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