Do you know when your tax is due? Our user profiles will remind you for FREE | No thanks

Van insurance groups explained – what do they mean for you and your van?

Van insurance groups can be hard to find, as not every manufacturer lists them in their brochures and websites, so they’re often overlooked. They’re also more complicated than car insurance groups, because the whole system changed and not everything is covered under the new system. 

We’ve crunched the numbers and simplified the ratings so you know what the latest van insurance groups really mean for you.

What are van insurance groups exactly?

Both vans and cars used to be graded on a one to 20 insurance group system. This changed to one to 50 for cars in 2009, to make the ratings more accurate, and Thatcham and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) – the bodies responsible for UK vehicle insurance groups – introduced a new 21 to 50 system for vans in January 2016.

This accounts for elements that were not covered by the old regime, so it’s a more accurate, detailed and up-to-date way of classifying vans for insurance purposes.

Why did the system change?

According to Thatcham, the old one to 20 system was introduced over 20 years prior to January 2016, and hadn’t been updated for more than 10 years, so Thatcham and the ABI reviewed the old formula and settled on some relevant changes. The new version favours vehicles that have been fitted with modern safety systems such as autonomous emergency braking, are cheap to fix and are easy to repair.   

What exactly does the new system cover?

Insurance authorities didn’t throw away the rulebook when they introduced the latest ratings, as they still cover lots of different factors, such as the vehicle’s price and the cost of repairs. However, the current system also includes the following aspects:

  • Autonomous emergency braking systems

  • The shape of the van’s bumper

  • Updated parts and repair costs, including a “cost-based measure of damageability and reparability”

  • A greater emphasis on the van’s performance and its Gross Vehicle Weight (the total weight of the van and a trailer when you’re towing)

  • The van’s size and shape

  • A simpler assessment of the van’s security systems (locks, immobilisers etc)

The groups have letters as well as numbers. What do they mean?

The letter that succeeds the insurance group number – for example, 35E – is called a suffix. It’s the same for cars, and denotes the level of security equipment fitted to the vehicle as standard. Here’s what the letters mean:

  • A: Meets Thatcham’s security requirement for the group

  • D: Does not meet the security requirement for the group, so the rating (i.e. the number) has been increased. For example, a van in group 35 that didn’t meet Thatcham’s standards may increase to 36D

  • E: Exceeds the requirements for the group, so the rating has been reduced. A van in group 35 may become 34E

  • P: Provisional, which means data for the group rating wasn’t available when the van was launched

  • U: Unacceptable, meaning the security gear is well below par and some insurers might insist that the security equipment is upgraded before they’ll provide cover

  • G: Import, which denotes a vehicle that wasn’t originally sold in the UK

Has every new van been rated on the new system? 

Most new vans have a modern 21 to 50 insurance group, but not all of them appear on the current system. Some vehicles still have an old one to 20 insurance group, which does make things confusing. It’s probably safe to assume that any van launched or significantly updated since January 2016 will conform to the new system, but it’s still best to check.

Comments

Add a comment

 

Ask Honest John

Value my van

Amount to borrow
Sorry. The minimum loan amount is £1000
To pay back over

My credit score

Best available rate 9.20%

Total repayment £9,304.93

Total cost of credit £1,804.93

£155.08

60 monthly payments

Apply now

Representative example

The Representative APR is 13.2% (fixed) so if you borrow £7,500 over 4 years at a rate of 13.2% p.a (fixed) you will repay £199.21 per month and repay £9562.20 in total.