Green car insurance quotes

If you’re replacing your car, making a green choice not only helps protect the environment, it could save you money. Here’s the lowdown.

If you’re replacing your car, making a green choice not only helps protect the environment, it could save you money. Here’s the lowdown.

Julie Daniels
Insurance expert
5
minute read
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Last Updated 29 MARCH 2022

What is green car insurance?

Green car insurance simply refers to insurance 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 2030, it’s vital to get the right cover for your car. While specialist policies are available for electric cars, they can also be covered by regular car insurance.

Why should I look at eco 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 27% of the UK’s total emissions in 2019. Over 90% of transport emissions come from road transport and the majority from cars. 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.

What is an eco car?

An eco-friendly 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

Green technology is advancing all the time, but some eco-friendly cars you may have heard of include:

  • Hybrid cars: these cars use a regular (combustion) engine and a battery-powered motor. They have lower emissions because they use both energy sources to run. 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: these use fuel made from plants and even old cooking oil, along with a little bit of regular fuel like petrol or diesel. They aren’t available in the UK as passenger cars, but are used for some commercial and agricultural vehicles, such as buses and tractors.

  • 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 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. 

In 2020, there was a 125% increase in new registrations of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) in Great Britain from the previous year. Meanwhile, there were more alternative fuel cars registered than diesel cars for the first time, as more of us choose greener options when replacing our cars.

Is there special insurance for eco-cars?

Having an eco-friendly car doesn’t automatically put you in some special ‘green insurance group, although there are some specialist insurance providers that specifically cover electric vehicles.

Insurance providers will consider your car’s performance when quoting prices and a less powerful eco car may attract lower premiums because it is considered safer. As more of us make the switch to greener vehicles, expect to see more and more green car insurance policies on the market.

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

There’s a few special things to consider when choosing an insurance policy for your green car:

  • Running out of battery: if you have an electric vehicle, 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 insurance for cars cheaper?

It will depend on your policy, your car and your driving history. However, many providers are starting to offer policies specifically for green cars, which could save you money.

It's worth shopping around to find the best deal. Some providers may charge extra to insure a hybrid or electric vehicle, while others may offer discounts for cleaner energy vehicles. Remember that there are many other factors determining the price you pay for your car insurance, including your age, 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.

How can I find a green insurance policy for my regular car?

If you drive a petrol or diesel car and want to drive more considerately, 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.

You might also consider whether you want a green insurance provider to cover your eco or traditionally fuelled car. This could mean your insurance provider plants trees to offset your car emissions or that they use garages that focus on recycling car parts and components. Any eco-conscious insurance provider might also offer paperless policies.

Greener driving doesn’t always have to be about having a car that you need to charge up every day. It’s about making informed choices – and that’s where we come in, because we’re here to help you find the right deal by comparing the car insurance market for you.

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

Even if you drive a petrol or diesel car and aren’t considering changing any time soon, there are still things you can do to lower the impact of your car’s emissions. 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 journeys reduces emissions and saves you money

If you can find other people making the same journey to work as you, 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, so 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 a green car?

In 2021, the UK government announced an update to the plug-in grant scheme for zero-emission vehicles to extend discounts to cars priced under £32,000. Drivers can get a grant of up to 35% of the purchase price of certain electric cars, up to a maximum of £1,500. There are also grants available for a selection of small electric vans, motorcycles and scooters, and you can get a grant of up to £350 to install a charging unit at your home.

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

As of January 2022, there were 28,375 electric vehicle charging units available to the public in the UK. The availability of charging units varies depending on where you live, but the UK government has launched a grant scheme to encourage local governments to install more and increase 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 if they register with Transport for London (TFL) and pay an annual fee of £10.

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