Electric car insurance

There are a lot of pros to driving an electric car; not only is it a more economical choice, but you don't have to pay for road tax or congestion charge if you live and commute in the capital. And with fuel prices likely to rise in the near future, you'll save yourself even more money by never having to fill up again.

Here at Hastings Direct, we've compiled some useful information on insuring your electric car, so you can weigh up your options and choose the cover which best suits your needs.

The stats

When they first hit the market, many drivers failed to see the appeal of electric cars. But advances in technology mean they've come a long way in just a few years, and now petrol and diesel cars face stiff competition from their electric counterparts.

According to figures cited by the RAC, the number of electric cars on UK roads has jumped by 120% over the past year. DVLA data showed there were over 43,500 plug-in and hybrid cars on the road by the end of 2015, while at the end of 2014 that figure stood at 20,500. To compare, back in 2010 there were a mere 134 electric cars on our roads.

In a recent report, the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) announced it would be allocating £32m in funding to improve the electric car charging infrastructure between 2015 and 2020. It will also be committing at least £200m to bridge the additional cost of ultra-low emission cars.

Government-backed incentives

To encourage drivers to 'go green,' the government's offering grants towards the cost of new electric cars and vans, provided they meet certain conditions. The grant's provided through the OLEV and covers:

  • 35% of the cost of the car, up to a maximum of either £2,500 or £4,500 depending on the model.
  • 20% of the cost of a van, up to a maximum of £8,000.

The government defines the 'cost' as the full purchase price you pay for a standard vehicle – including number plates, vehicle excise duty and VAT. It doesn't include delivery charges, initial registration fee or optional extras.

Electric car insurance

Seeing as electric cars are relatively new, many insurers don't yet offer insurance for them. But with the market rapidly growing and electric cars becoming more mainstream, a lot of providers are now considering providing specialist policies.

Before you take out electric car insurance, bear the following in mind:

Do your research

Some insurers may offer cheaper cover for electric cars. This is due in part to the fact they usually have smaller engines and are less powerful than conventional cars, meaning they're safer. Some insurers also offer premium discounts of up to 5% for drivers of electric cars, as a reward for being more environmentally friendly.

On the other hand, premiums for electric cars can rise due to the specialist repair work they could require if the driver was involved in an accident, for instance. That's why it's really important to set some time aside to research and compare a variety of quotes.

Leased batteries

Some electric car drivers choose to lease the car's battery from the manufacturer, and in some cases this will result in lower insurance costs. If you do this, it's vital you let insurers providers know when retrieving quotes.

If you decide to lease the battery, make sure you have a good read of all documents you receive from the manufacturer so you fully understand your responsibility as the car's owner.

Power cables

Electric cars need to be plugged in to charge, so another important issue to consider is the power cables. When assessing insurance options, check whether the policies provide cover for any damage to the charging device and cables, as repairs could be costly.

You should also enquire about liability to other people who may be injured if they were to trip over the cable when your car's being charged. These scenarios may seem unlikely, but it's better to be safe than sorry and to thoroughly check through policy details.

Lowering your premium

As with all other types of insurance, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the cost of cover. These include everything from parking your electric car in your garage overnight, to limiting your mileage or adding a named driver to your policy. Providers will also reward you if you've built up a no claims discount over the years.

It's not always the best idea to accept the cheapest insurance quote, as it might not provide you with the best protection. Take the time to research different quotes, thoroughly reading the terms and conditions so you know what features and incentives are offered by each provider. Only by doing this can you be sure you've chosen the policy best suited to you.

All information is correct at time of publication. Hastings Direct cannot be held responsible for any misinformation displayed.

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