If you're looking to save money and get a cheaper car insurance premium, it's worth thinking about the insurance group your car is in.
For instance, cars in lower insurance groups attract a lower premium.
Car insurance groups are set by the Group Rating Panel, which includes members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Lloyds Market Association (LMA).
The Group Rating Panel meets each month to put forward an advisory insurance group for each new passenger car built to a UK specification. 70% of the information used by the panel in its assessment is based on research conducted by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (Thatcham).
The panel assigns cars to an insurance group from 1 to 50 (since 2007), which it uses alongside the previous 20 groups in testing new cars. The move to 50 groups means that each model of car can be more accurately banded with similar cars.
Cars in the highest groups, typically high performance models, are likely to cost insurers the most in insurance claims.
Insurers may use the panel's recommendations in their calculation of car insurance premiums, or they may choose to use their own groupings. According to the ABI, the cost of motor vehicle repairs accounts for over half of all the money paid out in motor insurance claims, so repair costs feature strongly in how the groups are defined.
Based on their research, Thatcham define the factors used to assess new cars as follows.
Damage and parts costs
This covers the likely extent of damage to each car model and the cost of the parts involved in its repair. The lower these costs, the more likelihood there is of a lower group rating.
Repair costs and times
Longer repair times mean higher costs and the greater likelihood of a higher group rating. Different paint finishes on modern cars are an important factor, so these are also taken into account.
New car values
The prices of new cars are taken into account, as they are often a good guide to the cost of replacement and repair.
A standard list of 23 common parts is used to compare the cost of parts from one manufacturer with those from another. The lower these costs, the more likelihood there is of a lower group rating.
Acceleration and top speed are important factors. Insurers know very well, from their claims statistics, that high performance cars often result in more frequent insurance claims.
Security features fitted as standard equipment by motor manufacturers can help to reduce insurance claims costs. Such features include high security door locks, alarm or immobilisation systems, glass etching, coded audio equipment, locking devices for alloy wheels, and a visible Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
If you want to check the insurance group for your car, or are buying a car, you can search the ABI database to find the group rating for the model you're interested in.
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