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Low emission car insurance

Cars with low fuel emissions are less damaging to the environment and cheaper to run. No surprise, then, that they’re increasingly popular with UK buyers. Here’s what you need to know about insuring a low emission car.

Cars with low fuel emissions are less damaging to the environment and cheaper to run. No surprise, then, that they’re increasingly popular with UK buyers. Here’s what you need to know about insuring a low emission car.

Written by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
5 JULY 2023
5 min read
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What is classed as a low emission car?

The UK Vehicle Certification Agency defines a low emission vehicle (LEV) as one that produces less than 100g of CO2 for every kilometre (0.6 miles) travelled.

This includes ultra-low emission cars (ULEVs) that produce less than 75g for every km travelled and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) that produce no carbon emissions at all.

Cars with efficient petrol engines, as well as electric and hybrid cars, can qualify as low emission vehicles.

Sales of environmentally friendly cars in the UK are soaring. This is due to the 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars edging closer, along with the introduction of low emission zones in some cities.

By choosing a low emission car you’re helping the environment. You can also give your bank balance a boost, as low-emission cars can be cheaper to run than traditional petrol and diesel cars.

Do low emissions affect my insurance?

Not on their own. Many factors affect car insurance premiums, from the car you drive to your profession and driving history.

The insurance industry attributes an insurance group, with categories ranging from 1 to 50, to every model of vehicle on the road. The higher the group, the more the car is likely to cost to insure.

Car insurance groups take into account:

  • Repair costs
  • Repair times
  • New car values
  • Price of parts
  • Performance of the vehicle: for example, the power and acceleration
  • Safety features
  • Bumpers and how well they protect cars on impact
  • Security features.

If you’re looking for a way to cut your insurance costs, choosing a car in a low insurance group could be one way to lower your premium.

Examples of cars with low emissions

Here’s a selection of low emission cars and their relevant insurance group:

Car

Emissions (CO2g/km)

Insurance group 1-50

BMW X5 PHEV X5 xDrive5E

39 46
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium 84 11
Nissan Leaf eAcenta 0 26
Renault Zoe Iconic 0 19
SEAT Leon FR e-Hybrid From 25 23
Skoda Citigo SE Greentech 96 1
Suzuki Celerio SZ4 99 7
Tesla Model S 0 50
Toyota Prius Hybrid T4 104 16
Toyota Yaris Hybrid Icon 92 13

Can I get insurance for an electric car?

Most car insurance providers offer cover for electric cars.

When you insure an electric car (an EV), look for a policy that includes cover for:

  • Accidental damage
  • Fire and theft of your battery
  • Charging cables and wall boxes.

Some car manufacturers will allow you to lease the battery to lower the purchase price of your EV. If you choose this option, be sure to tell your insurance provider as it could affect the cost of your premium.

Can I get hybrid car insurance?

You should be able to get standard car insurance to cover your hybrid car.

Hybrid car insurance, like electric car insurance, has historically been more expensive than cover for a standard petrol car because the cost of parts can be higher. And when hybrids first came onto the market, there were fewer repairers qualified and experienced enough to repair this type of vehicle, so they could charge more. But the cost isn’t significantly different nowadays.

Some of the most popular hybrid models, such as the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq, rate highly for safety as well as efficiency, so are typically cheaper to insure than many petrol cars.

What level of cover can I get for my low emission car?

The levels of cover available for a low emission car are the same as any other vehicle.

  • Third-party only is the most basic level of cover and the minimum legal requirement. It offers cover if you damage another person’s car or injure someone while driving. You won’t be able to claim for damage to your own car or your injuries.
  • Third-party, fire and theft offers the same cover as third-party insurance but also insures your own car against theft and damage from fire.
  • Comprehensive is the highest level of cover. It protects against damage and injuries to others, as well as covering you and your own car. 

Compare low emission car insurance

The good news is that many low emission vehicles are in low insurance groups, which could mean cheaper car insurance for you.

But as so many factors affect the cost of insurance, it’s a good idea to to compare car insurance to find the right deal for you. Simply give us details about yourself and the car you want to insure, and we’ll do the hard work for you.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if my car is low emission?

You can find out your car’s CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and tax band using the Vehicle Certification Agency’s checker.

Is small engine car insurance cheaper?

In many cases, small engine car insurance can be cheaper. Cars with bigger engines tend to have a lot more power, especially when it comes to acceleration. That means there’s a higher risk of being involved in an accident if you drive one.

Small engine cars are more likely to be found in the lower insurance groups, which can mean cheaper car insurance.

That said, other factors also influence the final cost of your car insurance, even if you opt for a car with a smaller engine.

Will low emission car insurance cover damage to an electric battery?

If you have comprehensive car insurance, your battery will typically be covered if it’s damaged in an accident.

But you won’t be covered for general wear and tear or a faulty battery. Instead, your car warranty might cover this.

Will I be covered if I break down in an electric vehicle?

If you add breakdown cover to your electric car insurance or take it out as a separate policy, then you’ll be covered if you break down in your EV.

Depending on the breakdown policy you choose, it can cover you for roadside assistance, nationwide recovery, home start, onward travel and European recovery.

Can I add additional drivers to a low emission car insurance policy?

Yes, you can add named drivers to your low emission car insurance policy.

Be aware, though, that the main driver must be the person who drives the car most often; a named driver shouldn’t be the main driver.

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Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including Yourmoney.com and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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