Insurance is one of the main costs of running a car and can vary widely depending on your age, the type of car you drive and where you live. However, one of the main factors that insurance companies consider when calculating your premium (how much you’ll pay) is your car’s insurance group. Here, we explain what insurance groups are and why they’re important.
What is a car insurance group?
Car insurance groups are a rating system used by the UK insurance industry to help calculate how much your premium will cost. The groups are numbered 1 to 50 – the higher the number, the higher your premium. Cars with a group 1 insurance rating cost the least to insure.
In general small, inexpensive cars are in the lower groups and fast, expensive cars are in the higher groups. Looking at insurance groups can be helpful in deciding which car to buy if you want to keep your insurance costs down – a priority for many, particularly new drivers.
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What insurance group is my car?
None of the documentation that comes with a car, like its V5C registration document or even the insurance certificate your insurer sends you, lists which insurance group the car is in. However, there are plenty of ways you can find out.
Many car retailers, including Cazoo, include insurance groups in the listing for cars they have for sale. There are also a number of online search tools available that tell you which insurance group your car is in – all you need to do is enter its registration number.
How are insurance groups decided?
Before a car goes on sale in the UK, an independent research institute – paid for by the motor industry – gives it an insurance group rating.
The rating is based on a number of factors, including a car’s price when it's new, how fast it can go, how safe it is and how good its security systems are. The cost of 23 common parts is also taken into consideration, as well as how costly and complex it would be to repair after an accident.
Generally speaking, cars in the lower insurance groups cost less to buy, have relatively low-powered engines and are comparatively inexpensive to repair. Cars in higher insurance groups cost more to buy, have a lot more power and are often more difficult and costly to repair.
How are car insurance premiums calculated?
Insurance group ratings are a key factor for car insurance companies to use when calculating your premium but they also consider other things such as your age, your job, where you live, whether you have any points on your driver’s licence and whether you’ve been involved in an accident.
Insurance companies use this information to determine how likely you are to make a claim. New drivers, for instance, are much more likely than experienced drivers to make a claim, and people who drive to work every day are more likely to make a claim than those who work from home. Insurance companies use their assessment of how likely you are to make a claim to calculate your premium.
What are the most cost-effective cars to insure?
Any car in insurance groups 1 to 20 (out of 50) should be relatively inexpensive to insure. If you want to really minimise your costs, though, you need to get a car that’s in group 1.
Whether you’re a young driver looking for your first car or you’re keen to reduce your ownership costs, there are a number of cars that have a group 1 rating and many more that have a group 2 rating that should still keep your premium low.
What are the most expensive cars to insure?
At the top of the insurance scale is group 50. Cars in group 50 are usually high value, high performance and rare. They also tend to be made from materials like aluminium and carbon fibre and have complex electrical systems, which make them difficult and costly to repair.
Luxury cars like Bentleys and Rolls Royces, and supercars like Ferraris and McLarens, are generally in group 50. But if you can afford those cars, you’re probably not particularly concerned about the cost of insurance.
What insurance group includes electric cars?
There’s no hard and fast rule about which insurance groups include electric cars. The usual rules apply, though – a small, inexpensive electric car will be in a lower group than a larger, costlier one.
However, generally speaking, electric cars tend to be in a higher group than a similar petrol or diesel car. That’s because electric cars are still a comparatively new technology and, even though they have fewer mechanical parts than a petrol or diesel car, the cost of maintaining and repairing them over time is more of an unknown.
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