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Does Owning a Hybrid Car Affect Your Car Insurance?

Hybrid cars are becoming more popular in Singapore especially with the high rebates under the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) which aims to encourage motorists to change to low carbon emission vehicles. This is further helped by the fact that the country aims as well to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. At the moment, Singapore’s electric car population stands at 0.18% or 1,125 vehicles out of 631,266 vehicles on the road.

A hybrid car is usually a vehicle that combines both an electric motor along with a diesel or petrol engine. This lowers the car’s consumption of petrol and thus, there are less emissions released into the environment compared to cars that run primarily on petrol and diesel.

All that said, there are a few reasons not all of us are raring to get a hybrid car immediately. There are a few things to consider financially and this includes the ‘little things’ like how much you really save on petrol and will it increase or decrease your car insurance premium. Let’s break down the pros and cons of owning a hybrid car, how it affects your car insurance premium and then perhaps it’ll help you make a decision.

Better for the environment

Hybrid cars consume less petrol and thus produces less harmful emissions which would badly impact the environment. This has made hybrid vehicles very attractive especially for consumers who want to minimise their carbon footprint. Consuming less fossil fuel also means that you won’t have to be at the mercy of ever rising oil prices.

Hybrid cars are quieter

Conventional internal combustion engines (petrol engines) ignite air and fuel thousands of times a minute which can make them quite loud. If you live near a highway or main road, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Hybrid cars driven at lower speeds are powered by the electric motor which produces a lot less noise and are almost silent.

Better fuel consumption and excellent range

For those who are on the road frequently, this is something that might interest you. As hybrid cars are powered by both petrol and electricity, the two systems power the car more efficiently. For plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, this is simple where you simply charge your car with an external power source, much like charging your phone or laptop.

For hybrid vehicles without the option for plugging in, the petrol engine powers a generator to recharge the battery. Then, the regenerative braking system gathers the energy that would otherwise become heat and brake wear to charge up the battery as well. This means that as you drive, you’re charging up your car’s battery which adds on to the range you’ll get with the internal combustion engine.

An added bonus for hybrid owners is if you have a cashback credit card that offers discounts when you pump petrol. In addition to getting more range for one full tank of petrol, you’ll be able to get some cash back every time you fuel up.

| See more: Best HSBC credit cards in Singapore |

Lower maintenance cost

Every time a hybrid car idles or stops, the petrol engine shuts down. Did you also know that if you drive your hybrid car at a slower speed, which is very likely within the city limits, it is relying on the electric motor more? In both these situations, the petrol engine doesn’t kick in which means it isn’t combusting as much leading to less wear and tear. Thus, this could lower the cost of maintenance for the petrol engine.

High upfront cost

Although having a hybrid sounds like a great deal, one of the major cons of buying a hybrid vehicle is its hefty price tag. For example, let’s compare the Toyota Prius+ 1.8 litre and Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 litre. The Prius+ costs $129,888 and the Altis costs $99,888. Even after factoring in the CEVS rebate, the Prius+ still costs $20,000 more! With a higher price tag, your car loan would of course be higher.

Not much difference in car insurance premium

We compared the price of insurance between a Toyota Prius 1.5 and a Toyota Vios 1.5 and found that the cheapest insurance we could get was from DirectAsia for $840 and $801 respectively. There is a $39 difference which actually isn’t a lot. These numbers were based on a 30-year-old female driver with 10 years driving experience and 20% NCD.

| Related: How to choose affordable car insurance to fit your needs |

Conclusion

A hybrid vehicle is definitely much better for the environment compared to its exclusively fossil fuel guzzling counterparts. If you want to purchase one to lessen your carbon footprint, kudos to you! Singapore’s aim of phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 is an ambitious one with plenty of incentives and better infrastructure coming up so having a hybrid vehicle in the future should become much easier and cost effective.

However, if you’re buying a hybrid car in order to save money in the long run such as from less petrol consumption, take into account that its upfront cost is very steep (at the moment) and car insurance will cost about the same.

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