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Eco car insurance quotes

If you’re replacing your car, making a green choice not only helps protect the environment, it could save you money too. And even if you’re sticking to your petrol or diesel car, choosing a green car insurance policy is one step you can take to care for the planet.

Here’s the lowdown on eco car insurance.

If you’re replacing your car, making a green choice not only helps protect the environment, it could save you money too. And even if you’re sticking to your petrol or diesel car, choosing a green car insurance policy is one step you can take to care for the planet.

Here’s the lowdown on eco car insurance.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
18 AUGUST 2023
9 min read
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What is eco car insurance?

Eco car insurance could describe two distinct, but related, types of environmentally friendly car insurance cover.

Insurance that’s specifically designed for an electric, hybrid or sustainably fuelled car With more of us choosing pure electric and plug-in hybrids, and with the sale of new diesel and petrol cars banned in the UK from 2035, many more UK insurance providers are now offering cover for eco-friendly cars.

While you may not need a specialist green car insurance policy for hybrid and electric cars, choosing a policy that’s tailored to less-polluting vehicles may offer useful features.

For example, electric car insurance could include recovery to the nearest charging point if your car runs out of battery.

Insurance cover that strives to be more eco-friendly

Some eco car insurance policies may include donating to carbon offsetting projects to help counter the emissions from driving a petrol, diesel or hybrid car.

Others may offer discounts to drivers who reduce their mileage, perhaps by switching some journeys to public transport.

What is an eco-friendly car?

An eco-friendly car, or green car, is one that has lower emissions than a conventional car – or no emissions at all. It might use sustainable fuel, be electric or a hybrid.

Types of green cars

Eco-friendly cars include:

  • Hybrid cars: these use a regular (combustion) engine and a battery-powered motor. They have lower emissions because they use both energy sources to run. There are also plug-in hybrids with bigger batteries that can be charged in the same way as electric cars.

    Example: Toyota Prius
  • Electric cars: these use an electric battery to run, make almost no noise and need to be plugged in to recharge.

    Example: Nissan Leaf

    Biofuel cars: biofuels are made from plants and waste products like old cooking oil, or even used coffee grounds.

    Cars that run solely on biofuels aren’t widely available but the standard unleaded petrol you’ll find at UK forecourts is blended with biofuel – E5 petrol is blended with 5% biofuel and E10 with 10%. And we’re also starting to see buses powered by biofuel. .
  • Hydrogen cars: hydrogen is put into the car’s fuel tank and converted into power. The only waste product these cars emit is water. They’re not widely available in the UK yet, but with the UK government’s hydrogen strategy launched in 2021, we could see more hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road in future.
    Example: Honda Clarity FCV.
  • LPG cars: Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) burns cleaner than traditional petrol or diesel. By converting your regular petrol car to LPG, you can run it off both fuels. Only one manufacturer, Dacia, currently sells LPG cars in the UK.

More of us are choosing greener options when replacing our cars. In 2022, there were 391,000 ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) registered in the UK, a 22% increase from the previous year.

There were also considerably more hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registered than diesel cars in 2022. Some 36% of cars registered were either HEVs or BEVs, compared to 8% for diesel.

Why should I consider eco-friendly cars?

Regular petrol and diesel cars emit a combination of gases from their exhausts every time they’re in use. With air pollution in the UK responsible for up to 36,000 deaths every year, it’s time for all of us to look at what we can do to help reduce the pollution from our cars.

The transport sector is also now responsible for the largest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, accounting for 24% of the UK’s total emissions in 2020. Some 91% of transport emissions come from road transport, and the majority – 52% – from cars and taxis.

As we all work to reduce our carbon footprint, our choice of car is one area where we can make a big difference. A new electric car will produce a third of the emissions of a new petrol car over its lifetime. And as the energy grid switches more to renewables, this gap should widen further.

What cover should I look for when insuring a green car?

The cover you choose for your eco-friendly car depends on your circumstances and needs. Many UK insurance providers now offer cover for hybrid and electric vehicles as standard, and policies vary  in terms of the cover and extras they provide.

However, there are a few things to consider when choosing an eco car insurance policy for your electric vehicle:

  • Running out of battery: make sure you’re covered for recovery in case you run out of charge on your journey.
  • Protection for your charging devices: look for policies that include cover for the charging unit and cables you need for your electric car.
  • Battery cover: electric batteries often come with a warranty from the car manufacturer but you’ll still want to make sure it’s covered for accidental damage, theft and fire by your electric vehicle insurance policy.

Is eco car insurance cheaper?

It depends on the policy you choose, your car and your driving history. Car insurance for electric and hybrid vehicles has generally been expensive due to considerations like the higher price tag of green cars, the cost of parts and the need for specialist repairs.

But as more of us make the switch to eco-friendly cars, we can expect to see more and more eco car insurance policies on the market. And greater competition typically means more competitive prices.

Some providers may charge extra to insure a hybrid or electric vehicle, while others may offer discounts for cleaner energy vehicles. Insurance providers will also consider your car’s performance when quoting prices and a less powerful eco car may attract lower premiums because it is considered safer.

Whatever green car your drive, it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal.

And bear in mind that there are many other factors determining the price you pay for your car insurance, including your age, annual mileage, postcode and driving history.

When it comes to the costs of running a green car, the good news is that you’ll pay a lower rate of road tax if you drive an alternative fuel vehicle. And fully electric cars are exempt from paying road tax until 2025.

How can I find eco-friendly car insurance for my regular car?

If you’re not ready to make the switch to a greener car, you can still make more environmentally friendly choices when it’s time to renew your car insurance.

Choose cover that encourages you to drive more efficiently

You could think about telematics insurance, also known as black box insurance. A black box or smart phone app will record how and when you drive, which could result in greater fuel efficiency and savings from your insurance provider.

Choose a low-mileage car insurance policy

If you can cut down on the journeys you make by car, perhaps by opting to cycle to work or take public transport, you can cut down on your emissions. And because less time on the road means less chance of an accident, a lower-mileage policy could be cheaper too.

Choose a green insurance provider

Some providers offer green car insurance policies that commit to fund conservation and sustainability projects to offset some of your carbon emissions from driving.

Other green car insurance providers may use repairers that source recycled car parts – called green car parts – for certain repairs that aren’t critical to safety. And most insurance providers now offer paperless policies.

Greener driving is about making informed choices – and that’s where we come in. We’re here to help you find the right deal by comparing car insurance policies for you.

How can I help the environment if I drive a regular car?

As well as switching to a greener car insurance policy, there are changes you can make to your everyday driving that can help lower your emissions and your impact – even if you drive a petrol or diesel car. Here are some handy tips that will not only help the environment, but could potentially save you money too.

Bigger isn’t better when it comes to driving green

The bigger the car, the higher the emissions and fuel costs, so think about whether you really need that seven-seater, especially if you usually drive alone.

Sharing your journey reduces emissions and saves you money

If you can find other people making the same journey as you, to commute or to drop the kids off at school for example, it can make environmental and economic sense to share the costs and leave one of your cars at home.

The lighter the load, the less fuel you need

Losing a few kilos will reduce the amount of fuel you use – but you don’t have to lose your passengers or your spare wheel. Try:

  • Clearing out the boot and back seats.
  • Half-filling your fuel tank if you’re only making short journeys.
  • Losing the roof rack if you’re not using it.

Avoid unnecessary journeys

Are there any car journeys you make that aren’t strictly necessary? Could you walk down to the shops to get the milk rather than drive? Could you use public transport to go see your nan instead? Even small changes can make a difference to the environment – and a lower annual mileage could mean cheaper car insurance.

What else should I know about reducing my fuel consumption?

  • Two wheels are better than four: a four-wheel drive car uses slightly more fuel than a two-wheel drive, even if it’s the same style and size. Think carefully about how you’ll use your car – you probably won’t need a 4x4 if the only off-roading you do is parking on a raised kerb.
  • Anticipate road conditions: read the road, drive smoothly, avoid sharp acceleration and heavy breaking. These will mean you’re breaking less harshly and using less fuel. 
  • Check your tyres regularly: under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase your fuel consumption.

Frequently asked questions

What is carbon offsetting in green car insurance?

When a car insurance provider talks about carbon offsetting, it means they will balance out some or all the emissions produced from your car by investing money in environmental and social projects that help to decrease carbon emissions. For example, they may plant trees to remove carbon dioxide from the air or fund lower-carbon infrastructure in developing countries.

Are there any government grants available for switching to an eco-friendly car?

In 2022, the UK government announced that cars would no longer be covered under the plug-in grant scheme for zero-emission vehicles. The scheme is still available for eligible wheelchair-accessible vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, vans, trucks and taxis.

You can get a grant of up to £350 to install an electric vehicle charging unit at your home, but only if you’re a landlord or renter of a flat or apartment.

Eligible motorists may be able to get grants towards switching to a cleaner vehicle through a local car scrappage scheme. There are schemes available in London, Birmingham and some parts of Scotland.

How easy it is to charge electric vehicles in the UK?

At the end of July 2023, there were 45,737 electric vehicle charging units available to the public in the UK, in 26,805 locations.

The availability of charging units varies depending on where you live, but the number of charging points increased fourfold between 2016 and 2022. The UK government has launched a grant scheme to encourage local councils to install more and increase the size of the network.

Do green vehicles have to pay the London Congestion Charge?

Zero-emissions cars, including fully electric and hydrogen powered cars are eligible for a 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge until 25 December 2025. To get the discount, motorists must register with Transport for London (TFL), upload a copy of their V5C registration certification as proof, and pay an annual fee of £10.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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