Car insurance groups explained

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What Car? Staff
20 Aug 2012 10:17 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

The type of car you drive will have a significant impact on the cost of your insurance.

You'll pay more to insure a Ferrari than a Ford. This is because a Ferrari driver is statistically more likely to make a claim on his or her policy than someone with a Ford, while repairing a Ferrari is also likely to cost an insurer more.

Insurers rate every passenger car built to UK specifications into one of 50 groups, depending on factors including engine size and acceleration speed, and using research conducted by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (Thatcham).

The individuals charged with making the decisions are the industry representatives, including members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), who make up the Group Rating Panel, which meets every month.

The higher the group they place a particular make and model into, the higher the premiums you will pay to insure it.

What factors decide a car's insurance group?
Figures from the ABI show that the cost of repairs accounts for more than half the money paid out in motor insurance claims.

Consequently, a car's insurance group will reflect both the average time it takes to make repairs and the cost of parts.

Performance is also important, with cars that can accelerate quickly and reach high speeds more likely to be placed in high groups due to statistics showing they are more likely to generate costly claims.

The cost of buying the vehicle new will have an impact too, in case an insurer has to pay out for a total loss claim, while the age of the vehicle can sometimes make a difference.

On the plus side, security features, such as immobilisers and/or alarms, could help to pull a car down into a lower group due to the reduced risk of theft.

What group is my car in?
Unsurprisingly, cars in low insurance groups tend to be cheaper, low-specification models with smaller engines.

For example, the Vauxhall Corsa Energy Ecoflex is in Group 2, while the Renault Clio Bizu (75) is classified in Group 8.

Moving up the scale, the VW Golf Bluemotion TDI (105) is in Group 15, and the Audi A3 Quattro S Line TFSI is in Group 30, while cars in the top group, 50, include the Porsche 911.

You can find out exactly which group your vehicle or a car you are considering buying is in by visiting www.thatcham.org, and entering the make, model, engine size and year of your vehicle.

My car is in a high insurance group. Can I cut the cost of cover?
While the group a car is in influences the premiums you will pay, insurers do take other factors into account.

Steps that you can take to cut the cost of cover, even if your vehicle is assigned to a high insurance group, include tightening up your security measures to reduce the risk of it being stolen.

Fitting an approved alarm and immobiliser, such as a Thatcham 1 or Thatcham 2, should reduce your premiums, while keeping your car in a locked garage will help to protect it from thieves and vandals.

More than 50% of vehicle thefts occur at night, so even if you do not have access to a garage, parking it on a driveway rather than the street overnight should also have a positive impact.

The quotes you receive should also be lower if you are prepared to limit your mileage as the fewer miles you cover, the less likely you are to be involved in an accident.

Other money-saving tips include considering increasing your excess the amount you pay towards any claim and building up a no-claims discount, which could halve your premiums after five years.

Finally, remember that loyalty does not pay when it comes to motor cover (especially as you can usually take your no claims discount with you if you switch).

To minimise your costs, it is therefore crucial to shop around for the best possible deal rather than simply accepting your renewal quote.

Peter Harrison, head of car insurance at MoneySupermarket.com, said: 'The average saving using MoneySupermarket is 375, so it is well worth using the website to do some research.'

This article has been researched and written by whatcar.com's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket