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Which car insurance group is cheapest?

The insurance group your car belongs to can have a significant effect on the price you will pay for your insurance. It’s far from the only factor taken into account, as insurers will also consider details such as your age, where you live, your occupation and your driving record. 

So, which car insurance group is cheapest? A car that belongs to a lower insurance group will cost less to insure, as it is seen as lower risk and cheaper to replace or repair. Conversely, cars in the highest groups cost the most to insure.

How do the groups work?

Cars are assigned to one of 50 car insurance groups. Group 1 cars are the cheapest to insure, while cars in group 50 are the priciest. Cars in higher groups are more likely to cost insurance companies the most in claims, which is why they are the most expensive to insure.

How is the car’s group decided?

Thatcham Research is responsible for overseeing the Group Rating Panel, which places new cars into the appropriate group. When Thatcham assigns cars to groups, it does so on the basis of extensive research. Car insurance companies can use the same groups as Thatcham, or their own underwriters may decide how cars should be classified. Either way, the following factors are commonly used in deciding which group a car should be assigned to.

Damage

The more damage a car is likely to suffer in an accident, the more it will cost to repair. Therefore cars that generally sustain more damage will be placed into higher insurance groups.

Replacement parts

The parts most commonly used in car repairs are compared to calculate this. The price difference according to manufacturer can vary widely, so cheaper parts usually contribute to a vehicle being placed in a lower insurance group.

Repair cost

The Association of British Insurers estimates that repairs account for over half of the total amount car insurers pay out for claims each year, so repair costs have a huge impact on the grouping.

Repair time

Cars that take longer to repair cost insurance companies more money. A car with longer repair times is thus more likely to be placed in a higher insurance group.

New car price

The price of the car when bought brand new is an important factor, as it is generally a reliable guide to the likely costs of repair or replacement of the vehicle.

Performance

Cars that are capable of travelling at faster speeds, and that can accelerate more rapidly, are at a higher risk of an accident. The insurance group placing will thus reflect this increased risk.

Brakes

A car with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is more likely than one without to be put into a lower insurance group. Such vehicles are more protected against low speed, front-to-rear collisions, and the resulting heavy impact that is expensive to repair.

Whiplash

Whiplash is an increasingly common reason for car insurance claims, and therefore effective in-car restraints that can help avoid whiplash injury will mean a car is more likely to be placed in a lower insurance group.

Bumpers

The alignment and structure of a vehicle’s bumpers can mean it qualifies for a lower or higher insurance group placing.

Security

Cars fitted with security features such as immobilisers, high security locks and alarms are more likely to belong to a lower insurance group.

Is my car in a cheap insurance group?

Cars in group 1 are the cheapest to insure, while cars in group 50 are the most expensive. If you want to check your car’s insurance group, you can do so via ‘My Vehicle Search’ on Thatcham’s site, or via some price comparison sites. You could also check with your insurer.

Other related FAQs

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

Backdating car insurance cannot be done under any circumstances. Since it is a criminal offence to do so, you will not find any broker or insurance company who will be able to do this for you.

There are a number of reasons why car insurance quotes can change, such as if you’ve recently changed your address, or for reasons out of your control, like government tax increases.

Insurers generally do not offer the facility to put your car insurance on hold – and cancelling and restarting your car insurance cover rarely makes financial sense. If you’ve got a reason for needing a break in cover, talk to a specialist company who cater for your circumstances – like classic car insurers or student policy providers.

If you make a claim on your car insurance, then yes, the cost of renewing your insurance will go up, unless some other significant factor works in your favour to bring it down.

Unfortunately, making any kind of insurance claim will often increase your renewal premium – even if the accident wasn’t your fault.

Car insurance can go up for a number of reasons – especially if you’ve had an accident or received a fixed penalty in the last year. If you haven’t, you might find you’re just getting a poor deal when your deal automatically renews – so don’t be afraid to shop around until you’ve got a better price.

If you’ve had an accident of any kind, you’ll need to report it to your insurer soon afterwards. When you do, they’ll seek a detailed explanation of what’s happened and assess the damage done to your car. When they have a clear understanding of what’s occurred – and assuming you have fully comprehensive cover, they’ll arrange to repair your vehicle – or pay its market value if it’s written off.

A no claims bonus is a discount that’s applied after your insurance premium is calculated by a car insurance provider. The discount doesn’t stop your premium from going up; instead, it simply gives you a percentage off your premium – and that discount grows with every claim-free motoring year you have.

There are two types of excess – one compulsory, the other voluntary. The compulsory excess that your insurance company sets is the amount you must pay towards any repair done to your vehicle if you cause an accident. The voluntary excess is an optional amount on top of this – which means you’ll pay more towards repairs – but your annual premium price will come down in exchange.

You can be insured to drive a car on a policy in someone else’s name. This can be done by being a named driver on someone else's policy either permanently or for a short period.