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A guide to electric car insurance

Thinking about buying an electric car? You might want to look at how much it may cost to insure before you sign on the dotted line. They might be cheaper to run, exempt from car tax and the congestion charge in central London, but car insurance isn’t something you can avoid paying. So, is an annual policy for an electric car more expensive? Or do you think your car’s green credentials will mean you’ll pay less? Here’s what you need to think about.

Where can I get electric car insurance and what cover do I need?

Electric cars have been growing in popularity in the UK, with around 150,000 on the roads in May 2018, compared to just 3,500 back in 2013[1]. They currently make up around 2 per cent of the total new car market in the UK. That being said, electric car insurance is still evolving and most drivers of electric cars still need to get their insurance from an electric car specialist. In the future, more and more mainstream insurers will be offering insurance for electric vehicles.

When you buy an electric car, you have the option to buy or lease your batteries, but because they’re incredibly expensive, most people choose to lease them. Your insurer needs to know if you’re leasing your batteries and you’ll want to make sure they’re covered under your policy. If you don’t tell your insurer and the car is written off, you’ll have to pay to replace them out of your own pocket and not many people can afford to do that.

You’ll want to make sure your policy includes liability cover, in case anyone trips and falls on your power cables while you’re charging your car, and makes a claim for compensation. It’s always worth checking the small print and making sure the policy isn’t lacking in any important areas like these.

Will I have to pay more or less for insurance once I switch to an electric car?

There’s no blanket answer for this question, as insurers consider a range of factors when deciding how much you should pay. These factors include your age, how long you’ve been driving, how many years of no claims discount you have, what your car’s car insurance group is, if you have any points on your licence, where you live and the crime rates in your area. However, electric cars do tend to be in lower car insurance groups and often aren’t as powerful as their petrol and diesel counterparts, so your premium could drop.[2]

Like with all types of insurance, you’ll need to look at what’s included and what isn’t with each policy, and how much excess you’ll be expected to pay.

Many insurers consider electric cars to be lower risk, and some will give you premium discounts[3] as a reward for driving a green car, which can help lower your costs. While this is a very nice bonus, you shouldn’t let this sway you from choosing the policy and insurer that’s best for you, so make sure you shop around for different quotes to find the cover you need.