How car insurance groups affect car insurance premiums
If you're looking to save money and get a cheaper car insurance premium, it's worth thinking about how the insurance group your car is in affects your car insurance premium. Cars in lower insurance groups attract a lower premium, so it's worth understanding how insurance groups work.
The panel assign cars to one of twenty groups. Cars in the highest groups, typically high performance models, are those which are likely to cost insurers the most in insurance claims.
Insurers may use the panel recommendations in their calculation of car insurance premiums but, as these groupings are provided as a recommendation only, they may choose to use their own groupings. Thatcham have recently introduced a new set of fifty groups, which they are using alongside the existing twenty groups in testing new cars. The move to fifty groups means that each model of car can be more accurately banded with similar cars. Some insurers are now using fifty groups in their premium calculations.
According to the ABI, the cost of motor vehicle repairs accounts for over half of all the money paid out in motor insurance claims, so it's no surprise that repair costs feature strongly in how the groups are defined.
Based on their research, Thatcham define the factors used to assess new cars as follows:
Damage and parts costs
This covers the likely extent of damage to each car model and the cost of the parts involved in its repair. The lower these costs, the more likelihood there is of a lower group rating.
Repair costs and times
Longer repair times mean higher costs and the greater likelihood of a higher group rating. Different paint finishes on modern cars are an important factor, so these are also taken into account.
New car values
The prices of new cars are taken into account, as they are often a good guide to the cost of replacement and repair.
A standard list of 23 common parts is used to compare the cost of parts from one manufacturer with those from another. The lower these costs, the more likelihood there is of a lower group rating.
Acceleration and top speed are important factors. Insurers know very well, from their claims statistics, that high performance cars often result in more frequent insurance claims.
Security features fitted as standard equipment by motor manufacturers can help to reduce insurance claims costs. Such features include high security door locks, alarm / immobilisation systems, glass etching, coded audio equipment, locking devices for alloy wheels and visible Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) numbers.