Auto insurance premiums are determined by a large number of factors including the type of vehicle you are driving. Every insurance company in the United States classifies vehicles according to a rating system of its own actuarial devising. In Britain, however, there is a standardised automobile group classification system that is used almost uniformly by the insurance companies that operate there. These classifications are determined primarily on the vehicles' general repair costs, engine power and safety features. Because different models of the same vehicle make may vary significantly, it is possible for these different models to fall into a number of the categories.
Lowest Groups, 1 to 7
Vehicles that fall into the lowest rating groups, one through seven, have low repair costs and good safety features and pose relatively low risk to other drivers on the road. Because they tend to be smaller vehicles, their overall values may be relatively low. Since the total risk to the insurance company is minor, the associated premiums are the lowest available. Examples of vehicles that fall into these categories, as of August 2010, are: Toyota Yaris hatchback, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Focus and Fiat Punto.
Mid-Range Groups, 8 to 12
The middle-range classifications, eight through 12, encompass most family-size sedans as well as more highly powered smaller vehicles. These vehicles have repair times and overall values that are considered average in today's marketplace. Some vehicles classified in these groups are: Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Corolla, Ford Fiesta 1.6 and certain models of Audi A3.
High-Range Groups, 13 to 16
You will find the typical high-end vehicles classified in the higher groups, 13 through 16. These vehicles require expensive repair parts and possibly even specialised repair techniques. They also tend to be powerful vehicles with higher liability exposures to insurance companies. Some examples of these vehicles include: BMW 3 series and 5 series, Jaguar S type and higher-end Audi A3 models.
Highest Groups, 17 to 20
The highest classification groups belong to the luxury vehicles. Here you will find cars that are beyond the price range of many people. Vehicle repairs often consist solely of replacing damaged parts rather than repairing anything. These vehicles pose the biggest risk to insurance companies and require the greatest amount of premium. Examples of these types of vehicles include: Porsche 911, Ferrari, Aston Martin and BMW M Series.