of money a driver pays to insure their car is partly
determined by the estimated amount of money it would
take to repair the car following an accident.
Because of the variation in cost, all vehicles are
grouped according to their perceived risk level and
cost of repair. In the old system, cars were ranked
1 – 20, with 1 being the safest and hence cheapest
to insure and 20 being the highest risk vehicle and
consequently, most expensive to insure.
Changes have been made and a new rating system
formed in 2007 is what is currently used to classify
vehicles. This new system saw the old groups
expanded to 50, with 50 being the new level for the
highest risk car and the most costly in terms of
insurance. Before buying a car, it is advisable to
check its insurance group so as to get an estimate
of how much it will cost you to insure it.
If you did not check your car insurance groups when
buying the car, you can do so now by visiting the
Thatcham website, . Fill in the form
on the right as requested. Thatcham is the UK motor
insurance repair research centre, whose findings are
used to set car insurance groups. You can also use
the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) website,
which makes up part of the car insurance group
In order to find your car’s group rating, some
details are required. The form on Thatcham’s website
will request the following information: your car
manufacturer, car model, year of make, cubic
capacity (cc), fuel type, gear box type and the
security code. Each car group is given a letter to
signify its security level. The assigned letters are
A, D, E, G, P and U. Below are their meanings:
Meets the group’s security requirement
D – Does
not meet the group’s security requirement. The
letter D on a car indicates that the car has
moved to a higher level from the one it was
under in the old system (1 – 20).
Exceeds the group’s security requirement. Cars
with this letter have moved to a lower group.
G – Is
given to imported cars, both those that are made
for the UK market and those that are not.
Means provisional. It is used on cars where
there was insufficient information to warrant
Means the car’s security level is unacceptable.
If you have such a car, the insurer will expect
you to improve its security level before they
can cover you.
Knowing your car group rating is important in
determining how much you will spend on
insurance. Once you know where your vehicle is
classified, you can take measures to move it to
a lower group, which will lower your insurance
rates. However, it should be noted at this point
that insurance companies are under no obligation
to set their rates solely based on the rating
given by the Group Rating Panel. The groups are
merely a guide. A high number of insurance
companies check the group rating though and
consider the rating when making calculations for
premiums. So it is not to be fully ignored.
If the level of security of your car is
unsatisfactory, you should install additional
safety features yourself. This will boost its
safety level and earn you much lower rates. Some
things like the engine power cannot be altered
unless by making modifications to the engine,
which can affect the car’s overall performance.
Instead of going to such drastic measures, you
can try other strategies such as reducing
mileage, building and protecting a no claims
discount and keeping your driving record clean.
Copyright Don Maskell 2011 All Rights Reserved