Something that many British motorists will have known about is the existence of car insurance groups. For those that have never heard of this term before, car insurance groups refer to the categories that most vehicles driven on our roads are placed in by the insurance industry.
But what exactly are car insurance groups used for, why do we have them and how do they affect us? This blog post will talk about this intriguing topic in more detail, helping you to demystify it and become a car insurance group guru!
What are car insurance groups?
In a nutshell, car insurance groups are basically categories that most cars on Britain’s roads are classed under. These categories determine the level of risk a car poses (risk of theft, being driven by its owner in a certain way leading to claims), as well as other information such as car specifications, safety and performance features, and so on.
These car insurance groups are categorised from group one to group fifty. Up until 2010, car insurance groups only went up to group twenty. Some cars might be categorised with a letter after the number, for example “18E”.
These letters are known as security assessment markers, and are used to help encourage car manufacturers to fit decent security systems to the vehicles that they produce. These are the letters that are used (in order of good to bad):
E (excessive) – exceeds security requirements for the type and group of car. So, for example, a car that would have been group 19 can actually be classed as 18E;
A (acceptable) – acceptable levels of security equipment;
P (provisional) – not enough information has been supplied by the car’s manufacturer at the time of launch;
D (mediocre) – doesn’t meet the level of security required, and subsequently puts the car in a higher insurance group. For example, a group 18 car would now be classed as group 19D;
U (unacceptable) – poor levels of security;
G (import) – cannot be rated as the car is not a UK-spec vehicle.
Why do we have car insurance groups?
According to Mike from www.carbase.biz, car insurance groups are used by car insurance companies to help them calculate how much they should be charging you for your insurance premiums.
The group ratings are allocated according to a panel of insurance industry experts in conjunction with Thatcham, the UK’s “motor insurance repair research centre”. Insurance group ratings are only advisory, and car insurance firms do not have to use them when determining car insurance premiums.
What factors affect a car’s insurance group?
The type of security that it contains is obviously one of them, but there are many factors that can also determine how high or low an insurance group is for a particular car. You might have noticed that some cars such as the Citroen C1 have an extremely low insurance group, whereas something more exotic like a Porsche 911 will be at the higher end of the scale.
Factors that influence these ratings often include the likelihood of claims being made for theft or accidental damage, the cost of replacement parts, the type of car it is and so on.