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Your Guide to Van Insurance Groups and What it Means for Your Premiums

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You will probably have heard of the term ‘insurance group’ when it comes to insuring vehicles, whether it is a car or a van you are looking to insure. However, you may not be entirely familiar with what exactly the term means and, more importantly, what it means to the cost of your insurance.

These groups are something that you really need to get to grips with as they will have a big impact on how much you will pay for insuring your van.

Van insurance can often be confusing

To make things even harder to get your head around for the everyday van owner, the governing body, made up of industry related associations including members of ABI (Association of British Insurers) and Thatcham, the UK’s most recognised vehicle security advisers, have recently updated the group list from the original 1 to 20 right up to 50.

What’s more, they have also incorporated several new factors into how each van is graded for insurance purposes. In fact, the criteria for the group listings is regularly reviewed and altered to reflect the introduction of new technologies, so expect things to keep changing as time goes on. If you want to check out where your own vehicle sits, take a look at the list here.

Factors that affect group ratings

Since more than half of all the money paid out by insurance companies on motoring claims are for the cost of replacing parts and repairing the vehicles, a major factor in calculating which group a vehicle sits in is based on this. These include:

  • Extent of likely damage
    If a vehicle model is prone to extensive and expensive damage, it is likely to be placed in a higher group than a model that is resistant to damage and is cheaper to repair.
  • Repair times
    The more complicated and time consuming the repairs are, the higher up the group listing the model is going to be. This is especially true if the paintwork repairs are going to take time to make good.
  • Cost of parts
    Using a standard list of 23 common parts, they compare manufacturers parts cost against each other to determine which are the cheapest.
  • Value of new car
    Should the worst case scenario happen, insurance companies need to know the settlement cost in a ‘total loss’ situation.

Next on the list of reasons why insurance companies would deem a van to be in a higher insurance group is how it is likely to be driven.

  • Performance and engine size
    Statistically speaking, the faster and more powerful your vehicle is, the more likely it is to be involved in an accident.
  • Weight
    The heavier and more difficult to manoeuvre a van is, the more difficult it will be to drive, which makes it riskier to insure.

Other factors that dictate how high a group a van is placed in is to do with its security and safety.

  • Security
    Vans that have factory fitted security devices are less likely to be stolen or broken into; they will fall into the lower and cheaper to insure group.
  • Safety
    One of the newest technologies to the vehicle market is the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system. Vehicles with this system fitted will result in a lower group rating.

Bumper compatibility

Yes, even the shape and position of your vehicle’s bumper can affect whether it sits in a lower or higher group. It’s all down to how well a bumper, which is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin and protect your vehicle in the event of a bump, performs.

On top of the 1 to 50 group listings, insurance groups now also have letters, called suffixes. These letters will tell you the level of security features that your van has as standard.

These letters are:

A – Meets the requirement of the group as set out by Thatcham.

D – Does not meet the requirement of the group, and therefore the group number is likely to be higher.

E – Exceeds the requirements of the group. This will result in a lower group number.

P – This will be shown if the vehicle has rated to be given a rating.

U – Unacceptable, this means that the security features are not up to standard and some insurers may not provide cover unless you upgrade the security on your van.

G – This will be shown if the vehicle has been imported.

Since the new criteria only apply to new vans and not all of these appear on the updated listings, you need to be aware of both the old 1-20 ratings as well as the additional 21-50 when looking to purchase a new van.

Insurance groups are used as guides for insurers

As these group listings are a guide for insurance companies to use to help them to determine how they are going to insure a van, everyone will be different. Some insurance companies even have their own criteria for rating your van, so you will need to do some comparisons of various insurance companies to be sure that you get the right van insurance.

Grab yourself a cuppa and spend some time on a van insurance comparison site such as https://www.comparevaninsurance.com/ to really get an idea of how much it costs to insure your van, whether you already own the van or are about to go out and buy one for your business.

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