Insurance groups explained: why lower groups don't (always) mean lower prices

Insurance groups explained: why lower groups don't (always) mean lower prices

There are lots of things that affect the price of your car insurance. One of the big ones is the “insurance group” that your car falls into.

How insurance groups work

Every car in the UK is added to an “insurance group”.

The insurance group of your car is one of the things insurers look at when working out the price of your car insurance policy.

The higher the car insurance group, the more it adds to the price of your car insurance. That’s the general rule.

Insurance groups start at 1 and go all the way up to 50.

Vans are also put into insurance groups. Since 2016, the highest van insurance group has been 30. Before that, it was 20.

How insurance groups are decided

There’s more to figuring out car insurance groups than just the value of your car. It’s based on a lot of different things. 

The standard car insurance groupings are based on insurance group ratings from a company called Thatcham. Every time a car is released in the UK, one of the cars has to be sent to Thatcham. 

They then spend all day crashing those cars and seeing what happens to them. Think crash test dummies.

Off the back of all that crashing, they come up with the car insurance groups. And for the most part, that’s what insurer’s use. But different insurers might also have their own ways of working out car insurance groups.

It’s usually based on things like:

How much your car is worth new. Newer, more valuable cars tend to go into higher insurance groups.

The cost of repairing any damage to the car.

How long it takes to repair the car.

The cost and availability of parts for that car.

Speed and power of the car. People tend to make more insurance claims on faster, more powerful cars. So high-performance cars usually go into higher insurance groups.

Safety features. The more safety features a car has, the less likely someone will get hurt if that car is involved in a crash. Which means insurers are less likely to have to pay out lots of money. So those cars tend to go in a lower insurance group.

How van insurance groups are decided

Van insurance groups are worked out in pretty much the same way. But insurers also tend to look at:

The weight of the van.

Security features. If you’re insuring a van for business, you can often get a lower car insurance premium if your van has plenty of built-in security features.

How your car’s insurance group affects the price of your car insurance

In theory, cars in higher insurance groups are more expensive to insure than cars in lower insurance groups.

But in practice, that’s not always the case.

And that’s because the insurance group of the car is only one thing insurers look at when working out the price of your car insurance.

They also look at things like your:

And the way people with a similar “profile” to you drive different kinds of cars will affect how much you have to pay to get insured on the same car.

It sounds complicated. And that’s because, most of the time, it is. Let’s look at an example.

You’re 25. You’re trying to decide whether to buy car model A or car model B. To help you make your decision, you’re looking at which one will be cheaper to insure.

Car model A is in insurance group 10. Car model B is in insurance group 20.

You’d think that would make car model A cheaper to insure.

But, based on your insurer’s data, 25-year-olds tend to make a lot more claims on car model A than they do on car model B. So even though car model B is in a higher insurance group, it will be more expensive than car model A. 

And it’s because of how people like you tend to drive those cars.

The best way to find out how your car’s insurance group affects your premium is to get a few dummy quotes. That way you’ll be taking into account all the things that can change the price of your insurance.