Finding appropriate and affordable car insurance is an important consideration for any car buyer. With the electric vehicle (EV) market still developing, this is a particular issue for prospective EV buyers who may have concerns about where they can find electric car insurance and whether there are differences between insuring an EV and a conventional diesel or petrol model.
Do all insurance companies insure electric cars?
The electric car industry is no longer in its infant stages and, as a result, some insurance companies such as LV= are now providing insurance for electric cars or have integrated EVs into their online quotation systems.
Where it used to be the case that EV buyers had to go to specialist insurance firms to insure their plug-in car, insuring an EV is now far more straight forward and there is little difference between buying cover for a plug-in car to a comparative diesel or petrol vehicle.
Manufacturers also often provide insurance packages as an option to customers, so finding EV insurance is now far easier than it used to be when the plug-in car market was first emerging.
Is it more expensive to insure an electric car?
In our experience, the industry generally applies higher group ratings to electric cars as compared to petrol or diesel cars in the same size and class range.
Insurance groups vary from company to company but in general the lower the group the lower the cost of insurance.
As an example, the Nissan Leaf starts in car insurance group 21 (according to the ABI Group Rating Panel). This is significantly higher than equivalent Golf, Focus and Astra models, which tend to be placed in insurance groups under 20 (excluding the more powerful variants).
However, the insurance group rating of a car is only one factor taken into account when insurance companies calculate an electric car insurance quote. The most important factor is the risk profile of the person that drives the car.
Many electric car buyers are considered lower risk thanks to their choice of car. Ethical values make them a safer, more conscientious driver, and as such, plug-in car buyers are often offered lower rates.
What are the key differences between regular car and EV insurance?
EV charging: When charging your EV, you owe a duty of care to members of the public that could trip and injure themselves on a cable. Make sure that you have adequate liability insurance cover included in your electric car insurance policy in case of this eventuality.
Temporary additional cover: Electric cars are often less suitable for longer journeys than petrol or diesel cars, especially if the range is limited and the EV does not offer rapid charging capabilities; to mitigate this issue, some manufacturers include the use of a petrol or diesel car for a set number of days per year. When obtaining quotes, therefore, check if the policy includes sufficient cover for the short-term loan of a car in addition to the main electric vehicle.
Leased batteries: If you lease your battery on a contract separate from owning the vehicle, it is important to make your insurance company is aware of this to prevent problems should a claim be necessary.
Is insuring a PHEV different to insuring a pure-EV?
Broadly speaking, the same criteria apply when insuring a plug-in hybrid as opposed to a 100% battery electric vehicle. However, given the increased popularity of plug-in hybrids, there may be differences between directly comparable cars, so it is worth checking options carefully
Are there ways to bring the electric car insurance costs down?
There are a few ways of keeping down costs:
Drive carefully: This is the most obvious factor in the longer term. Building up long-term no claims discount will make your insurance cheaper no matter what the car you choose, and the same is true for plug-in models. Avoid speeding and keep within the law, as points on your licence will also increase the cost of your insurance.
Pay your premium up front: If you can afford to, pay the full amount of your car insurance when you start the policy, as you will usually incur interest charges if you pay by direct debit. Also, if you pay by credit card you will probably be liable for a percentage charge based on your premium. The cheapest method of buying insurance is by a one-off debit card payment.
Lower your mileage: Insurers recognise the fact that the fewer miles you drive the less likely you are to be involved in an accident. Therefore it may be beneficial to accurately work out your predicted mileage to quote to your insurer. Buyers of pure EVs in particular are likely to cover fewer miles simply because of the range restrictions of the car, so there’s a possibility your annual mileage will drop.
However there is a good chance that the car’s annual mileage will increase, as drivers discover the convenience of covering short distances in an EV. Plug-in models in a two car household typically rack up more miles than a petrol or diesel car, which tends to be kept in reserve for long-distance driving.
It is important that you feel confident that this figure is accurate, however, as exceeding it may result in increased premiums or excesses.
Increase your excess: Most insurers offer discounts if you are prepared to opt for a higher excess. However, make sure that you are able to afford it as this is the amount you will be asked to contribute towards a claim.
Arrange your insurance by phone: Despite the myth that the lowest premiums are obtained online, it is often quicker and cheaper by phone. You can often haggle on the phone about the price and many insurers have a ‘hidden pot’ they can use to achieve their sales targets.
Opt to install a black box or smart monitor: Increasingly popular with drivers looking for lower premiums, devices that monitor your driving style can provide feedback for insurers to accurately analyse how good or bad a driver the policy holder is. Telematics car insurance policies are best suited to younger drivers who can obtain big premium reductions off high premiums if they allow their insurance company to monitor their driving behaviour. Another option worth considering is the use of a dashboard camera to record any incidents accurately.
Where can I find an electric car insurance specialist?
A number of insurance companies now offer electric car insurance, with some providers covering the additional equipment you’ll need for an electric car. If you’re looking for comprehensive electric car insurance, LV=, one of the UK’s largest car insurers has recently created a new electric car insurance product.