Are electric cars more expensive to insure?

All cars in the UK fall into one of 50 insurance groups. In simple terms, the lower the group, the less you’ll pay for cover. But are electric cars more expensive to insure than petrol or diesel vehicles?

The bad news is that, yes, electric cars are more expensive to insure. Let’s consider the evidence.

Insurance groups

Kia e-Niro charging

Take the Kia Niro. In petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid guise, the Niro falls into groups 12 to 15, which makes it reasonably affordable to insure. Opt for the e-Niro electric car and you’re looking at groups 28 and 29.

It’s a similar story with the Hyundai Ioniq. The hybrid and plug-in hybrid models range from groups 10 to 12. Opt for the all-electric version and you’re looking at groups 16 and 17. A small but significant difference.

Meanwhile, the Tesla Model S slots into group 50 – the highest of the lot. This put it on a par with the world’s most exotic supercars. In fairness, though, it does offer the performance to match.

Insurance costs

Renault Twizy charging

The insurance groups are only part of the story. According to a recent Compare The Market report, these are the average annual premiums for five familiar electric cars:

  • Renault Twizy: £362.18
  • Nissan Leaf: £644.75
  • Smart Forfour Passion: £742.32
  • Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SE: £786.81
  • Tesla Model X 100D: £1,450.67

The figures are based on insurance quotes from 1 December 2019 to 1 March 2020.

Last year, a similar study found the average electric car insurance premium is 14 percent – or £116 – more than an equivalent model with a traditional engine. So you are likely to pay more.

However, Daniel Hutson of Compare The Market is confident that prices will start to fall. He said: “Insurance companies are starting to realise that electric cars aren’t just a futuristic fad and insurance costs are becoming more competitive.

Can you get specialised electric cover?

Audi e-tron charging

Some insurance companies offer cover designed for electric vehicles. For example, an LV= policy includes recovery to the nearest UK charge point, cover for charging cables, wallboxes and adaptors against accidental damage, fire and theft, plus battery cover – even if you are leasing the battery separately from the car.

Other insurance companies offering electric car policies include Admiral, Hastings Direct, Adrian Flux, Co-op and Esure. Alternatively, Pluginsure is a company dedicated to electric cars, but all providers should offer cover.

Why do electric cars cost more to insure?

Peugeot e-2008 charging

They’re more expensive because they’re loaded with sophisticated battery technology that is costly to replace. They’re also more expensive to repair, which only adds to the overall cost.

You can reduce your premium by restricting the amount of miles you cover in a year, increasing the voluntary excess and using a price comparison website. Never accept the annual renewal quote from your existing insurance provider.

It’s also worth remembering that more expensive insurance is offset by lower running costs, so it’s important to look at the bigger picture.

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