What are car insurance groups?

Last updated September 08, 2021

Every car in the UK belongs to an insurance group, ranging from one to 50. Cars at the lower end of the scale are the cheapest to insure, whilst the higher end of the scale is the most expensive.

Cars in higher insurance groups are generally valued higher and boast top-end performance statistics. Conversely, cars with smaller engines and worse performance stats usually belong to lower insurance groups. If you're looking for a car with low insurance costs, take a look at our guide on the best insurance group 1 cars.

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Why is it important to know your car insurance group?

When purchasing a new car or renewing your car insurance, it’s crucial you know what contributes towards your premium and how to save money. Our handy guide explains how insurance groups are determined and offers some useful tips on reducing the cost of your policy.

How insurance groups are decided?

Insurance industry experts regularly review which cars fall into each category. Using Thatcham data to identify the cars that are likely to cost insurance the most via claims, each car gets a rating between one and 50. The following factors are used to determine which group a car falls into:

Performance

High-performance cars are more of a risk for insurance companies due to more frequent claims. As such, speed, acceleration and power are considered when deciding which group a car should be in.

Price

The car’s value gives an indication of its specifications and potential repair costs for insurance companies. Therefore, if the car has a high list price, the insurance group is generally higher.

Age

Age is a significant factor since young drivers (17-24) are statistically over-represented in reported road accidents. The good news is once you turn 25, your premiums will usually fall, provided you’ve made no claims or obtained a conviction.

Driving history

While your premiums will decrease as you gain road experience, a record of previous claims or driving convictions is likely to see them rise.

Location

Insurers often set higher premiums for drivers living in high crime areas due to the increased risk of theft or vandalism.

Occupation

Certain occupations carry increased risk for insurers, which may be reflected in your insurance premium.

Cost of parts

The panel compares a list of 23 common parts to establish how each manufacturer compares to each other.

Security features

Factory fitted security features can help reduce the number of insurance claims. Cars that include high-performance locks and Thatcham alarms and immobilisers are deemed more secure than those without, which is reflected in the car insurance category.

Safety features

Cars fitted with features such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability controls and tyre pressure monitors reduce the risk for insurers and place a car in a lower insurance group.

Repair times

The longer a car takes to repair, the higher the labour costs – and it’s the customer who will cover the expenses. Typically, cars that stay in the garage for prolonged periods belong to higher insurance categories.

Bumper compatibility

The car’s bumper structure can affect the insurance category if it aligns with the insurer’s criteria.

What are the cheapest cars to insure?

Typically, the cheapest cars to insure are low-specification models with smaller engines and modest list prices. Therefore, you can expect to find cars such as the Ford Ka, Citroen C1 and the Volkswagen Up! in the lower groups.

However, insurance costs vary massively depending on which age bracket you fall into. The data below demonstrates how the cheapest cars to insure for younger drivers differ from those in older age brackets.

Age group Make and model
17-24 Skoda Citigo, Ford Ka+, Vauxhall Adam, Volkswagen Up!, Fiat 500x
50+ MG B, MG F, Ford Escort, BMW Z3, MG TF

Insurance groups for electric cars

Like conventional cars, insurers sort electric cars into groups to categorise the overall risk. These groups are numbered from one to 50, with the lowest being the cheapest to insure.

Despite their rising numbers, electric cars remain specialist vehicles. Therefore, conducting repairs and sourcing parts can be problematic compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts. As a result, electric cars usually belong to higher insurance groups than their standard-fuel equivalents.

How to reduce insurance costs

The best way to reduce your insurance costs is to buy a car in a low insurance category. For example, buying a Volkswagen Polo SE 1.0 65PS 5d in Category 1 will be cheaper to insure than buying a Range Rover Sport 2.7 TDV6 Stormer 5d Auto in Category 40, all other factors remaining equal. If you own a car in a higher insurance category, there are several things you can do to attempt to reduce your insurance premium:

Voluntary excess

Excess is the amount you will pay to the insurance company if you file a claim. If you volunteer to pay a higher excess, the insurance company will pay less for repairs and replacements which may reduce your premiums.

Telematics

Otherwise known as black box insurance, your insurer may fit a device to your car which monitors your driving. This reduces the risk for insurers as it’s deemed drivers are more likely to adhere to road laws.

Annual payment

If you pay annually rather than monthly, insurers will often provide a lower price. This is usually due to no APR being applied to your policy.

No-claims discount

Showing your insurance company that you haven’t claimed within a specified period can lower your premium as your risk is reduced. Each year you don't claim accumulates to calculate the amount of no-claims bonus you receive.

Car storage

Where you store your car overnight and throughout the day can reduce the costs of your insurance policy.

Car security

Additional security features such as immobilisers and trackers can reduce the likelihood of a car being stolen, which reduces the risk for insurers.

Mileage

If you drive fewer miles, you are less likely to be involved in an accident and claim on your insurance. As such, driving less and providing this information to your insurance provider is likely to reduce your risk and premium.