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A performance car - also known as a sports car - is a car that incorporates into its design some of the performance characteristics of a racing car.
Racing cars are designed for speed, so a performance car will have quicker acceleration, a fast top speed and more responsive brakes and steering. These are features that mean the car is statistically more likely to be involved in an accident than a car without them. Performance cars are also attractive to thieves.
A coupe, a roadster or a GTS would be considered a performance car – for the purposes of underwriting
Traditional performance cars are compact and aerodynamic
Demand for spacious performance vehicles has increased
Larger cars including sports saloons and SUVs are also considered performance cars
Drivers of sports or performance cars expect to pay more for car insurance. Shopping around for quotes can help source cheaper cover but most insurers consider such cars more likely to attract frequent insurance claims.
All cars are split categorised into 50 separate car insurance groups – the higher the car’s group number, the more likely it is to be expensive to insure.
Insurance groups are based on how much damage is caused in a standard low-impact crash, how many parts or and how long it takes to repair, plus a look at the car’s performance and security. Performance cars often use expensive light-weight materials in complex designs, making fixing even minor damage hugely expensive and time-consuming.
You might want to consider looking for an insurer that specialises in high performance cars, which is why you need to shop around for quotes.
A performance car is likely to require a specialist garage to carry out any repairs – not one of the insurer’s panel of preferred suppliers working on fixed price contracts.
Add to this that they tend to be driven faster and more aggressively and have bigger impact crashes – and they get stolen more often – and it’s no surprise car insurers add a big weighting to premiums.
The make and model of your car can have a big influence on high performance car insurance premiums. Insurers use technical data on the costs of repairs and time it takes to repair a vehicle and add to that their own experience of claims involving those cars.
A Group Rating Panel, made up of members of the Association of British Insurers and the Lloyd’s Market Association, meets monthly to set the ratings for new cars.
Porsche has 10 different models in car insurance group 50, while Mercedes-Benz has 22. Different versions of each model tend to sit within the same group because the fundamentals of the cars do not change just because the trim or styling alters.
The ratings are based on:
The cost of 23 common spare parts – often expensive high-tech materials in sports cars
The time taken to carry out basic repairs – longer, more complex work, often done at specialist garages
New car values – at the high end of car prices
Acceleration and speed – why sports cars are so much fun
Safety – who wants semi-autonomous driving in a sports car?
The risk of being stolen – sadly a big problem for desirable performance vehicles
Insurers then add to this their own experience of each car model’s claim history – the frequency and cost of claims.
The best car insurance is the one which matches your needs, it isn’t always necessarily the cheapest. For example a higher excess may work out cheaper but you need to be able to afford the cost of any repairs needed if you do have to pay out. You also need to work out what other extras you may need.
According to Admiral Insurance these are the 10 performance cars with the cheapest average premium between July and December 2019*
*The models listed combine cars of all ages and values, including both hard-top and roadster equivalents sharing the same name.
Porsche Boxster - £465.17
Mazda MX-5 - £513.03
BMW Z4 - £566.35
Porsche 911 - £631.77
Porsche Cayman - £637.14
Toyota MR2 - £644.35
Porsche Macan - £698.45
Toyota Celica - £711.84
Ford Mustang - £718.40
Nissan GT-R - £834.03
As with all car insurance policies there are things you can do to reduce the cost of your car insurance premiums.
Drive carefully: Points on your licence for speeding can increase your premiums, so drive within the law and careful driving can also help build up your no claims bonus.
Drive fewer miles: If you use your performance or sports car at the weekend or on holidays, your cheaper premiums will reflect this reduced mileage.
Avoid modifying your car: This will also increase premiums, although factory-fitted optional extras are fine. Before buying your car you should also check to see if the car’s engine or other parts have been modified in any way as modifications can make performance car insurance more expensive.
Increase security: Some insurers refuse to insure high performance cars unless they have the necessary security features such as an alarm, immobiliser or a tracker. Also keeping your car in a locked garage or secure driveway rather than on the road will reduce your premium.
Add an experienced driver to your policy: Adding another driver to your policy can also help to bring down the price of your performance car insurance, especially if they’re experienced and have a clean, safe driving record.
Join a club: Joining an owner’s club could save up to 15% on specialist car insurance.
Do an advanced driving course: You may even qualify for a discount if you have previous experience of driving performance models. Consider taking an advanced driving qualification.