Electric Car Insurance

More and more people are opting for electric cars, not only because they’re more environmentally friendly, but they can also help keep costs down as fuel prices creep up. Here’s how to get a good deal on your electric car insurance. 

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How much does electric car insurance cost?

You may have heard that insuring an electric car is more expensive than for petrol and diesel cars, due to the higher cost for electric vehicles and the need for specialist repair and parts. While that may have been true in the recent past, the gap is closing and in some cases the tables have been turned, as more and more of us make the switch to greener electric vehicles. In 2021, more electric cars were registered in the UK than diesel cars for the first time ever, and the trend looks set to continue. As the market for electric car insurance opens up, you can expect to see a greater choice when you shop around - and that means you could find a better deal.  

Of course, it’s not just the fuel type that influences the cost of your car insurance. As with other vehicles, the cost of your insurance will depend on many other factors including your driving history, where you live and the type of electric car you’re insuring. More powerful electric cars such as the Tesla Model 3 are considerably more expensive to insure than the compact Nissan Leaf.  

Is electric car insurance different to other types of car insurance? 

No, not really. You’ll still be choosing between a third-party only, third-party, fire and theft, or fully comprehensive policy. You’ll still be able to choose between the wide variety of policy extras, and you’ll use the same process if you need to make a claim.  

The only thing to consider is that electric cars tend to be more expensive to buy than petrol or diesel models. This can make them more expensive to insure. However, it’s expected that the price of electric cars will continue to get cheaper, which means this will become less of an issue.  

Do all insurance providers offer electric car cover?

While not every car insurance provider offers electric car insurance, most of them do. As the demand for electric cars continues to grow, more and more insurance providers are beginning to insure electric cars. This is good news for you, as it means there are more providers competing, which makes comparing electric car insurance one of the best ways to get a cheaper quote.

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What are the benefits of owning an electric car?

One of the biggest benefits has to be the warm and fuzzy feeling electric car drivers get knowing that they’re doing their part to reduce climate emissions and save our planet. But from a more practical perspective, owing to the UK’s commitment to net zero climate emissions by 2050, there’s also plenty of financial incentives to go electric: 

  • Reduce your carbon footprint: electric cars produce zero emissions, which makes them so much better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars.     
  • No road tax to pay: fully electric vehicles are exempt from paying road tax. That means you could save £165 a year on your second-year tax rate onwards if you switch from a petrol or diesel car, and potentially more in the first year, depending on the CO2 emissions of your current vehicle. Remember that you still have to tax your vehicle even if you don’t have to pay. 
  • They’re cheaper to drive: compared to the cost of petrol and diesel, running an electric car is far cheaper per mile. If you want to see how much you could save by switching to a greener car, try out our electric vehicle savings calculator.   
  • Repair and servicing costs: electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than petrol and diesel vehicles, and that means there’s less potential for something to go wrong. With less general wear and tear and stress on the engine, and no cam belts or oil filters to worry about, you can expect fewer visits to get your electric car serviced and repaired.  
  • No congestion charge: if you live in or work around London, you’ll be pleased to learn that electric car drivers won’t need to pay the congestion charge. However, you will need to apply for this exemption.  
  • Free parking: some local councils offer free parking spaces for electric vehicles. 
  • Quieter engines: electric vehicles are much quieter than petrol and diesel engines – so quiet, in fact, that the UK government has ruled that electric vehicle manufacturers must install an audible running sound to increase safety for pedestrians. For electric drivers, though, a quieter engine means a more relaxed and enjoyable driving experience.     

What level of cover do I get for my electric car? 

The levels of cover for an electric car are the same as a regular petrol or diesel car.  

Third-party only  

Third-party only is the most basic level of cover, and the minimum required by law. 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 damages to your own car, or for your injuries. 

Third-party, fire and theft

Third-party, fire and theft includes the cover from basic third-party insurance, but also covers your own car against damage from fire, as well as theft.

Fully comprehensive

Fully comprehensive is the highest level of cover available. Comprehensive car insurance covers both the damages and injuries to others, as well as covering you and your own car. It can also include cover for things like legal expenses, depending on the individual policy.

What optional extras are available with electric car insurance? 

You’ll find many of the optional extras that are available for petrol and diesel cars are also available for electric cars. These include:

Breakdown cover 

One of the most common extras - if you’re unlucky enough to break down while out on the road, breakdown cover can get you the help you need to carry on with your journey.

Personal accident cover 

This is usually included with comprehensive policies, but can be a useful extra for third-party cover. If you or your partner are killed or seriously injured in a car accident, this can provide compensation.

Motor legal protection 

If you need to take legal action against another driver, or defend yourself against someone else’s claim against you, this could help cover your legal expenses.

No claims discount protection 

Seeing as a good no claims discount can make your car insurance cheaper, you might want to protect the discount you’ve worked so hard to build.

Courtesy car cover 

This provides you with a temporary car to use, if yours is stuck in the garage for repairs after an accident. Some policies may not guarantee that the courtesy car will be electric or a hybrid, so check carefully if this is important to you.

What else should I consider when buying an electric car?

Switching to an electric car could help save the planet and save you money at the same time. On the other hand, the price tag for new electric vehicles is generally higher than for petrol and diesel cars so make sure it’s a good fit for you before you take the plunge. Here’s a few things to consider when making your decision:

  • Will you lease the battery, or buy it outright? If offered by the car’s manufacturer, leasing the battery could make it cheaper in the short term. Just be aware that you’ll have to agree to certain stipulations made by the manufacturer, which both you and your insurance provider will need to understand.  
  • Consider how far you usually travel. Electric cars don’t always have the same range on a single charge, compared to a tank of fuel. Although the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points across the UK now exceeds 42,000 and is likely to keep growing, electric car charging times can vary greatly when you’re out and about, depending on the size of your battery and the speed of the charging unit. If you regularly make long journeys, you may want to rethink getting an electric car - a hybrid car may be a better fit.  
  • To charge your car at home you’ll need to install a charging unit. The government has grants available of up to £350 to help with installation costs, but as of April 2022, this scheme is only available for flat owners and those in rented accommodation. You can expect installation to cost £500-800.
  • Is an electric car suitable for where you live? If you’re getting an electric car, you’ll want to know that there are plenty of charging points in and around your local area. After all, an electric car is no good without a full battery. Check out the zap map tool to see what coverage is like near your postcode.

If you’re still not sure about getting an electric car, check out Autotrader’s guide to help you decide whether an electric or hybrid car is right for you. If you’re considering making the switch to a greener car, why not see if you can save money using our handy electric vehicle saving calculator?

How can I get cheap electric car insurance?

Car insurance is based on various factors such as how risky you are as a driver, where you live, where you keep your car at night, your age and even what job you do.    

However, there are ways to reduce your premium, such as restricting your annual mileage, increasing your voluntary excess and even shopping around for car insurance deals.   

Electric cars are here to stay, which means insurance companies are constantly reviewing and upgrading their offers. To help you get an idea of what’s on offer, compare quotes with us. It only takes a few minutes to compare a wide range of insurance providers and find a policy that’s right for you. 

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Author image Rebecca Goodman

What our expert says...

“Switching to an electric car is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and with lower running costs and exemptions from road tax, it could end up saving you money too. As more of us switch to greener vehicles, you’ll see a greater choice in electric car insurance on the market, so it’s a good time to see what’s out there.” 

- Rebecca Goodman, Insurance expert

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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between hybrid and electric?

An electric car only uses a battery-powered motor, while a hybrid uses both a petrol or diesel engine, as well as a battery-powered motor.

Electric car charging points are still less accessible than petrol stations in some areas, so a hybrid is perhaps a more convenient option, while still doing something to help the environment, especially if you tend to drive long distances. Some hybrid engines can even charge their battery-powered motor while driving.

In terms of car insurance, hybrid car insurance is different to insuring an electric car. We can help you with that, too. 

Are electric cars cheaper to insure?

Electric cars have historically been more expensive than petrol and diesel models, which naturally makes them more expensive to insure.

Although there’s less that can go wrong with an electric engine, if something does happen, they can be more expensive to repair. Parts may be less readily available and you may need a specialist mechanic to make the repairs.  

However, after the government announced a ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, the electric car market is set to boom. This is expected to cause prices to fall, making them cheaper to insure. Find out more about the cost of insuring an electric car.

Can I get a government grant to buy an electric car?

No, but there is a EV chargepoint grant.

This provides funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle smart chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK. It replaced the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) on 1 April 2022.

Will I be covered for breakdown with my electric car?

Breakdown cover can be added to an existing policy, or taken out as a separate one.

Here are the things a breakdown policy can cover you for: 

  • Roadside assistance: they’ll try to fix your car at the roadside or tow it to the nearest garage for repairs.
  • At home recovery: if you’re unfortunate enough to break down before you even set off, or while you’re still close to home.  
  • Onward travel: either by providing you with a courtesy car, or by covering the cost of public transport. It may even include accommodation for an overnight stay.
  • European breakdown cover: to make sure you’re protected while away.

What is EV (electric vehicle) insurance excess?

There are two kinds of car insurance excess

  • Compulsory excess - this is set by your car insurance provider. If you make a claim on your policy, you’ll have to contribute this amount to your claim.
  • Voluntary excess - this is an extra amount that you can offer to pay, on top of the compulsory excess. By offering to pay a higher excess, you can be rewarded with a cheaper premium. If you choose to do this, just make sure you can afford to pay both the compulsory and voluntary excess amounts. 

Can I add additional drivers to an electric vehicle insurance policy?

Yes, you can add additional drivers to your car insurance policy.

These are called ‘named drivers’. If you’re planning on adding a named driver, just be careful to avoid fronting. Fronting is when you claim to be the main driver of a car, when it’s actually the additional driver who does the majority of the most driving. This is a type of insurance fraud and you can be prosecuted for it.

What happens if I'm leasing the battery on my electric vehicle?

If you have a leased electric car battery, you’ll need to make this clear to your insurance provider when you take out a policy.

The idea behind EV battery leasing is to reduce the initial purchase price of electric cars and give car buyers peace of mind that the performance of the car’s battery is guaranteed for the life of the car. If the performance of the battery drops below a certain amount – normally 60-75% – the battery is replaced or repaired for free by the manufacturer. If the car is sold, the seller can transfer the lease to the new owner without being charged. Car manufacturers will normally also let you buy out your lease if you want.    

What if someone trips over my charging cable?

Although the legality is murky, it’s a good idea to make sure the liability for any accidents or injury will be covered by your car insurance policy, especially if your car is parked on a busy street.

To try and prevent anyone from tripping, you can also invest a small amount of money into a raised cable protector to make it more visible to your neighbours and other pedestrians.

Are electric car batteries covered by insurance?

Although the performance of your car’s electric battery should be covered for a certain amount of time by your car manufacturer, electric car insurance policies will normally include cover for batteries in case they are stolen or damaged in a fire or accident.

When you compare policies, look out for ‘battery cover’ and check whether the policy covers owned or leased batteries or both. If you’re not sure what’s included in your policy, speak to your provider.