Do I need specialist insurance for an electric car?

A study by NimbleFins car insurance experts found that EV insurance costs more than regular car insurance. Motorists wondering whether you need specialist insurance for an EV and who want to learn about how EV insurance differs from regular car insurance can read this article to learn the answers.

Cheap Car Insurance for your Electric Car

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Do electric cars need specialist insurance?

Generally speaking, no, you don’t need special car insurance. NimbleFins has found some insurers that focus on electric car insurance, but market studies show that the vast majority of mainstream providers will now provide cover for electric cars, too.

What are the different types of EV?

There are three main types of EV in the UK, which are:

BEV – battery electric vehicles

Often just called EVs, these are what most of us think of when we hear the term ‘electric vehicle’. These cars run solely on battery power and need to be charged using a type one or type two charger (type two is the most common on recently built EVs).

HEV – hybrid electric vehicle

As their name suggests, hybrids have an internal combustion engine as well as an electric motor but HEVs don’t need to be plugged in. Instead, the battery is charged using ‘regenerative energy’. This is simply the energy generated when the car’s brakes are applied. So instead of that energy being wasted and dispersed through heat loss, it’s saved and stored to be used later.

HEVs mainly rely on their engines. The battery is typically much smaller than you’d get on a BEV whereas the fuel tank is the same size as it would be for a petrol or diesel car. It means that HEVs can only cover a couple of miles using just battery power. With that in mind, HEVs are focused more on being fuel efficient rather than emission free.

PHEV – plug-in hybrid vehicles

As well as a combustion engine powered by petrol or diesel, PHEVs have a larger battery that can be charged (instead of using regenerative energy).

This larger battery means PHEVs are ‘true’ hybrids in the sense that you can actually cover a reasonable distance using battery power (up to 50 miles depending on the car you buy).

What does car insurance for an electric car include?

Car insurance for electric cars covers the same risks and events as standard insurance. That means you can choose from one of three levels of cover:

Third-party only

This is the minimum level of cover you can have on any vehicle in the UK. These policies pay for damage you cause to other people’s property. Policies also cover compensation costs if you injure someone in an accident. However, third-party only doesn’t cover your car so if it’s damaged, you won’t receive any money for repairs.

Third-party, fire and theft

As well as providing third-party only cover, these policies will compensate you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.

Comprehensive cover

Policies include third-party, fire and theft and will also pay to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged in an accident (even if the accident was your fault).

Comprehensive cover is the highest level you can buy in the UK but conversely, it’s not necessarily the most expensive. This is because insurers discovered third-party policyholders actually made the most claims which is now reflected in premiums.

Is the battery in my electric car covered?

Electric car insurance also covers your battery against theft, damage and fire. Other essential accessories – such as a charging cable, should be covered too.

One important point to remember is to let your insurer know whether you own or lease the battery. This is so your insurer knows who to compensate if your EV is written off.

Am I covered if someone trips over my EV’s charging cable?

Yes, electric car insurance should also include liability cover. This pays out compensation if other people trip over your car’s charging cable and injure themselves.

Does it cost more to insure an electric car?

EVs can sometimes be more expensive to cover as they tend to be in higher insurance groups. This is typically because parts (like a replacement battery) and repairs are expensive compared to traditionally fuelled cars.

Nevertheless, the car you drive is just one of many factors that affect insurance cost. To work out your premium, insurers build a risk profile based on your own circumstances and will also consider:

  • Your ageyoung drivers pay significantly more than other age groups as they’re at greater risk of being involved in an accident.
  • The policy you choose – think about the features you really need or would benefit from. Extras are nice to have but it could significantly increase your premium.
  • How you pay for your policy – if you’re able to, paying for your policy in one go really is the cheapest way to buy car insurance. Instalments might be more convenient, but it means you’ll also pay interest.
  • Where you live – if you live in an area with a higher than average crime rate, you can expect to pay more for your premium.
  • What you do for a living – some jobs raise your risk profile. For example, latest research shows recruitment consultants pay more than web developers.
  • Your driving history - A previous accident can affect the cost of car insurance.

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