Buying a car is undoubtedly one of the most exciting purchases you will ever make. However, rather than the make, model and colour of your new wheels, your most important consideration should be: ‘Can I afford the insurance premiums?’ This is particularly relevant to the younger, less-experienced driver or those with driving convictions and a limited no-claims bonus.
What criteria determine car insurance premiums?
In general terms, the more powerful the car, the higher the premiums will be. For example, insuring an Aston Martin DB9 will be far more expensive than purchasing cover for a Ford Fiesta 1.1. This is because statistics show that the Fiesta driver is far less likely to have an accident and make a claim than the driver of the Aston Martin. This is especially the case for male drivers under 25 years of age, and for this reason, it pays to research the car insurance group of your prospective purchase, prior to signing on the dotted line.
Of the 50 insurance groups classified by the Group Rating Panel, the vehicles categorised in the highest groups generally attract the biggest premiums, as their risk is deemed to be greater.
A car’s rating is in part determined by the cost of repairing it, both in terms of labour and parts, and by its performance. Price and security features are also taken into consideration. You can look up your prospective new vehicle’s grouping at www.thatcham.org.
Another thing to consider is whether the used car that you're thinking of buying has been modified in any way. Modifications to the structure of the car, for example lowered suspension or a re-mapped engine, can mean that insurance companies will consider that the car's official group for its basic model no longer applies, and this could mean that the premiums will increase considerably.