Insurers take several factors into consideration when calculating your car insurance premiums but one of the biggest factors is the car you drive. Read our guide to learn more about the insurance group that every car is put into and how this can affect your premiums.
All new cars in the UK are given an insurance group rating to help insurance providers decide how to calculate car insurance premiums. The rating essentially tells insurers which cars are the most expensive cars to cover as well as which ones are the cheapest to cover.
A car’s insurance group rating from 1-50 is set by a special Group Rating Panel. The Panel includes members from both the Association of British Insurers and Lloyds Market Association. It is also assisted by Thatcham Research, a research centre established to maintain safety standards and reduce motor insurance claims.
An insurance provider may have its own insurance rating system or use the group rating set by the panel as a guide.
How are car insurance groups calculated?
The special Group Rating Panel sets a car’s insurance group rating by looking at a number of factors such as:
The original sale price.
The price of the most common parts.
The price of repair work.
The autonomous emergency braking system.
There are 50 different car insurance groups that cars can be allocated to. The lower the rating, the cheaper that car is to insure.
How does my car’s insurance group rating affect my policy?
If you want to keep car insurance premiums low, you’ll need to give careful consideration to the car you drive.
A car’s insurance group rating is based on a number of factors listed above but it’s worth understanding exactly how these factors can affect your premiums.
The original sale price. The original sale price of the car is a big indicator of the amount of money it will cost the insurer to repair or even replace. If you paid a small fortune for your car, expect to pay higher premiums while if your new car was an absolute bargain, premiums are likely to be much lower.
Performance. High performing sports cars that roar into life and are pretty quick around corners are more likely to be involved in accidents, which can result in higher premiums as a result.
Security level. A car that has built-in alarms and locks that make it harder for someone to steal will be cheaper to insure.
The price of the parts. The more parts cost to replace, the higher the insurance group rating will be.
The price of repair work. The more repair work costs on a car and the longer that repair work takes, the higher the group rating is likely to be.
How can I reduce my car insurance costs?
Even if your car falls into a higher insurance group, there are still ways you could lower your insurance premiums. Consider the following:
Choose a cover level that suits you. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third party (TP) or third party, fire and theft so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who typically get TP.
Increase security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
Limit your mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
Add experienced drivers. Adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy could help to lower the premium.
Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
Advanced driving skills. You could be in line for a discount with certain providers by taking an advanced driving course such as those offered by the Pass Plus scheme.
Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
Pick a smaller car. Choosing to drive a small and safe car is likely to lower your premium.
Limit modifications. Any modifications made to your car to make it look better or drive faster are likely to increase your premiums so think carefully before making any changes.
Consider telematics insurance. Having a “black box” fitted to your car to monitor your driving could result in discounts if you drive safely.
Shop around. Don’t simply choose to renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need to. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy so check the cover details carefully.
Frequently asked questions
You’ll be able to find out what insurance rating your car has by visiting the Thatcham Research website and entering your vehicle’s make, model, year of registration and some other details into the “My Vehicle Search”.
Insurers generally use a group rating system of 1-50 when assessing how much a car will cost to insure. The lower the rating, the cheaper that car is to insure and the higher the rating, the more that car is likely to cost to insure.
*Based on independent online research by Consumer Intelligence (March ’20). 51% of car insurance customers could save £285.88.
Danny is a publisher at Finder specialising in car, life, home, business and pet insurance. He previously worked at the global insurer Aon and has appeared in national media giving advice on insurance. Danny holds a BA in International Business from the University of Plymouth and has undying loyalty to his average-poor football team, Portsmouth FC.
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