What are car insurance groups?

Car insurance groups are the classifications that Great Britain uses to determine auto insurance rates. In the United States, each insurance company uses its own process to establish rates, and you won’t see any auto insurance groups. Rather, drivers are classified into a risk-class that will determine the price of their premiums.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Insurance Writer Tonya Sisler

Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Apr 15, 2022

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Car insurance groups are the classifications that Great Britain uses to determine auto insurance rates. In the United States, each insurance company uses their own actuarial process to establish what each driver will pay for car insurance premiums. It is more standardized in Britain in that each insurance company uses the same classification process.

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There are a number of things that are considered when placing a vehicle in a particular group class. There are four different levels of groups from the lowest and cheapest to the highest and most expensive to insure. Different models of the same vehicle make may fall into different categories, as the specifications may differ quite a bit.

Car Insurance Group Ratings

In the past, Great Britain had used a rating system based off 20 different groupings, which at times made it difficult to accurately place a vehicle in an insurance classification because it was too narrow. In January of 2010, the rating system was changed.

In January 2012, 30 more groupings were added to the previous 20 to result in 50 total groupings. This has seemed to help figure out the correct group for more specialized vehicles. The different specifications are partly determined by results from the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre.

Thatcham is an organization that is non-profit and conducts extensive research in the areas of motor repair and insurance. This research helps to improve the security and safety of vehicles as well as give the insurance industry an idea of how much it may cost to repair particular vehicles. This information is invaluable in helping insurance companies rate vehicles.

Although the number of groupings increased, the number of group levels stayed at four. This means that there are just more groupings within each classification. In general, if you are in a group that roughly doubled in size, you will probably not see much of a change in your premiums.

If your group has grown substantially, you may be paying more for your car insurance, and if it only grew a little then your rates are probably lower.

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Factors that Decide Car Insurance Classifications

The insurance system in Great Britain uses a number of factors to decide how to rate a car in terms of insurance. Much of its insurance rating system is based off the specifications of the vehicle itself, rather than the person driving the vehicle.

Because the costs of repairs make up the bulk of insurance costs, this is a big factor. When rating a particular vehicle, the repair costs are taken into heavy consideration. This includes how easy or difficult it is to find parts, how much the parts cost, and how long it may take to make the actual repairs.

Things that you may not think about, such as the type and number of paint finishes, will also affect the classification. The frame of the car also affects the insurance group classification, as some body shells are more available and easier to replace in the event of an accident and vehicular damage.

How fast the vehicle can go, the engine size, and its power are determinants for ratings. If you have a fast car that has a lot of power, you will be in a higher classification than a low powered car that is fuel-efficient. Insurance companies know that, in general, high performance cars statistically result in more frequent and more expensive insurance claims.

A car that is more likely to be stolen will be placed in a higher classification group.

This includes glamorous, fast, and expensive vehicles. There are certain security features that will place a vehicle in a lower category. These include visible VIN numbers, locking devices for wheels, glass etching, door locks that are high security, coded audio equipment, and immobilization and alarm systems.

In the United States, insurance companies base insurance premiums off similar factors, as well as other things. Where you live can make a big difference in what you pay for car insurance. This refers not only to which neighborhood you live in but also to which state. To find out how your state rates compare to other states, contact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and click on your state.

The amount of risk that you, as the driver, and your vehicle pose is the biggest determinant that an insurance company will base your premium on. If you have a poor driving history and/or a bad credit score, you will pay more for insurance.

The safety of your vehicle is important in terms of insurance rates. A vehicle that has a higher safety rating will result in lower premiums. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists the safety ratings of various vehicles.

Lowest Group Classification

In Great Britain, if your car falls into the classification that is considered the lowest group, you will pay the least for car insurance. This group is meant for vehicles that have high safety ratings, low repair costs, and are generally at lower risks for accidents and other incidents.

Cars in the lowest group category tend to be smaller and lighter cars. Some examples include Ford Focus, Toyota Yaris, Fiat Punto, Nissan Micra, Vauxhall Corsa, and Volkswagen Polo.

Mid-Range Group Classification

Smaller vehicles that have more power and family size sedans usually fall into the middle-range category. The repair costs and overall values are regarded as average compared to other vehicles. Vehicles in this group may include the Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Passat, Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion TDI, Audi A3, and Ford Fiesta.

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High-Range Group Classification

The vehicles that fall into the high range category tend to present a higher risk to the insurance companies. They are powerful vehicles and tend to be higher end. They tend to be more expensive to repair and may even need repair techniques that are more specialized. Vehicle examples of the high range usually include Jaguars, BMW 3 series, BMW 5 series, and some of the higher end A3 Audis.

Highest Group Classification

The highest risk group tends to contain luxury vehicles, such as those that are out of the price range of the majority of people. It costs a lot to replace any of the damaged parts and insurance companies are taking a bigger risk insuring these vehicles. Some vehicles that tend to land in this group include the BMW M Series, Ferrari, Porsche 911, and Aston Martin.

Reducing Your Insurance Costs

Whether you live in Great Britain or the United States, there are things you can do to decrease the amount that you pay for car insurance. Some things have to do with you personally and others refer to the vehicle.

Making sure that your car is safe and secure can help decrease your insurance rates. If it is possible to keep it in a closed garage that is locked, it is much better than parking it on the street. Adding security and anti-theft devices to your car will also help prevent theft and vandalism and will lower your rates.

How much you drive your car can make a difference in your premiums. You can cut down on your rates if you drive less. This may mean taking more public transportation, carpooling with colleagues, or just making the conscious effort not to do any unnecessary driving.

Vowing to drive safer will pay off big in the long run. Your history of driving is a big factor in determining your premium, so cutting down on accidents and other traffic violations will bring your rates down over time. According to the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you tend to text while you drive your chances of getting in an accident increases 23 times. Keeping your eyes on the road will cut down on accidents as well as cut your premium down.

Once you start focusing on safe driving, you will begin to notice a decrease in your insurance premiums.

It may take some time, often three years, for past violations to be taken off your driving record, but eventually they will. As long as you don’t have any new violations, you will usually notice a slight decrease in your rates every year until the violations are completely gone.

In the United States, your credit history is a factor in many things, and car insurance is no exception. It may not seem to be related, but if you are not responsible with your finances, the statistics show that you will not be a responsible driver either, and your car insurance rates will be negatively affected.

Just as it takes time to repair your driving record, it takes awhile to repair your credit history.

Many negative reports stay on your record for seven years. There are still ways that you can increase and improve your score in the meantime, however. Smart Money provides tips on what you can do to improve your credit over time.

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