Car insurance groups explained

Last updated by on July 7th, 2022 and verified by The Parkers Team

The role of car insurance groups

Car insurance groups have evolved dramatically since they first appeared. Originally, the groups were an internal thing for insurance companies to work out the risk of your car, but once they became public knowledge, they also became a sales point for the cars. Even then, they can be something of a mystery, particularly as some insurers still use their own internal grouping system.

Why you should know what insurance group your car is in

Your car’s insurance group can affect the amount of money you have to spend on your car insurance policy; so it is definitely worth knowing which insurance group your car sits in and which groups are cheapest to insure.

Take a look at our FAQs below to find out everything you need to know about car insurance groups.

You can also browse our guides on the lowest three insurance groups:

Car insurance group FAQs

How do car insurance groups work?

Car insurance groups help insurers calculate how much your car insurance should cost – but they are only a guideline established when the car is first designed. Underwriters (the experts that work out the risk and cost of claims) may identify trends with a particular car, and its insurance could be higher or lower than the group suggests. If a car in a higher grouping appeals to you, it’s still worth getting an insurance quote.

There are 50 car insurance groups and the higher the group, the more expensive the car is to insure.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) gets 70 per cent of the information it uses to determine insurance groups from Thatcham Research, an automotive research centre.

Find out more about how car insurance is calculated here.

What does Thatcham Research analyse?

Thatcham uses a 15km/h impact test before its engineers determine the costs and time involved in returning the car to its pre-accident condition.

Thatcham will also look at the car’s new model price in the event of a total loss claim, its performance from 0-60mph and top speed, along with standard security levels.

The last test is a parts pricing one where the cost of replacements of a standard list of 23 parts (the most commonly damaged in accidents) is calculated.

All this is collated before the Group Rating Panel assigns the new car an insurance group based on its findings.

Cars are also assigned letters which indicate the security and anti-theft performance. You will almost always see an E for this, meaning in exceeds requirements and has been placed in a lower group as a result, but you may find some specialist cars with an A or U. A means the security is acceptable, and U means it is unacceptable and the car has been placed in a higher group.

What insurance group is my car?

You can find out your car insurance group by looking at specifications, checking the brochure or asking your dealer.

The cheapest car insurance groups are one to five, though many cars in groups up to 15E may be surprisingly affordable for young drivers if they are safe and not sporty. For older drivers, the insurance group may be less of a concern than where you live and if you keep the car parked on the road.

Do all insurers use insurance groups?

Not all insurers use the insurance groups that are decided on by the Group Rating Panel but they will use their own version of the rating system. Some insurers may use as many as 100 groups internally, and they don’t always correlate with the published rating.

Vans also have insurance groups, though insuring a van for private use has other risk factors such as the type of cargo you are carrying.

Find out more about van insurance groups here.

Why do insurers use an insurance group rating?

An insurance group rating makes it easier for your insurer to determine how much your vehicle will cost to insure.

The test by Thatcham tell the Group Rating Panel how much it will cost to replace or repair your car in the event of an accident as well as looking at performance factors that could increase the chances of theft or of an accident.

But an insurance group looks only at your car, not the person driving it, so while your car could be in a low and affordable insurance group, your insurance could still be expensive.

What else impacts my car insurance?

Insurance groups look just at your vehicle, not where they park, where they’re driven or who is driving them.

That means that while they impact the cost of your insurance premium, they are not the only factor at play.

You can read our guide on how car insurance is calculated if you want to know the ins and outs.

While we can’t help you with the insurance group of your car, that is what it is, we can help you find an insurance quote that’s right for you and your wallet – compare insurance quotes with over 50 providers either online or over the phone.

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We are experts in insurance comparison, dedicated to helping you compare quotes online quickly and easily.

We search quotes from some of the UK’s leading insurance providers to help you find the right policy for you at a price to suit your budget.

Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at some of our car insurance comparison reviews.

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