Low emission car insurance

Cars with low fuel emissions not only help the environment, they’re also cheaper to run. No surprise then that they’re increasingly popular with car buyers in the UK.

Car makers are investing heavily in hybrid and electric only cars, so there’s a growing choice if you want to go green.

Cars with low fuel emissions not only help the environment, they’re also cheaper to run. No surprise then that they’re increasingly popular with car buyers in the UK.

Car makers are investing heavily in hybrid and electric only cars, so there’s a growing choice if you want to go green.

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

With the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars edging ever closer, along with the tightening of rules around low emission zones in some cities, sales of environmentally friendly cars in the UK are soaring.

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

By choosing a low emission car you’re not only helping the environment, you can also give your bank balance a boost as they can be cheaper to run than traditional petrol and diesel cars. However, you’ll need to factor in the initial upfront cost, which is still significantly higher than older cars.

Do low emissions affect my insurance?

There’s a lot of factors that affect your insurance cover, from the car you drive to your profession. The insurance industry has helpfully attributed an insurance group, with categories ranging from 1 to 50, to every model of vehicle on the road. As new models come to market, they’re assigned a rating by insurance providers. Data is used from information collected by Thatcham Research to help define the right group.

Insurance groups can give you an idea of the cost of your insurance. However, they won’t show the full picture as there are lots of other elements that go into calculating the price.

Car insurance groups take into account:

  • Repair costs
  • Repair times
  • New car values
  • Parts prices
  • Performance of the vehicle, eg 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

Let’s look at a selection of low emission cars and see what insurance groups they’re in:


Emissions (CO2g/km)

Insurance group 1-50

BMWi3 standard



Fiat Panda 1.2L



Nissan Leaf Acenta+



Nissan Micra 1.2L



Renault Zoe



Skoda Citigo 1.0L



Suzuki Celerio 1.0L



Tesla Model S



Toyota Prius 1.8 VVTi Active



VW Up! 1.0L



Can I get insurance for an electric car?

Electric cars are becoming more popular, but they’re still in the minority when compared to traditional cars. Although not every motor insurance provider offers cover for an electric car, most of them will.

When you insure an EV, it’s not quite the same as insuring a regular petrol or diesel car. 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?

If you have a car that runs on a combined petrol engine and battery-powered electric motor, you’ll need to insure it just as you would with any other type of car.

Hybrid car insurance has historically been more expensive than cover for a standard petrol car as the cost of parts are likely to be higher. But the cost isn’t significantly different nowadays. The price you pay depends more on your personal circumstances, claims history and value of your car than what it runs on.

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 types of insurance 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. This only covers the costs for other people’s damages or injuries when the accident is your fault. You won’t be able to claim for damage to your own car, or for your injuries
  • Third party, fire and theft includes the cover from basic third-party insurance but also covers your own car against theft and damage from fire
  • Fully comprehensive is the highest level of cover. It protects against damage and injuries to others, as well as covering you and your own car. It can also include cover for legal expenses.

Compare car insurance

The good news is that many low emission vehicles are in low insurance groups, which could mean cheaper insurance for you. This is less likely to be directly to do with the emission values themselves though. It’s simply that these types of vehicle are relatively economical to repair and limited in performance terms.

But as so many things affect the cost of insurance, the best way to get cheaper car insurance is to compare car insurance prices. Why not try it today and see if you can save? Simply give us details about yourself and the car you’re thinking about and let us do the rest.

Frequently asked questions

Will car insurance cover damage to an electric battery?

If you have comprehensive car insurance, your battery will be covered if it’s damaged by an accident or an at-fault driver who caused the accident. But you won’t be covered for general wear and tear or a faulty battery. For this, you’ll need to check your car warranty instead.

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

You can add breakdown cover to an existing car insurance policy or take it out as a separate policy. It provides you with help if your EV runs into any mechanical problems while on the road. 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 other named drivers to your low emission car insurance policy. If you do this, just be careful to avoid fronting. This is when you claim to be the main driver of a car, but a higher-risk driver actually does most of the driving. This is a type of insurance fraud and you can be prosecuted for it.

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