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Car Insurance Groups Explained

Many years ago, insurance groups used to be a common topic of conversation for anyone talking about buying or selling cars. Everyone seemed to have a pretty fair idea of where a car fell in the spectrum and the kind of effect that would have on the amount of money they'd be asked to cough up to insure it. Today, it's not particularly unusual for even people involved in the motor industry to have very little idea of what insurance group a vehicle is likely to fall into, probably because there are now so many more groups than there used to be. Most of us will have a rough idea of how much certain types of vehicles cost to buy, what kind of fuel economy they'll return and what they are capable of, but only young drivers are still as preoccupied with insurance groups as we all used to be.

Even though insurance groups aren't as prominent as they once were, they're just as important as they've ever been in determining how much our annual premiums will be. So, let's take a look at the current insurance group system to see what's what.

There are now no less than 50 different insurance groups, where group one is the least expensive and 50 is the most expensive to insure. The rating assigned to a car depends on a number of different factors, and these groups are based on the Group Rating Panel by Thatcham. The most basic factor in determining the insurance group a vehicle will fall into is the size of its engine, so a small engine will place a vehicle lower in the ratings while bigger, more powerful engines push vehicles upwards through the scale.

Other factors that contribute to insurance groupings include:

If that all sounds like a lot to consider, it does go some way to explaining why there are now so many different insurance groups. But despite the fact there is now so much more that goes into determining accurate and representative insurance groups, it's still only part of the story when it comes to determining how much a certain vehicle will cost you to insure personally. Although going for a model in a low insurance group will reduce the insurance premium you'll be asked to pay, it's still only one part of the equation as your age, driving history, where you live, what you do for a living, your annual mileage and where you park is also taken into consideration.

The rough rule of thumb makes it obvious that something as cheap as a six grand Dacia Sandero or as small as a Toyota Aygo will be in a low insurance group, while something as fast as a Focus RS or as big and expensive as a Range Rover will be towards the other end of the scale. But when it comes to less obvious models such as a 2.0-litre Ford Mondeo or a 1.6-litre Kia c'eed, it pays to do your homework.

13 February 2017

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