Car insurance groups explained

If you're budgeting for a new car, it is a good idea to consider the cost of insurance and factor that into the overall cost of the car.

Most new cars fall into an insurance group which is rated from 1 to 20. This is based on how much of a risk the car is perceived to be by insurance companies. The lower the number, the lower your car insurance premium should be. The insurance group assigned to each car can give you a good idea of what your car insurance is likely to cost.

The groups are decided by the Insurance Group Rating Panel which is made up of members of Association of British Insurers' (ABI) and Lloyds Market Association (LMA)) and they are based on research by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre - Thatcham.

Ratings

These ratings are only for guidance and insurers aren't obliged to follow them even though most insurers will take them into account along with their own records of your claims history and risks when they are determining your car insurance premium.

Knowing the rating of the model of the car you are going to buy gives you a rough idea of the cost of your car insurance.

The insurance group for each particular make and model takes into consideration:

  • Cost of the car (new)
  • The vehicle's performance (image, top speed and 0 to 60mph time)
  • Repair costs to the vehicle, this is after the labour and parts following a standard low-speed (15km/h) impact test
  • The availability and price of the car's body shell
  • Finally, the prices of replacement parts after a more severe collision

Security ratings

Group ratings now take into account standard locks and security features of a car. Security ratings are denoted by letter and shown after the number rating of the car insurance group. Here are the ratings and their meanings.

  • E = Exceeds the security requirement for a car of this type and the group rating has been reduced - so a group 10 car that exceeds the standard is listed as a 9E.
  • A = Acceptable security requirements for the car's group.
  • P = Provisional - incomplete data when the model was launched.
  • D = Doesn't meet the security requirement for a car of this type and the group rating has been increased as a result - so a group 8 car that doesn't meet the standard is listed as a 9D.
  • U = Unacceptable - the level of security is significantly below requirements. The car won't be uninsurable, but some insurers may insist on a security upgrade before they cover you.

Understanding what the group ratings mean gives you the power to make an informed decision on buying a car and how much the ongoing costs like motor insurance will be.

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