Car insurance groups

Want to know how insurers calculate your car insurance premiums? Discover how the car you drive and its insurance rating can make all the difference.

Insurers take several factors into consideration when calculating your car insurance premiums, but one of the biggest is the type of car you drive. Read our guide to learn more about the car insurance groups that all cars are put into and how this can affect your premiums.

What are car insurance groups?

All new cars in the UK are given an insurance group rating, from 1 to 50, to help insurance providers decide how to calculate car insurance premiums. The rating essentially tells insurers which cars are the most expensive to cover as well as which ones are the cheapest to cover.

How are car insurance groups calculated?

A car’s insurance group rating is set by a 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.

When setting a car’s insurance group rating, the panel considers a number of factors, including:

  • The original sale price. The price of a car when it’s new is a big indicator of how much it will cost the insurer to repair or even replace it. If you paid a small fortune for your car, expect to pay higher premiums. 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 nippy around corners are more likely to be involved in accidents, which can result in higher premiums.
  • Security level. A car that has an alarm and other security features that make it harder to steal will be cheaper to insure.
  • The price of the most common car 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.
  • Safety features. Cars fitted with an autonomous emergency braking system are less likely to be involved in front-to-rear accidents, and this could be enough to put them in a lower insurance group. The performance of a car’s bumper in an accident can also affect its grouping.

What does a car’s insurance group mean?

Most insurers use the group rating system to help them establish the premium you’ll pay for a specific car.

To put it simply, the lower the insurance group number, the cheaper a car will typically be to insure. Some insurance providers may have their own insurance rating system, but these are likely to be based on similar factors.

Bear in mind that, while a car’s insurance group will have a big impact on the cost of insuring it, this doesn’t mean that 2 people with the same car will necessarily receive similar quotes. The price you pay for insurance will also be influenced by factors such as where you live, your age and a history of previous claims.

Average premiums by insurance group

To give you a sense of how a car’s insurance group can affect the cost of car insurance, the table below shows the average annual premium depending on which group a car is in.

Our data shows that you can expect to pay – on average – about twice as much to insure a car in groups 46-50 as a car in groups 1-5.

Car insurance groupAverage annual premium
1 to 5£506
6 to 10£595
11 to 15£649
16 to 20£698
21 to 25£731
26 to 30£770
31 to 35£795
36 to 40£856
41 to 45£930
46 to 50£1,006

Car insurance groups 1-50

There are 50 different car insurance groups that cars can be allocated to. Click on the links in the grid below to find out how to get a good deal on insuring cars in each group and see some popular car makes and models.

What insurance group is my car in?

You can check which group your car is in on the Thatcham website. This lets you enter the specific details of your car, such as trim and fuel type, as well as the make and model.

To give you a couple of examples, new car models in group 1 include the Citroen C1 and the Vauxhall Corsa. At the other end of the scale, the pricey and powerful Audi R8 and the iconic Bentley Flying Spur are both in group 50.

If you’re in the market for a new car and want to choose one that’s in a low car insurance group to help keep insurance costs down, you can click on the links in the grid above to see popular models in each group.

What do the letters after a car’s insurance group number mean?

If you see a letter after a car’s insurance group number, it means that Thatcham has rated the level of security fitted as standard to that vehicle. The meaning of each letter is as follows:

  • E: Exceeds security requirements for a car of this type and the group rating has therefore been reduced. For example, a group 12 car where the security requirement exceeds Thatcham’s minimum standard for that group will be listed as an 11E.
  • A: Acceptable – meets security requirements for a car of this type.
  • D: Does not meet security requirements for a car of this type and the group rating has therefore been increased. For example, a group 12 car where the security requirement does not meet Thatcham’s minimum standard for that group will be listed as a 13E.
  • U: Unacceptable – the level of security is significantly below requirements. This doesn’t mean that the car will be uninsurable, but individual insurers may insist on the security being upgraded before providing cover.
  • P: Provisional – data for the group rating was incomplete as of the car’s launch date.
  • G: Import – group ratings are currently only allocated to vehicles built for the UK market, though Thatcham’s data will list vehicles that are classed as imports.

Security requirements are not consistent across cars in all groups. The higher the group, the higher the level of security that is required to achieve the same security rating. So a group 47 car would need a higher level of security to receive an A rating than a group 8 car, for example.

What else will affect my car insurance premium?

The price you pay for your car insurance will be influenced by a number of factors other than the car’s insurance group, including (but not limited to):

  • Your age. Statistics show that young drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident, and to make an insurance claim. Once you turn 25, you should see your premium start to fall.
  • Where you live. If you (and your car) are located in an area where car theft is more common, for example, this is likely to bump up your premiums. Read more about the impact of your address on car insurance.
  • Where you keep your car. Keeping your car in a securely locked garage, for example, may help keep your premiums down.
  • Your driving history. Points on your licence and a history of claims could both suggest to an insurer that you’re a less safe bet, and see your premiums increase.

Our guide on how car insurance is calculated has more detail on these and other factors that affect your premium.

How can I reduce my car insurance costs?

Even if your car is in 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 the voluntary 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.
  • Learn 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. This won’t help if you’ve got your heart set on a specific car. If you can be flexible, 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. 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.

The bottom line

A car’s insurance group rating can have a significant impact on the cost of insuring it. If you’re looking for a new car and want to keep insurance costs down, it’s worth checking the group ratings of your shortlisted cars before you buy. That said, for most people a car’s insurance group is unlikely to be the deciding factor in which car they buy. And it’s not the only thing that will affect your insurance premium. If you have your heart set on a car that’s in a high insurance group, there are plenty of other tactics you can employ to keep insurance costs down.

Frequently asked questions

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*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, (June ’23). 51% of car insurance customers could save £488.46

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