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How auto insurance groups affect coverage costs

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Regardless of the make of vehicle you drive, it makes financial sense to keep the cost of your auto insurance down without skimming on the coverage you are paying for.

You probably know what affects the cost of premiums based on factors such as age, occupation, and place of residence. In the eyes of an insurer, your driving history and the annually recorded kilometers also play a role.

Another factor that can affect the cost of your insurance cover is the so-called “insurance group” that your vehicle falls into. Choose a car in a low insurance group and the premiums will very likely be lower than one that is higher on the list.

Here’s a closer look at the role of auto insurance groups when it comes to premium prices.

What is a car insurance group?

Every car registered in the UK is assigned to an insurance group. The groups help insurers categorize the relative risk of the cars on our roads and determine what the car insurance premiums are.

Insurance groups are established by the Association of British Insurers and administered by Thatcham Research. Cars are each assigned to one of 50 groups, so that vehicles with similar characteristics and risk profiles have the same rank. Visit the Thatcham website to find out which group a particular vehicle falls into.

Which factors influence the ranking?

Car brands are divided into a group based on an evaluation of the vehicle. This includes the price of a new car, its performance, the repair costs and the level of safety it offers. Safety aspects are also taken into account, for example whether a car is equipped with autonomous emergency braking.

Thatcham sends the manufacturers a questionnaire for each model asking them for details on costs, performance and power output. In addition, it takes into account the price of some of the most commonly damaged components, such as bumpers and hoods. Thatcham tests models on high and low speed impacts to assess the damage and also to see how expensive repairs are.

The story goes on

How do insurance groups affect the premiums?

Insurance groups from one to 50 help insurers calculate the cost of car insurance premiums. If your car is more “drive through” than “super car”, then expect it to be placed in a lower insurance group with associated lower premiums, since such models are considered to be relatively lower-risk.

Popular models that are less expensive to repair also fall into lower risk categories. Conversely, the premiums are usually higher for more expensive cars whose parts are harder to replace.

In addition, the premiums tend to be more expensive for fast, high-performance engines that are more likely to have an accident.

Common car brands and their typical insurance groups are:

Cars that fall into single-digit groups, such as the Fiat Panda, are cheapest to insure. In contrast, vehicles in the top of the 50s, such as a Range Rover or a Volkswagen Phaeton, will be significantly more expensive to cover.

What about electric cars?

Electric vehicles used to be so rare that they were difficult to insure. But now they are a lot more mainstream and more and more insurance providers are going to offer coverage. Since electric cars are typically less powerful than conventional cars, they can be viewed as less risky.

In theory, this should lower the premiums. At the same time, electric car repairs can be expensive and potentially require specialized mechanics, which drives up premiums. As a rule of thumb, each insurance group depends on the make and model of the vehicle, not the fuel it is running on.

Can I change my car’s insurance group?

No. While it is possible to make it more difficult for thieves to break into your car, for example by adding a Thatcham-approved security device, this does not change anything about the insurance group. That said, if you have your car harder to steal, you can still potentially save money on your insurance premiums.

It is important that you notify your insurer of any changes or modifications to your vehicle. The increase in the performance of your vehicle, for example through the engine, has no influence on the insurance group of your car. But it could still drive up the cost of your coverage.

Informed purchase

The main goal of the insurance grouping system is to help drivers buy a new set of wheels.

In trying to keep costs down, it is a good idea to check if the car you are planning to buy falls into a low insurance group. It is important to choose a vehicle where you can comfortably afford the cost of insurance.

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