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All sorts of factors go into working out your car insurance premium. Things like your age, where you live, what you do for a living, and your driving history affect your car insurance quote. But, so do factors like your car’s make and model. And even what car insurance group it falls into. 

You may have heard the term “insurance groups” thrown around. We’ll forgive you if you’re not 100% sure exactly what it’s all about.

And we’ll tell you all about them too. 

Car insurance groups are basically just a way of classifying cars into different categories based on how expensive and powerful they are. The group that your car is placed in can influence the cost of your insurance premiums.

But let’s take a deeper look at how car insurance groups are used, how they affect your premium, and whether you should base your car-buying decision on your insurance group.

Man with blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

What exactly are insurance groups?

Your car is sorted into one of 50 car insurance groups. If it’s in group one, it’ll typically be cheaper to insure than if it’s in group 50. 

Typically, it’ll cost you more to insure a brand-new BMW than an older Ford. We say “typically” because some cheaper, older cars can actually land in a higher insurance group than a shiny, new car. 

It’s complicated. Like your Facebook relationship status from 2010. Cringe.

All we’re trying to say is that a few factors go into working out your exact car insurance group. As in, it’s not just about age or price tag. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of just a few examples: 

  • How long it would take to repair if it needed repairs – longer repair times mean a higher insurance group. 
  • What security features your car has to prevent things like theft. 
  • How your car performs, i.e. you might think going from 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds is really cool, but, spoiler alert, it isn’t. 
  • How much replacement parts cost; if replacement parts cost more or are a pain to get a hold of, expect to see your precious car climb up an insurance group or five. 

Basically, like we said, it’s not a straightforward calculation.

But who works out which car goes where on this complicated 50-step ladder?

Well, it’s this super secret (not really) panel. They’re literally called the Group Rating Panel because they rate cars and place them in groups. Yup. Original. 

The panel is made up of members from the Association of British Insurers and Lloyds Market Association. So, basically, people who know their stuff, i.e. not Gary from the pub. 

How are insurance groups used?

Your insurer will use your car insurance group to work out whether to offer you a price, and your premium. Whether you’re taking out a temporary car insurance policy or looking for an annual policy, your car insurance group will play a part in the calculation. 

And it can play a pretty significant part too.

So, for instance, if your car falls in groups 11-20, you might pay £560 on average for your annual premium. But, if it falls in groups 41 to 50, your premium is likely to be closer to £934.

Interestingly though, if it falls in groups 1-10, your premium will be closer to an average of £579 because younger drivers tend to buy cheaper cars in those groups.

All this illustrates that while your car insurance group definitely plays a part in your car insurance premium, it’s not necessarily the deciding factor. 

Blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

How do you find out your insurance group?

So now that you know all about car insurance groups, you might be wondering where exactly your car lands. 

Luckily, there are plenty of free tools online where you can work out where your car falls. All you’ll usually need is your car’s registration number. Once you fill that in, your insurance group should pop up. 

Blue car with trees and the sun in the background

Should you choose a car based on its insurance group?

Your car’s insurance group may have some bearing on your overall premiums. If you decide to buy the latest Volvo on the market, you may find it costs more to insure than a more basic car without all the frills, for instance. 

And while being aware of your car’s insurance group is always helpful, it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when it comes to picking your next car.

So many things are taken into account when a car insurer offers you a quote – from how long you’ve held your licence to how much you intend to drive your car to whether you’ve been in an accident just to name a few. Oh, and did we mention “fees”? It’s always worth checking out what it would cost to amend or cancel your policy once you’ve bought it. We take a deep dive into the car insurance fees you might expect to pay in the UK.

Don’t disregard car insurance groups altogether, but make sure you don’t overestimate the influence they have on your premium. Oh, and if you’re interested in lowering your premium, make sure to check out our article on saving money on your car insurance.