Electric car insurance

If you're thinking about buying an electric car, consider your cover options and how to pay less for electric car insurance.

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As more electric cars pop up on UK roads, you may be considering making the switch and driving one yourself. Until 2025, you can tax your electric car without paying a penny, and you won’t have to pay the London congestion charge.

Choosing to drive an electric car can be a “greener” step in the right direction but don’t be left out of pocket when insuring it. Read our guide to discover how electric car insurance differs from traditional cover, and how you could save on your premium.

What is electric car insurance?

Electric car insurance is, as the name suggests, insurance for electric cars. The more important question is: How is it different from regular car insurance?

Does car insurance for electric vehicles work differently?

In many ways it’s the same as for any other car. You don’t need a special type of insurance for an electric vehicle (EV); most mainstream insurers will happily offer you a quote for an electric car. And, just like regular car insurance, electric car insurance premiums are calculated based on a number of factors. The car’s value, age and performance, as well as the driver’s age, driving history and location, will all be considered.

But there can be subtle differences. EVs are still a pretty new phenomenon, so some insurers may be hesitant to offer cover for them, though this is rapidly changing as they become more popular. And, conversely, there are some specialist providers and policies that may offer features more tailored towards EVs.

Insurers may also give more consideration to certain factors for EVs than they do for petrol or diesel cars. For example, electric cars rely heavily on new technology, which may be more expensive to repair. The electric battery that powers EVs, in particular, can be pricey to replace.

While some factors have the potential to increase the cost of car insurance, electric cars are becoming more mainstream. By 2030, when the sale of new fully petrol and diesel cars will be banned, EVs will be a more common sight on UK roads. Increased ownership is likely to bring down the cost of parts and repairs, and it’s likely the cost of insurance will follow.

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

You can get the same levels of cover for an electric car as are available with any other type of car. These are:

  1. Third-party insurance. This covers you for damage to other people’s cars and property if you cause an accident, but it won’t cover any damage to your car or injuries to you or your passengers. Third-party insurance is the minimum legal requirement to drive a car.
  2. Third-party, fire and theft. As well as damage to other people’s cars and property, third-party, fire and theft covers your own car if it is damaged by fire or stolen.
  3. Fully comprehensive. Covers both other people’s cars and property and your own in the event of damage in an accident, as well as protecting your car if it is stolen or fire-damaged. It’s the highest level of car insurance and, contrary to what you might expect, often isn’t more expensive than a third-party policy.

What extra policy features are available with electric car insurance?

Electric car insurance typically has all of the features you can get with a regular car insurance policy, either as standard or as add-ons, such as courtesy car cover or breakdown cover.

When you’re insuring an electric car, you should also make sure your policy includes:

  • Electric battery cover for any damage done to or theft of your battery. Also bear in mind that with some EVs, particularly older models, you lease the battery on a separate contract from owning the vehicle. If this is the case, you’ll need to make sure the insurance company is aware.
  • Cover for the portable charging cables. These are essential to recharge your car when you’re out and about, so make sure you’re covered in case they’re lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Liability cover. You’ll need this in the event that someone trips over the charging cable while it’s in use, is injured and makes a claim against you.

How much does electric car insurance cost?

As with all cars, the cost of insurance for electric cars will vary depending on your personal circumstances. Very young drivers, for example, will usually pay more for their insurance regardless of the type of car. That’s because industry data shows that they are more likely to make an insurance claim.

One key factor that affects the cost of insurance is the car insurance group that a car falls into. A car’s insurance group is heavily influenced by the purchase price of a new car, and the likely cost of repairs.

Are electric cars cheaper to insure than petrol or diesel cars?

Electric cars are, on average, much more expensive than petrol or diesel cars to buy new, and their specialist technology means that repairs can be pricier too. These factors mean that electric cars are usually placed in higher insurance groups than petrol and diesel cars of a similar size and class range. Typically, the higher the insurance group, the higher the insurance premium.

For example, the fully-electric Renault Zoe is in insurance groups 14-22, depending on the specific model. The cheapest versions of the similarly-sized, traditionally-fuelled Renault Clio are in groups 3 or 4. Only the highest-end and often more powerful models in the Clio range are in groups 14 or above.

That said, early adopters of electric cars tend to have ethical values. Some sources suggest that this makes them safer, more conscientious, and lower-risk drivers. This could result in them being offered lower rates.

Example electric car insurance premiums

To give you an idea of the differences in insurance costs for a petrol car and its electric equivalent, we ran quotes on a popular price comparison site for a petrol version of the Vauxhall Corsa and the Vauxhall Corsa Electric. Here’s what we were quoted in January 2023 for a 30-year-old teacher living in London and using their car for social and commuting purposes.

Vauxhall Corsa E SE PremiumVauxhall Corsa 1.2 SE Edition
FuelElectricPetrol
Year of manufacture20212021
Approximate market value£21,500£13,500
Insurance group24E10E
Cheapest quote£1,129 (black box policy)£771 (black box policy)
Average of 5 cheapest quotes£1,288£860

As you can see, the cheapest quotes for the electric version of the Corsa are around 50% higher than for the petrol version.

Will my electric car be cheap to insure?

If you’re thinking of buying an electric car, your primary motivation is likely to be its lower eco-footprint and, potentially, it’s lower running costs. It probably isn’t cheap insurance. Which is just as well, as insurance for electric cars tends to be more expensive than the closest equivalent petrol or diesel versions.

That said, there are plenty of ways to avoid paying more than you need to, whether that’s opting for an electric car in a lower insurance group, or making sure you shop around for the cheapest insurance. So don’t just accept the first premium you’re offered; you should be able to get a competitive quote with relatively little legwork.

Do all insurance providers offer electric car insurance?

Most insurers will happily insure your electric car as part of their standard quote process, but some may not. If you’re switching to an electric car don’t assume your preferred insurer will definitely cover you.

This means you may need to put in a bit more effort shopping around, including checking specialist policies, to find a policy that’s right for you.

That said, electric car insurance is already far more widely available than it was when the electric car industry was in its infancy. As electric cars become more popular, it’s likely that electric car insurance will become more widely available and, potentially, cheaper.

Which providers offer specialist electric car insurance?

A quick Google search for “specialist electric car insurance” will land you a bumper crop of insurers that offer cover specifically for electric cars, including a number of brokers. That said, there are plenty of mainstream insurers that offer electric car insurance, and some tailor their policies specifically for this. Check that mainstream providers offer the cover you want though.

What are the benefits of using a specialist electric car insurance provider?

Specialist insurers may sometimes offer extra features designed specifically for electric cars, such as liability cover in case a passer-by injures themselves tripping over your charging cable. Not every mainstream provider may offer this.

Plus, because they offer cover specifically designed for electric cars, you may sometimes find that specialists offer equivalent cover to mainstream providers at a lower price. So it’s worth checking both mainstream providers and specialists.

Does electric car insurance cover batteries and charging cables?

Typically, yes. The majority of electric car policies are clear that they cover both damage to or theft of EV batteries and the loss, damage or theft of charging cables. Some, but not all, policies also offer liability cover in case someone trips over a trailing charging cable and injures themselves.

Bear in mind that “wear and tear” is unlikely to be covered under your insurance. So if your battery simply runs out of juice one day without an incident that’s caused it, your insurance won’t cover it. It may, however, be covered under your car’s warranty instead.

How can I get cheaper electric car insurance?

  • Choose a cover level that suits you. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third-party or third-party, fire and theft so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who typically get third-party cover.
  • Increase security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Limit your mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a higher voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Add experienced drivers. Adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy lowers the risk and could help to lower the premium.
  • Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want, as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
  • Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
  • Limit modifications. Any modifications made to your car to make it look better or drive faster are likely to increase your premium so think carefully before making any changes.
  • Shop around. Don’t simply choose to renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need to. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy, so check the cover details carefully.

What government grants can you get for an electric vehicle?

Until mid-2022, all electric cars qualified for a government grant to help with the high purchase cost and encourage uptake. However, this has now been scrapped for most cars, and only certain vehicles (including vans, motorbikes and wheelchair-accessible vehicles) still qualify. You can find out more on the gov.uk website.

There also used to be a grant available to all homeowners to install electric car wall chargers at home, that covered up to 75% of the cost (up to a maximum of £350). This is now only open to those who live in flats and those in rental accommodation. If you own a house, you’re out of luck.

Some people that live in Scotland may qualify for extra support to install a charger via the Energy Saving Trust, depending on exactly where they live and how they bought their car.

Car insurance for hybrid vs electric cars

Hybrid cars offer a halfway house between going fully electric and sticking with a traditionally-fuelled car. But, while hybrids use petrol (or, in some cases, diesel), they also have some of the same elements as electric cars that need to be taken into consideration when buying insurance.

Exactly what cover you’ll need depends on the type of hybrid you have. For example, all hybrid cars have an electric battery as well as the standard 12v battery that all cars have (to power the car’s electronics, such as any alarms). But only plug-in hybrids will have an electric battery that needs to be plugged in to charge, and so will require insurance for charging cables.

There are more hybrid cars on UK roads than there are electric ones, and so prices for the cars themselves are often more competitive than fully electric models. This, among other things, can in turn affect the insurance group they fall into, and thus the insurance premiums you’re likely to pay.

If you’re debating the merits of a hybrid vs an electric car, and insurance cost is one of your considerations, you can find out more in our full guide to hybrid car insurance.

Should I get electric car insurance?

Danny Butler

Finder insurance expert Danny Butler answers

Is this a trick question? Legally, you have to have at least third-party car insurance to drive any car on UK roads – including electric cars. And given that the insurance you buy is linked to the model of car, as well as your personal circumstances, then if you have an electric car then you will have to have electric car insurance.

It’s not hard to get – simply putting your licence plate number into an insurer’s or price comparison site’s quote engine will automatically identify your car as electric and trigger certain features to be included, such as cover for an electric car’s battery and charging cables. As with any car, quality of cover will vary, so make sure your chosen policy has the features you want as well as being reasonably-priced.

What are the pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle?

Pros

  • No road tax or congestion charges (for now). Fully-electric, zero-emission cars are exempt from both until 2025, when they’ll start to be liable for both (road tax from April and London congestion charge from late December).
  • Better for the environment. Because they don’t produce any emissions, electric cars are much “greener” than cars that use petrol or diesel.
  • Low running costs. Home electricity costs are lower than petrol or diesel, so if you’re able to install a home charger, you’ll pay less to power your car. Public EV charging costs can be much more expensive, though.

Cons

  • Higher purchase prices. EVs are still relatively new, and their advanced technology means they’re more expensive than equivalent petrol or diesel cars.
  • Pricey public charging costs. Plan ahead if you’re going on a journey that exceeds your car’s maximum driving range; some public chargers can cost the earth.
  • Insurance may be more expensive. EVs tend to be in higher car insurance groups, which can boost insurance premiums. This may change as electric cars become more mainstream, though.

Finder survey: What proportion of us would consider buying an electric car?

Response
No51.94%
Yes48.06%
Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of Brits, December 2023

Bottom line

As electric cars grow in popularity, more and more insurers are offering electric car insurance. This includes both electric car insurance specialists and mainstream providers. There are factors that can make electric car insurance pricier than regular car insurance, such as higher up-front and repair costs. But there are many other things that affect the cost of car insurance too, for better or worse, and premiums for electric car insurance are becoming increasingly competitive. The same cost-cutting principles apply as when you’re insuring any car: safe driving habits, strong car security measures and, crucially, shopping around, can all help you secure cheaper car insurance.

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*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (Feb ’24). 51% of car insurance customers could save £561.39

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