All car models have been classified by a panel of insurers, known as the Group Rating Panel, into a number of different groups. When a customer requests a quote for car insurance, the insurance companies use these group ratings along with other factors to calculate the price of their policy.
Two factors are used to determine a car's group number: its "damageability" and "repairability". The specific variables used to make those assertions are:
Vehicle retail price
To begin with, two impact tests are carried out on all vehicles to determine the repair time and cost. The first is a frontal impact at 15kph, offset by 40% into a barrier angled at 10 degrees. The second is a rear impact at the same speed using a moving barrier weighing 1.4 metric tonnes, again angled and offset to the same degree. In addition to the impact tests, body panel repairs are taken into account, factoring in construction materials and repair strategy. A standardised basket of 22 typically damaged parts is also priced up to give a view of potential repair costs. 0-60mph and top speeds are factored in, along with the retail value of the vehicle. Weight is also a factor - heavy vehicles like 4x4s may sustain less damage, but tend to inflict a considerably greater amount. Finally, increased vehicle security and immobilisation improves the group rating of a vehicle.
When the car insurance grouping system was first established over 40 years ago, there were just 9 groups - reflecting the lack of variation in the automobile market. This was upped to 20 in 1992, but the ever growing range of car types, technologies manufacturer models has resulted in another change. In 2006, a 50 group system was launched, which ran in parallel with the older system while the insurers updated their systems. All new cars are now classified using the 1-50 scale. Cars from the 10 years prior to the new system have been converted to the 50-group scale. Cars older than this are priced up based on an insurer's own experience.
Head over to our home page and use our car insurance group finder!
Our car insurance group search tool is useful when you have a specific model in mind, but sometimes you're looking for inspiration on low group vehicles. That's why we've put together the following list of 6 popular cars that are cheap to insure. Check out Autotrader if you want to check prices on them.