Price reductions on selected cars, from £250 - £1000 off

skip to main contentskip to footer

What are insurance groups for cars? The full guide

Insurance groups for cars have an impact on how much you're going to pay. Find out how car insurance groups work in our guide

article hero

How do car insurance groups work?

Like paying your mortgage or brushing your teeth, insuring your car is an unavoidable necessity. That's why knowing what a car insurance group is can be handy.

Knowing the insurance group of a car before you purchase can give you an idea of just how much it will cost to cover your vehicle.

What are insurance groups?

Cars are placed in insurance groups, also known as insurance bands, to help decide the cost of insurance. The lower the number, the cheaper a vehicle is usually to insure.

The insurance groups are set by members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Lloyds Market Association (LMA) in what's known as the Group Rating Panel, based on information provided by Thatcham Research.

How many insurance groups are there?

There are fifty car insurance groups that vehicles can potentially be placed in.

The number of groups has grown over the years. It wasn't until 2009 that the original 20 groups were expanded to the current 50. This was done to allow for more accurate ratings.

Insurance group numbers - what do they mean?

The 50 car insurance groups show the level of risk the insurance company sees. The lowest-risk cars are graded at the lower end of the scale, so these are given smaller numbers.

High-risk cars are then placed further up the scale, at higher numbers. These numbers are just a guideline and insurance providers don't actually have to stick to them.

For the most part, picking a car with a low insurance group is a good indicator that it won't be too pricey to insure.

What do the letters mean in car insurance groups?

You might see letters alongside the car insurance group number - these refer to the security features of the car. Cars in the highest insurance group will usually have the best security features.

There are six letters that can be used alongside insurance groups:

  • E - the car has gone over the security requirement for the insurance group and has been placed in a lower group as a result

  • A - the car meets all the security requirements for its insurance group

  • P - some cars were given a 'P' rating as the rating system wasn't finished when the car was released

  • D - the car doesn't match the security requirements for the group and has been placed in a higher insurance group

  • U - some cars are given a 'U' as the level of security is unacceptable and insurers might insist that features are upgraded

  • G - awarded to import vehicles that don't carry a standard rating

Which are the cheapest cars to insure?

Broadly speaking, safe new city cars such as the Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10 are some of the cheapest vehicles to insure, while luxury high-performance cars from manufacturers such as Porsche, Aston Martin, McLaren and Bentley are at the expensive end of the spectrum.

Anything that lets you drive like a loon or is attractive to car thieves will cost more to insure, while cars on the lower end of the insurance group scale are the cheapest.

However, it’s worth remembering that personal factors can be just as important as insurance groups.

So, an accident-free, experienced BMW driver with a healthy no-claims bonus, living in a low-crime area, might pay a lower premium than a younger person driving a city car in a town suburb.

What factors are considered when determining a car’s insurance group?

  • Price: the price of the car when new is used as an indication of how much it will cost the insurer to replace if it’s written off or stolen.

  • Safety: a vehicle's safety is important too. Cars that perform better in Thatcham Research/Euro NCAP crash tests, and are fitted with advanced systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), are considered less of a risk.

  • Cost: the replacement cost of 23 of the most common components and body panels is considered, should a car need repairing. The lower the cost of the parts, the lower the car insurance group will be. 

  • Speed: performance cars which have a higher top speed and lower 0-60mph times are more likely to be involved in insurance claims (and can often be more expensive to repair), so tend to fall into higher groups.

  • Time: the time it would take to repair the car is factored in – the longer the time, the higher the insurance group.

  • Security: cars that have built-in security features such as alarms and immobilisers, locking devices for alloy wheels and visible VIN numbers are considered a lower risk. The security rating of a car is denoted by letters ranging from E (Exceeds), A, P, D, and down to U (Unacceptable).

What insurance group is my car?

You can find out the insurance group of most cars easily. The websites of many big insurance providers and price comparison sites feature insurance group checker online tools.

MoneySuperMarket has one of the simplest, you just enter a car registration number, but there are many others available.

The biggest-selling cars currently on UK roads broadly reflect the most common insurance groups.

Superminis such as the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo are the most popular, followed by mid-size hatchbacks including the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, then larger family cars (eg Ford Mondeo, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Vauxhall Insignia), while SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage are catching up fast.

What insurance groups do electric cars fit into?

Electric cars are awarded an insurance group just like every other vehicle. As of right now, it's likely that they'll be on the higher end of the scale.

Electric cars can be more expensive to insure as they're less common and considered a specialist type of vehicle. Because of this, they can be more difficult to carry out repairs on or find replacement parts.

This isn't always the case and there are plenty of experts out there who can easily work on your electric vehicle, but it's worth considering when it comes to insurance.

Difference in insurance group prices  

There are so many factors that impact the insurance group your car sits in and the overall cost. It's a good idea to check insurance groups before you purchase a car, and you can also get a quote from your insurance provider to compare costs.

Usually, higher insurance group cars are the most expensive to insure.

In some cases, insurers will have data on the types and amounts of claims that certain drivers make on each vehicle. Because of this, you might find that a higher insurance group car can be less expensive to insure for some motorists.

How to save money on insurance

Choosing a car with a lower insurance group is just one way of cutting your annual premiums.

Here are a few other cost-saving measures you could also consider:

  • Limit your annual mileage

  • Use a comparison site to shop around before renewal

  • Pay annually – monthly direct debits are more expensive

  • Improve security – add an immobiliser and locking wheel-nuts

  • Check whether insuring your home too as part of a package makes it cheaper overall

  • Take an advanced driving course

  • Switch to a telematics (black box) policy. Technology is installed in your car to monitor your driving and it’s beneficial to new and young drivers especially

  • Build up your no-claims bonus discount

  • Consider increasing your voluntary excess (the amount you pay if a claim is made). You may pay more when you make a claim but the premium should also come down.

A banner reading 'Top tips, faff free. Sign up for reviews, advice and more'

Learn more: