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Car insurance groups: prices, letters and examples

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Cost, mileage, tax. All sensible things to check before buying a vehicle. But what about insurance group? Every new car registered in the UK is classified into one of 50 car insurance groups. This helps providers determine the level of car insurance cover required for each vehicle, and in turn how much you pay for your policy.

If you are wondering what insurance group your car is in, or are looking to buy a new vehicle and want to know whether it’ll prevent you from getting cheap car insurance, you can use our car insurance group guide to get an idea.

Why are car insurance groups important?

The insurance group of your car plays an important part in determining how much your cover will cost. Car insurance groups in the UK are numbered from 1 to 50, with Group 1 cars the cheapest to insure, and Group 50 the most expensive. So the higher your insurance group, the higher your premium will be. 

This means it is always worth checking the car insurance group of any vehicle before buying it, to make sure that your insurance costs aren’t going to suddenly shoot up without you knowing. 

What do the car insurance group letters mean?

A car won’t only be in a numbered insurance group. It will also have a letter attached to that number, to reflect the safety and security of the vehicle.

The available letters, and what they mean, are as follows:

  • A: if a car has an A rating, this means it meets the security requirements for the group it is listed in. So Group 7A would mean that the car has all the security requirements expected of a vehicle in Group 7
  • D: if a car has a D next to its group number, it means it didn’t meet the security requirements for its original group, and has been moved to a higher band. For example, Group 30D would mean that a car that fits the description of a Group 29 vehicle failed to meet that group’s security standards
  • E: an E rating is the opposite of a D rating. If a car exceeds the security requirements of its group, it will be moved to a lower band. So, a car labelled Group 11E means it was in Group 12, but its security features were strong enough for it to be placed in a cheaper group
  • G: this simply means a car was imported, and doesn’t have an official security rating, as Group Ratings only apply to vehicles built for the UK market
  • P: this stands for provisional, and means there wasn’t enough data available when the car was launched to give it one of the standard ratings
  • U: this means the car’s security features have been found unacceptable. You’ll still be able to insure the car, but you may find it harder to get cover, and providers may insist you install certain security features
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What insurance group is my car?

If you want to check your car’s insurance group, you can use one of the many checkers available online. To do so, you’ll likely need the following information:

  • Number plate (if it is a car you already own)
  • Make
  • Range
  • Model
  • Year of registration
  • Number of doors
  • Fuel type
  • Transmission type

Car insurance group prices table

The car insurance groups, some typical makes and models within them and the range of annual average premiums are shown in the car insurance group prices table below:

Group Who is the car for? Examples Average premiums
Group 1 These are usually smaller, less expensive vehicles. Since these are among the cheapest cars to insure, they are worth considering if you’re a new or young driver. Volkswagen Polo Hatchback, Hyundai i10, Skoda Fabia Hatchback, Nissan Micra, Ford KA+, Smart Forfour, Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback £350 to £550
Groups 2 to 5 While not as cheap as Group 1, cars in Groups 2 to 5 can still be a good option for people looking to keep the cost of their car insurance down. Fiat Panda 4×4, Ford Fiesta Hatchback, Chevrolet Spark, Kia Picanto, Peugeot 107, Nissan Pixo, Dacia Duster £400 to £600
Groups 6 to 10 If you want to keep your premium on the lower side, but need a slightly bigger car, you could look for something in Groups 6 to 10. Ford Focus, Honda Civic Hatchback, Chrysler Ypsilon, Citroen Saxo, Hyundai Amica, Audi A1 Hatchback, Alfa Romeo Mito £400 to £600
Groups 11 to 20 If you want to keep an eye on the cost of your car insurance, but don’t necessarily want to sacrifice performance, a car in Groups 11 to 15 may be appropriate. Mazda 2, Peugeot 2008, Toyota Prius, BMW 1 Series, Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon, Audi A3 £500 to £800
Groups 21 to 30 These are normally viewed as the mid-range car insurance groups. They provide a balance between size and speed on one hand, and the price of your premium on the other. Suzuki Swift, Citroen C3, Vauxhall Astra, Kia Soul, Nissan Leaf, Ford Kuga, Skoda Octavia £600 to £900
Groups 31 to 40 Cars in these groups will normally produce above-average car insurance quotes. This could be because they are more expensive models, or have parts that are more difficult to replace if damaged. Audi A4, Mazda MX-5, Mercedes-Benz CLK, Volvo S60, BMW X5, Land Rover Defender, Mitsubishi Outlander £700 to £1,000
Groups 41 to 50 These groups are for the most powerful, prestigious and expensive cars, from top-spec SUVs to luxury sports cars. Porsche 718 Cayman, Ford Mustang, Bentley Bentayga, Subaru Impreza, Audi TT Roadster, Honda Legend Saloon, Lotus Evora £800 to £1,200

How are car insurance groups calculated?

Car insurance groups are calculated using the Group Rating System administered by Thatcham Research. The system includes a group rating panel comprising members of the Association of British Insurers and the Lloyd’s Market Association.

The panel meets monthly to classify new car models into appropriate insurance groups based on data supplied by Thatcham Research. A range of features is taken into consideration when making these decisions. These features include the following:

  • Vehicle performance: this includes the top speed and acceleration. Higher-performance cars will be placed in a higher group due to the higher risk of damage in an accident
  • Vehicle engine power: as a rule of thumb, the more powerful the car, the higher the group. This is due to the increased risk of severe damage in a collision
  • Vehicle cost: insurers use the cost of the vehicle when new as a good indicator of the cost of repairs and the value of any potential insurance claim
  • Vehicle safety features: any features that minimise the damage to other vehicles and individuals will reduce the size of any insurance claim. Cars with safety features tend to be classified in the cheapest insurance groups. Such features include airbags, automatic emergency braking, an anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control, adaptive headlights and traction control
  • Vehicle security features: theft is one of the main reasons for an insurance claim. Effective built-in security features, such as high-security door locks, alarm systems or immobilisation systems, will significantly increase the chances of a vehicle being classified in a lower insurance group
  • Vehicle repair costs: Thatcham performs a series of crash tests where engineers determine the cost of parts and labour to repair the car. They also use a list of the 23 most commonly damaged parts for their pricing analysis
  • Vehicle repair times: repairs that take longer to repair will cost more. A vehicle with long repair times is more likely to end up in a higher insurance group
  • Bumper design: the structure and alignment of a vehicle’s front and rear bumper significantly impact the amount of damage it can sustain in a collision
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Factors besides insurance group that affect the cost of your premium

In addition to checking your car insurance group, providers use various factors to determine the cost of your insurance premiums. 

Personal information

Your personal information plays a huge part in deciding your final car insurance premium:

  • Age: put simply, the younger you are, the more you are going to pay for car insurance. This is because, statistically, drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to be in an accident, and on average bring forward more expensive claims. Premiums do start to creep up for drivers over 70, but they are unlikely to hit the same levels as seen by younger drivers
  • Job title: due to the sheer amount of data providers have, some occupations are classed as riskier than others. For example, servers and bar staff who may be driving back later at night after a long shift, might find their premium is more expensive than a teacher or secretary
  • Relationship status: if you are married, your car insurance will likely be cheaper than if you were single. This is because married drivers are seen as lower-risk, as statistically they make fewer claims 
  • Credit score: if you have a poor credit history, you’re more likely to pay more for your car insurance than someone with a good credit history, all things being equal. Part of the reason is that car insurance is treated like any other financial product, and someone with bad credit is more likely to miss their payments, or bring forward a claim

Location

Where you live is a key risk factor for insurance providers when they calculate the cost of a premium. This is because most drivers use and park their cars near their homes.

Therefore, insurers will use the postcode when deciding on how much of a risk the driver is to insure. The level of risk will depend on the following:

  • Population density: car owners in built-up urban areas tend to pay higher premiums than those in the suburbs or the countryside. This is because the number of thefts and car accidents is often higher in more densely populated areas
  • Traffic density and trends: the more vehicles are on the road, the higher the risk of accidents and insurance claims. Also, insurance providers will check for the presence of traffic systems, which pose an increased risk. These include roundabouts, crossroads and cycle lanes
  • Number of accidents: insurance providers will look at the number of claims made in your area and use this to assess the risk for drivers living there
  • Crime rates: unsurprisingly, drivers living in areas with high crime rates will tend to pay more for car insurance. In particular, high instances of theft and vandalism will increase premiums
  • Uninsured drivers: unfortunately, drivers living in an area with many uninsured drivers could pay more for car insurance. An increased risk of an accident with an uninsured driver could result in a large insurance claim, even if the insured driver is not at fault
  • Number of fraudulent claims: a high number of fraudulent claims in a specific area could be an indication of an ongoing trend

Driving history and habits

Your driving record could make a big difference in the cost of your insurance. Providers will check for penalty points, suspensions, convictions and previous insurance claims. Evidence of irresponsible driving could increase the price of your premium and, in more serious cases, lead to a rejection of your application.

Similarly, how much you drive in a year can reduce or increase the cost of your insurance. Cars with a high annual mileage spend more time on the road than those with a lower mileage and are therefore at higher risk of being involved in an accident. So, the lower the mileage, the lower the insurance premium.

In fact, some insurance providers offer specialist low-mileage insurance policies. If your mileage is less than the average 7,400 miles a year, these are worth looking into.

Insurance policy

Generally, you can choose from three insurance levels, which vary in terms of coverage and cost.

Individual insurance policies can differ, so it’s worth checking with the insurance providers if you want car insurance. The basic definitions of the three levels are outlined below:

  • Third party: this is the most basic level of insurance and the cheapest option. It’s also the legal minimum requirement. With third party insurance, you’re covered for damage to someone else’s vehicle or property or injury to someone else in the event of an accident
  • Third party, fire and theft: f you take out third party, fire and theft insurance, you’ll be covered for third party liabilities, as well as damage or loss of your car due to fire or theft
  • Fully comprehensive: this offers the highest level of insurance that you can have and can be the most expensive option. If you take out comprehensive insurance, you’ll have all the cover provided by the other levels, as well as the ability to claim if your car is in a motor accident. Comprehensive insurance is also more likely to include extra benefits, such as personal belongings, replacement locks and keys, medical expenses, and courtesy car cover

On top of the cover itself, the make-up of your policy will also inform the cost:

  • Voluntary excess: the more you choose to pay as a voluntary excess, the cheaper your insurance will be. However, only choose a voluntary excess you can realistically afford to pay alongside your policy’s compulsory excess
  • Optional extras: the more add-ons, such as motor legal protection and breakdown cover, you include in your policy, the more it’ll cost
  • Your no-claims discount: the longer you’ve built-up your no-claims bonus, the cheaper your premium will be
  • Payment method: if you can afford to, paying annually rather than monthly will make your car insurance cheaper
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Frequently asked questions about car insurance groups

Electric vehicles (EVs) are assessed and placed into insurance groups like any other new cars in the UK. There’s no specific insurance group for EVs since they vary in performance, power, engine size, design and cost.

However, it’s important to note that electric car models are relatively new and are not commonly available. The cost of repairs and replacement parts tends to be higher for EVs than their standard fuel counterparts. Owners of EVs may need a specialist mechanic to undertake repairs. Therefore, an EV may be in a higher insurance group than its standard fuel equivalent.

Insurance groups are based on the model of the car, as well as the age. So you could have the same range of cars appear in different insurance groups, depending on the specific features of a given model.

For example, the Ford Focus Active Hatchback has makes ranging from Group 14 to Group 19.

If you know what insurance group your car is in, you will understand how significantly this influences your car insurance. It also helps you anticipate ongoing repair costs, as cars in lower insurance groups tend to be cheaper to maintain.

In addition, it’s worth knowing your insurance group if you’re considering trading down from your existing car. This knowledge can help you significantly reduce your insurance premiums and running costs.

Insurance groups are determined when a car is new and cannot be altered later. However, when determining your premium, insurance providers will consider your car’s age, condition and insurance group.

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.