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What are car insurance groups?

If you want to pay as little as possible to insure your car, then it’s worth having some understanding of what car insurance groups are, as well as how they work. If you are considering a car purchase, this information might help you decide which one to go for.

What are car insurance groups and how many are there?

There are 50 car insurance groups, with group 1 cars being the cheapest to insure and group 50 the most expensive. Cars in the higher groups typically cost more to insure because they are likely to cost insurers more in claims.

Who decides which group to place a car into?

Thatcham administers the Group Rating Panel, which places new cars into their group. Car insurance companies may choose to use the groups Thatcham assigns cars to, or they might prefer to decide on their own bands instead.

How are the groups decided?

Thatcham bases its groupings on research. The following factors are used to determine which group a car should belong to:

Repair costs

This is probably the most important factor, as the Association of British Insurers reckons that repairs account for more than half of the total money car insurers pay out for claims.

Parts

The cost of replacement parts used in repair is taken into account. These can vary hugely by manufacturer, and lower costs often make for a lower insurance group placing. A list of the most regularly used parts is used to work this out.

Damage

Each car is assessed in terms of the damage it is most likely to sustain, and the more damage, the higher the group it will be put into.

Repair times

If a car takes longer to repair, then it is highly likely that the repairs will cost more. For this reason, a car with longer repair times will belong to a higher insurance group.

Paint

The paint finish can even be used to calculate projected costs. When you buy a car, metallic, pearlescent, or other specialised paint finishes cost more, so the same applies when repairs are made to a car’s bodywork.

New car value

The value of the car when new is a crucial factor, as this can be a good guide to the likely costs of repair – or replacement in the event of an insurance write-off.

Performance

Cars with a high level of performance can travel at faster speeds and accelerate more rapidly. This puts them at an increased risk of an accident, and their insurance group placing will reflect this.

Brakes

Having an anti-lock braking system (ABS) can mean a car falls into a lower insurance group. This is because such vehicles are less likely to be involved in front to rear collisions that can cause a heavy impact and thus be costly to repair.

Bumpers

The structure and alignment of the car’s bumpers can qualify for a lower insurance group placing, if they meet the criteria of the insurer.

Security

Cars fitted with security features are more likely to be placed in a lower insurance group. This can include alarms, immobilisers and high-security locks.

Whiplash

Seat or head restraints are assessed according to their ability to help avoid whiplash injury, as this is a common cause of insurance claims.

How do I find out which insurance group a car belongs to?

You can check your car’s insurance group in the ‘My Vehicle Search’ section on Thatcham Research’s own site, or when obtaining a car insurance quote you can check with the insurer. Some price comparison sites can also tell you which group your car belongs to.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

In general, the earliest you can get an insurance quote is around 30 days before you need the cover to start.

Yes - a car insurance provider can find out if you have any penalty points on your driving licence, even if choose not to disclose them during the application process.

Your job can be a factor when an insurance company is working out how much to charge for your premium - and this can mean that there are certain good occupations for cheap car insurance.

Although it will be registered, getting car insurance quotes does not have an impact on your credit rating, so it won’t be taken into account if you apply for a loan or other form of credit in the future.

Comparing car insurance quotes is quick and easy, especially if you use a broker or comparison website. Simply enter your details and you’ll be able to browse and compare quotes from different providers.

Generally, car insurance payouts are not taxable. The only exception to this rule is if any repair done to your car actually boosts its value – but the way insurers work means this is unlikely to happen.

Although it’s perfectly legal to have two car insurance policies running at the same time, it can make claims unnecessarily complicated. As such, it’s worth making sure you only have one policy in place for your vehicle.

Many insurance companies will price match – especially if you’re renewing your insurance with them. It’s not uncommon for providers to offer exceptional prices if you’re a new customer – but not be quite as competitive when you get your auto-renew price. There’s no harm in asking for a price match – the worst they can say is no!

The level of cover you need when it comes to car insurance depends on what you want to be able to claim for.

There are many factors that determine the price of car insurance, and some drivers find that the cost of their premiums starts to decrease once they hit a certain age.