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Insurance value of cars UK guide 2024

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When you compare car insurance quotes, one of the critical factors that providers consider is the value of your vehicle. This can have a significant impact on the premiums you pay.

Understanding how insurers calculate your car’s value and factor it into your policy is essential. It helps ensure you get accurate valuations and pay fair premiums. Discover what goes into determining the insurance value of cars and how it affects the quotes you receive.

How insurers calculate car value for premiums

Insurers ask for your car’s value when you apply for coverage. This allows them to judge the level of risk they’re taking on and appropriately price your policy. There are two main approaches used:

  • Market value: The current resale value of your car. Most insurers will ask for this rather than the original purchase price
  • Agreed value: A set amount agreed between you and the insurer at the start of the policy. Payouts for write-offs or theft are based on this value

Whichever valuation basis is used, insurers will research car prices to verify accuracy. Online car valuation tools, pricing guides and market data help with this.

If you make a claim, your car’s value at the time of loss is important. Insurers won’t simply refer to the figure you provided initially; they’ll check the current market price. This prevents overvaluation from inflating potential payouts.

Finding your car’s value for insurance

You want to estimate your car’s value as accurately as possible. This ensures you get fair premiums and payouts if needed.

Online car valuation tools

Enter your registration number and mileage into sites such as Parkers, CAP or Glass. They’ll provide valuations based on live market data. This is the easiest way to get a solid estimate.

Price comparison websites

Many aggregators allow you to get quotes based on your car’s details. Their integrated valuation tools provide indicative pricing.

Classified listings

Check sites, such as AutoTrader and, to see the prices similar vehicles are advertised for. Filter by make, model, age and mileage for the most relevant prices.

Get a professional valuation

Garages can provide valuations for a small fee. Some insurers may request this for high-value or classic vehicles.

Use receipts/paperwork

Recent invoices, old MOT certificates and service histories show vital details, including mileage, to help value your car accurately.

Getting multiple valuations from different sources helps ensure you have an accurate insurance value. Remember to update it regularly as your car ages and depreciates.

Other factors affecting car insurance premiums

While the insured value is essential, insurers consider numerous other elements when calculating premiums, including the following:

Factor Details
Driving history Years of experience and past claims/convictions
Car usage Annual mileage and journey types
Where the car is kept Higher risk of theft in some areas
Security features Alarms, immobilisers, etc.
Level of cover Comprehensive is more than third-party only
Optional extras Add-ons, such as legal cover

While having a higher-value car typically increases premiums, other elements help determine final prices, too. Comparing quotes with the same coverage helps assess the specific impact of your car’s value.

How insurance groups factor into value

Cars fall into one of 50 insurance groups set by the Association of British Insurers. Groups rate risk levels, so more powerful models receive higher ratings than economy vehicles. For example:

  • Small hatchbacks, such as several Toyota Yaris models, sit in groups 1–3
  • Family cars, such as many Ford Focus styles, occupy groups 10–15
  • High-end performance cars, such as the Bentley Continental, place in groups 45–50

Insurers use group ratings along with value to determine premiums. Some additional factors considered based on groups include:

Consideration Details
Cost of repairs Higher for performance vehicles
Replacement parts More expensive for high-end cars
Theft risk Prestige models are more likely to be targeted
Engine size Big engines increase premiums

The insurance group affects the risk associated with a car’s value. However, a lower group rating can help counteract a higher valuation when determining premiums.

Submitting valuation for new policies

Insurers will ask you to provide your car’s valuation figure when taking out a new policy. As covered above, you can use online checking tools to find market values and provide an accurate estimate.

If you only provide the original purchase price for a brand-new car, be aware that the payout in the event of a total loss claim would likely be lower. Insurers will settle based on current value, not your original price. So, an accurate figure is best.

Some insurers may request formal valuations from approved garages for very high-value vehicles. But for standard cars, your research should suffice in most cases when starting cover.

Insurance valuation of cars FAQs

Yes. Buying a more valuable, higher-spec vehicle will increase your insurance premiums, especially if it falls into a higher car insurance group rating.

You can ask your insurer to swap cars mid-policy, but check if fees apply and be aware that significant valuation differences may still change your premium. Additional security measures such as garaging your car can help offset increases.

The quickest way is to use the DVLA’s Vehicle Enquiry service by entering your registration at This shows the first registration date. You can also use online car age checkers by adding your plate, or find the build date on your V5C log book documentation. Knowing the age helps assess depreciation for insurance value.

Nick Jones

Editor in Chief

Nick Jones is a highly experienced consumer journalist and editor, who has been writing and producing content for print and online media for over 25 years.

He has worked at some of the UK’s leading publishers including Future Publishing, Highbury Entertainment, and Imagine Publishing, with publications as diverse as Homebuilding & Renovating, TechRadar, and Creative Bloq, writing and editing content for audiences whose interests include history, computing, gaming, films, and science. He’s also produced a number of podcasts in the technology, science, gaming, and true crime genres.

Nick has also enjoyed a highly successful career in content marketing, working in a variety of topics such as health, technology, and finance, with market-leading global companies including Cisco, Pfizer, Santander, and Virgin Media.

Now the Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Advisor, Nick is involved in all aspects of the site’s content, where his expertise in finance, technology, and home products informs every article that’s published on-site. He takes a hands-on approach with our VPN content, penning a number of the articles himself, and verifying that everything we publish in this topic is accurate.

Whatever the area of interest he’s worked in, Nick has always been a consumer champion, helping people find the best deals and give them the information they need to make an informed buying decision.