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Car insurance groups explained

When you’re shopping around for a new car, what do you look for? Some of you will be thinking about price, others its performance or maybe it could be as simple as “does it have a nice touchscreen?”

It’s unlikely you’ve read that line and thought ‘insurance group’ though. Well, maybe you did if you read the article headline, but the point stands.

The insurance group of your car is something you’re unlikely to think about when buying it, but this is a key factor in how much you’ll pay for your premiums. Is it something to consider a bit more, then? Read on for a full explanation of this often-overlooked detail.

What is an insurance group?

When a new car comes to the market, a panel funded by UK car insurers will determine an insurance group for it.

This is a way to determine how much insurance companies will charge for policies on this car. As a general rule, the lower the insurance group of a car, the lower it will be for you to have insured.

What is the cheapest insurance group?

Groups are numbered anywhere from 1 to 50. The lower the number, the cheaper the car is deemed to be to insure.

For a bit of context, small city cars like the Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 and Volkswagen Up generally come in at the lower end of the scale with the top end reserved for high-performance and luxury cars like the Lamborghini Aventador or Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

It’s not a hard rule though — a high-spec supermini could cost more to insure than a mid-spec saloon.

Groups Example cars
1-10 Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 108, Toyota Aygo
11-20 Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia, Nissan Qashqai
21-30 Ford Fiesta ST, Jaguar E-Pace, BMW 3 Series
31-40 Volkswagen Golf R, Audi Q5, Cupra Leon
41-50 BMW M2, Tesla Model 3, Ferrari 488

How are insurance groups calculated?

It’s not quite as simple as a car arriving on the market and then some insurance boffins throw a dart at a board to work out how much to charge — even though it may feel like that at renewal sometimes.

A number of factors are taken into consideration when determining an insurance group, including (though not restricted to):

  • Damage and parts costs: pretty self-explanatory this one, this is the amount the insurer would have to pay out for the parts and labour of repairing your car.
  • New car values: the more a car costs when new tends to have a direct impact on how much it will be to insure.
  • Performance: if a cheaper car has seriously high performance, like some hot hatchbacks, you may find they fall into a much higher category than more pedestrian versions of the same model line-up.

Do electric cars have different groups?

Electric cars are grouped into the same system as internal combustion-powered cars, so insurance values are calculated the same way.

In general, though, they tend to be grouped higher as they cost more and can be trickier to repair. You can expect this to change as EVs become a more common sight on roads, though.

Can I change my car’s insurance group?

No. Insurance groups are set for cars when they’re new, so you can’t alter it at a later date. You can do some modifications to your car like adding a tracker or alarms that may help bring your premium down, but that’s at the discretion of your insurer — so it’s worth having a chat with them before doing anything to your car.