Group Rating Panel, which includes members of the Association of British Insurers and the Lloyds Market Association (representing reinsurers who underwrite policies).
The Panel uses information that’s supplied by Thatcham Research, which shows the likely repair costs and replacement costs for each type of car – the amount an insurer might have to pay out in the event of a claim. Thatcham Research looks at factors such as:
- The cost of components – the 23 most commonly replaced parts
- Repair costs, which might be lower for cars with a strong dealership network
- The value of the car
- Speed and acceleration (high performance cars are the most likely to make high claims)
- Safety features such as autonomous emergency braking
- Security, such as whether the car has an immobiliser or tracker fitted as standard.
Thatcham considers what repairs would be needed after a shunt – an accident at 15 miles an hour.
Since over half the value of claims paid out goes to pay for repairs, a car that’s cheap and easy to repair with low components prices is going to be relatively cheap to insure. Custom paint jobs, and some finishes, can be very costly to repair, so some trim options on the same car can cost more than others.
What are car insurance groups’ security ratings?
The security rating shows whether the car’s security features fit what Thatcham thinks it ought to have. A car’s rating is shown by its group together with one of the security letters E, A, P, D or U.
Thatcham defines what level of security is appropriate for each motor insurance group; obviously you’d expect more and higher rated security features on a top of the range BMW than on a car at the bottom end of the market.
For instance, Thatcham will look at whether a car has a fitted alarm, an immobiliser, and for higher value cars, a tracker. If there’s an immobiliser, it will look at whether it’s mechanical or electronic.
The security ratings mean:
- E – security features exceed what’s expected for this group
- A – security is acceptable
- P – provisional, usually in the case of a newly launched car
- D – doesn’t meet the requirements
- U – unacceptable, so the car’s insurance risk is higher than you’d expect in that group.
Why is it worth knowing your car insurance group?
If you know your car’s insurance group, it will give you a better feel for how your insurance premium might be calculated.
For instance, you might have a similar car to one of your friends, but they pay much lower insurance. That might be because though your cars look similar, they are in different insurance groups. There can be a big price difference between car insurance groups.
Other things being equal, knowing your car’s insurance group will help you estimate what you will pay for insurance. Insurance group 1 cars should be the cheapest to insure, for instance. Insurance group 2 cars – or even insurance group 3 cars – won’t cost much more, but if you go up to group 10 you could find the premium is quite a bit higher. Low insurance group cars can help younger and inexperienced drivers to cut their premiums.
However, because the cost of insurance depends on both the car and the driver, it’s important to get a proper car insurance comparison when you buy or renew insurance. Your car’s insurance group is only a small part of the equation.
Fortunately, it’s really easy to find out your car’s insurance group online. You don’t have to look at a full car insurance groups list – just use our car insurance group checker and you’ll have your answer in less than a minute.
What type of cars are in each group?
While the details depend on the specification of the exact model that you drive, even including the trim, you can probably guess roughly where most cars fit in the table. However, some cars – including Ford Focus and Fiesta – are found in a number of different groups as much as 10 groups apart.
Generally speaking, in insurance groups 1-10 you’ll find small cars suitable for learner drivers, while 11-20 will give you a bit more choice of family cars and slightly more powerful engines. Audis, BMWs and Mercedes basically get started in the 20’s, as do SUVs and 4x4s, while if you have a sports car you’re going to be looking at insurance group 30 or above.
|Car insurance groups||Car models|
|1-10||Citroen C1, Fiat Panda, Ford Fiesta Finesse, Hyundai Atoz, Nissan Micra, Renault Clio, Ford Ka|
|11-20||Citroen Berlingo and C3, Renault Megane, VW Caddy, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Accent, VW Polo, VW Passat|
|21-30||Audi A2 and A3, BMW 116 and 118, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai Coupe, Nissan Qashqai,Citroen Xantia, Ford Mondeo, Honda Accordm Landrover Freelander, Mercedes C-Class, MG TF|
|31-40||Alfa Romeo Spider, BMW X3, Ford Mondeo, Jaguar XJ6, Mercedes C and E class, Mini Cooper S Cabriolet, Mitsubishi Shogun, VW Bora Sport|
|41-50||Audi A8 Quattro, BMW Z4 convertible, Jaguar S-type, Lotus Exige, Porsche Boxster, Volvo Sc90 Executive|
What are the cheapest cars to insure?
Remember the criteria that Thatcham Group uses to determine car insurance groups. The cheapest cars to insure will generally be those with:
- Smaller engines
- Low top speeds
- Limited 0-60 acceleration
- No modifications or high spec trim
- A low list price (it means the standard price for new car before dealer gives any discount).
All other things being equal, the cheapest insurance group is Group 1. While you may not find the specification you want among the very lowest insurance group cars, overall car insurance groups 1-20 will generally give you relatively low insurance rates. Once you start climbing above group 30, you’re going to be looking at comparatively steep premiums.
However, whether you are a learner driver or an experienced driver with a clean licence, the cheapest cars to insure will always be the same.
You will find below a list of most famous car trims famous to be getting cheap quotations from providers:
|Car manufacturer||Car band|
|Skoda||Skoda Citigo, Skoda Fabia|
|Volkswagen||Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Up|
|Ford||Ford Ka+, Ford Fiesta|
When you’re looking for a car, remember to check the exact model and specifications, because the detail really does matter if you want to get cheaper car insurance. For instance, the Hyundai i10 comes handily into Group 1 or 2 with the 1 litre engine, but the higher spec i10 Premium with a 1.2 litre engine pushes the insurance group up to 5.
Check out which car insurance group your vehicle belongs to with our Car Insurance Group Checker Tool.