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Car Insurance Groups Explained

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What are car insurance groups?

Car insurance groups will have an affect on your insurance premiums so understanding what they mean can help you save money insuring your car. Every car is categorised into an insurance group, which are mainly decided on by the ABI Group Rating System which is administrated by the Association of British Insurers (some insurers will use their own system).

The Group Rating System categorises each car by an insurance group from 1- 50, with vehicles in insurance group 1 being the cheapest to insure on those in group 50 the most expensive. The Group Rating System is also supported by the Thatcham Research group who standardise safety and security checks for vehicles. Insurance groups are a good indicator for both insurance costs and the standard of safety features on a vehicle.

The system is intended to advise insurance companies on the relative risk of private vehicles and to maintain their safety standards. They are decided on by a number of factors that go towards calculating the insurance premium of the car named on the policy. Buying cars in low insurance groups is one way to make your car insurance cheaper.

How are cars grouped for insurance?

  • Vehicle Valuation

    The price of the car is taken into consideration and the level of cost settlement in the event the car is written off. Specification and trim effect the insurance group of a vehicle too. So can the type of vehicle. A £45000 sports car is more than likely to be placed in a higher insurance group that an estate car of the same value because the insurer assumes it will be driven in a certain way.

  • Cost of repair

    The Group Rating System uses a globally recognised standard 15 km/h crash impact test to assess the repair times and cost of a vehicle. Results are then logged in the Thatcham Times System (TTS) database and used for estimating accident damages, repair times and part costs for insurance purposes.


    According to the Association of British Insurers, over half of all money paid out for motor insurance claims cover the cost of repairing a vehicle.

  • Vehicle performance

    Performance tests measure the acceleration of the vehicle between 0 - 60mph and its top speed. The more powerful a vehicle is the higher its insurance group will be.

  • Safety features

    Vehicles with factory fitted autonomous breaking systems and other safety features as standard will warrant a lower insurance group as they will be less likely to be involved in a road collision.

  • Cost of spare parts

    A standard list of 23 common vehicle parts is used to compare the cost and availability of parts from manufacturers. A car that is cheaper and quicker to repair will fall into lower insurance bands.

  • Vehicle security

    The security features on the vehicle that prevent crime will be taken into account. Cars with a factory fitted immobiliser and high security door and boot locks will pose less of a risk to insurers.

  • Bumper compatibility

    Cars which have bumpers compatible with the criteria of the ABI's Group Rating System will be categorised in lower insurance groups.



What do the letters mean in car insurance groups?

The insurance group of a car will be listed as a number and a letter (i.e 8E). The letter refers to the level of security features fitted as standard on the vehicle. Security requirements increase as the insurance group increases, so the higher the insurance group the better the security needs to be.

There are 6 letters applied to car insurance groups. Here is what they mean:

A. The car meets all security requirements for its group.

D. The car doesn't meet the requirements for its insurance group and has therefore been placed in a higher insurance group.

E. The car has exceeded security requirements for its group and has therefore been placed in a lower insurance group.

P. Data for the car is only provisional. P is used when the data used by the rating system was incomplete when the car was launched.

U. The car has unacceptable levels of security. The car will still be insured but your insurer may ask for security features to be added or upgraded.

G. The car has been imported. Two groups are used for imported vehicles: Parallel imports and grey imports.

Find cars in low insurance groups


Looking to buy a car that's cheap to insure? Check out the latest models from the likes of Ford and Renault in insurance groups 1 - 10.


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