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4 min read
Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and Ireland, as more motorists are attracted by the benefits of eco-friendly motoring and the healthy financial perks that the drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles can enjoy.
But while hybrids and electric vehicles can be much cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol or diesel model and are usually tax-exempt too, one thing people often overlook is electric car insurance.
Are electric cars cheap to insure compared to regular petrol or diesel cars, or are there any special insurance issues surrounding these cars that buyers should know about? We explain all below:
This is one of those questions which doesn’t really have a straightforward yes or no answer given the sheer number of variables involved, but there are many who suggest that electric cars can be more expensive to insure, at least when covered on a standard car insurance policy.
The reasons for this are various, but it generally revolves around the fact that electric cars are still relatively new technology and are also built using cutting-edge specialist parts.
Some of the issues which may cause insurance prices to be higher for electric cars include:
Because the industry still has some catching up to do in terms of adapting to the rapid change in vehicle technologies, it means that some insurance providers won’t be able to offer you a quote for an electric car.
This will change as the years go on and as electric vehicles become more popular, but at the moment at least many electric car owners will often find it easier and less expensive to seek specialist electric car insurance cover.
This is essentially the exact same as a car insurance policy for a standard vehicle, and is designed to protect you and third parties financially in the event of an incident involving your car.
However, it’s usually organised by an insurance provider who will specialise in electric vehicles and therefore will be able to better take into account the specific considerations unique to that type of vehicle.
Because they specialise in covering electric vehicles you’ll potentially find your insurance will be cheaper than getting a policy with a ‘standard’ insurer. Some providers will even offer further discounts in order to encourage the uptake of eco-friendly vehicles, or will make donations to environmental charities on your behalf.
Because batteries are expensive and because they degrade over time, it’s common for electric car owners to lease their battery packs: you buy the physical vehicle itself but lease the battery via monthly payments, much like a phone contract.
This can cause issues with insurance, particularly if your car is involved in an incident where the battery is destroyed or heavily damaged. As a result, if you lease your battery it’s important to check the wording of the contract and know exactly who is responsible for replacing it.
Some manufacturers will replace or repair batteries at no extra cost, but others will expect you to seek your own insurance for the battery. You should inform your insurance provider either way, as some policies might not cover leased batteries by default.
One of the downsides of electric vehicles is that you have to physically plug them into a charging outlet using a cable, which could present a tripping hazard for other people.
For instance, imagine if your car is parked on the street and you need to run your charging cable across the pavement. If a pedestrian trips over the cable and breaks their arm, you could be held liable for it.
When seeking insurance for your electric vehicle, it’s worth speaking to an insurance advisor to see whether your policy provides effective liability cover and, if not, to add it on. As they say, it’s always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!
Take Your Time
The electric car market is still in its infancy, so searching for the right policy can take a little longer.
Use A Broker
Insurance brokers can take all the work out of it for you, and search through hundreds of policies to find the right one on your behalf.
Check Your Cover
Make sure you’re adequately covered for electric vehicle-specific things like batteries and charging cable liability.
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