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Car insurance groups explained

Is your car type bumping up the cost of your car insurance?

Why do I need to know about car insurance groups?

The type of car you drive and the group it falls into has a big impact on how much you pay for your insurance. Our guide gives you an overview of how UK car insurance groups work and a list of the cheapest cars to cover.
 

What are insurance groups for cars?

In a nutshell, they are a way of classifying cars based on how much they cost to insure. They're sometimes called car insurance bands, and there are 50 of them in total. Cars in insurance group 1 are the cheapest to insure [i], while cars in group 50 are the most expensive.

The higher groups are usually made up of high-performance cars, like Ferraris, top-of-the-range Jaguars and Porsches. At the lower end, you’ll typically find cars with small engines that produce less than 80 bhp [ii]
 

How are they decided?

Insurance groups for cars are set by the Group Rating Panel, who base their decisions on data from Thatcham Research, the motor insurers' automotive research centre. Some insurers may follow their own ranking, but by and large they all use the same kind of grouping.

To work out which band to put a car into, the Group Rating Panel look at several factors [iii]

  • Repair cost and times: The quicker the repair time and the lower the cost, the lower the group.
  • The price of parts: They compare the cost of 23 common parts from a few different manufacturers.
  • Car performance: The higher the performance, the higher the group. Cars with powerful engines are deemed a greater risk of insurance claims.
  • Safety features: If your car has things like auto emergency braking, this could help to lower the insurance rating.
  • Car security: Features like high security locks, glass etching and immobilisation or alarm systems can help lower its group rating.
  • Bumper compatibility: The alignment and structure of car bumpers is a factor because it can determine how the car reacts in a front to rear accident.
  • New car values: The price of new cars often offer a good indication to the cost of replacement and repair.
     

What insurance group is my car?

It’s easy to do a car insurance group check with Thatcham’s My Vehicle Search.


What are the lowest insurance group cars?

Looking for a car that’ll be cheap to insure? Each year AutoExpress compile a list of the most affordable cars. The cheapest cars to insure in 2022, including a group 1 car, are:

  1. Hyundai i10
  2. Kia Picanto
  3. Kia Rio
  4. Nissan Micra
  5. Renault Clio
  6. SEAT Ibiza


How to reduce car insurance costs

Buying a car in a low insurance group is the most straightforward way. But if you've set your heart on a car in a higher group, don't worry. There are other ways that can help reduce the price of your policy:

  • Improve car security: Enhancing your car’s security with things like immobilisers, alarms and trackers can help you get a discount on your insurance. With many newer cars some of these security measures can be included as standard, so make sure you check and let your insurer know.  
  • Up your voluntary excess: Increase the amount you could affordably contribute if you need to make a claim. Find out more with our guide to car insurance excesses
  • Pay in one go: If you can afford to pay in a lump sum, you can usually avoid paying any interest.
  • Add a named driver: Consider adding a family member with plenty of driving experience and a clean record to your policy.
  • Keep it simple: Take out a policy that only includes the essentials, so no courtesy cars or breakdown cover. Find a balance between lowering costs and having a policy that meets your needs.
  • Add a black box: These are particularly helpful if you’re a new or young driver. It monitors how well you’re driving through a satellite tracker. The steadier you go, the lower your insurance will cost.

With Sainsbury’s Bank Car Insurance, you can tailor your policy to suit your budget and needs. We offer Comprehensive and Third Party, Fire and Theft cover, plus a range of optional extras to choose from.
 

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