Hybrid car insurance

If you’re thinking about buying a hybrid car, you’ll need the right insurance to protect it. Here's what you need to know.

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Hybrid vehicles can offer a halfway point between fully electric vehicles and a standard petrol or diesel car. But how do they work and do you need to take out specialist hybrid car insurance?

What is hybrid car insurance?

Hybrid car insurance is simply car insurance designed to protect hybrid vehicles. It covers you in the same way as car insurance for petrol and diesel cars, but can also offer more tailored protection. For example, your charging cable and battery should be covered in the event they are damaged in an accident.

What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car is one that uses a combination of electricity and petrol (or diesel in some cases). Hybrids have a conventional engine, an electric motor and a battery, which means they can offer the best of both worlds. Electrical energy is stored in the battery, but the vehicle also has the combustion energy of petrol or diesel.

Many people are put off choosing a fully electric car because their range can be limited – electric charging points are not yet terribly widespread and you will be limited to the number of miles you can drive between charges. But on the other hand, petrol or diesel vehicles have high CO2 emissions.

If you want an option that’s better for the environment, could reduce the car’s running costs and will mean you pay less road tax, a hybrid car might be the way to go.

Types of hybrid car

There are 3 main types of hybrid car – a full hybrid, a mild hybrid and a plug-in hybrid.

A full hybrid (FHEV), or parallel hybrid, is the most common type of hybrid vehicle. It uses both a combustion engine and electric motor to power the car, which can be used alongside each other or separately.

A full hybrid vehicle’s battery can only hold a small amount of electric charge, so the vehicle can only travel for short distances before reverting to petrol or diesel. But it never needs to be plugged in as the battery can be charged on the move.

A mild hybrid also uses both a combustion engine and an electric motor, but the two can’t be used separately as they can with a full hybrid. The small electric motor is there only to assist the engine and help it run more efficiently.

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) can be plugged in to charge the battery, and can travel much longer distances than a full hybrid on electric power alone, usually up to around 30 miles. If the electric range runs out, a plug-in hybrid will then work in the same way as a fully hybrid vehicle, relying on the petrol or diesel engine.

What hybrid car examples are there?

Examples of a full hybrid car include the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid.

Mild hybrids include the Suzuki Swift SHVS and the Ford Fiesta mHEV, while plug-in hybrids include the BMW 330e, the Mercedes C 300 e and the Skoda Octavia iV.

What insurance do you need for a hybrid car?

You can usually buy standard car insurance to cover a hybrid vehicle from a mainstream insurance provider.

However, you can also buy cover from a specialist provider if you prefer. This is likely to offer more tailored cover for you and your vehicle and may also work out cheaper.

How to find hybrid car insurance

The best way to find hybrid car insurance is to shop around and run an online comparison. Make sure you factor in both the cost of the cover and exactly what is and isn’t included so you have the right level of cover at the best price.

Check whether your policy covers you for damage to the charging cable, for example, and whether you’ll be covered if someone trips over the charging cable outside your home.

You may be able to bolt on extra cover to your policy for an additional cost, but only do this if you think the cover will be worth it.

Is hybrid car insurance more expensive than standard car insurance?

As with standard car insurance, the cost of hybrid car insurance depends on a number of factors, including your driving history, your age, where you live, how secure your car is and how much cover you require.

It will also depend on the insurance group your vehicle falls into. The higher the insurance group, the more you will pay.

Generally speaking, parts and repairs are pricier for hybrids compared to standard vehicles which can increase the cost of your premium. However, as hybrid vehicles become more popular, car insurance premiums are likely to become more competitive so cover will get cheaper.

How to get cheaper hybrid insurance

The best way to get cheaper hybrid insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from several different providers.

You can also keep the cost down by paying for your premiums annually rather than monthly, parking your car on your driveway or in a garage overnight, reducing your mileage and agreeing to a higher excess.

Other costs you should consider when buying a hybrid car

If you’re thinking about buying a hybrid car, be aware that they usually come with a higher price tag compared to diesel or petrol vehicles. However, their running costs can be much lower and they tend to hold their value better.

Hybrid vehicles are not exempt from road tax as zero emissions electric vehicles are, but tax costs are generally lower compared to petrol or some diesel cars. Your fuel costs are also likely to be reduced.

What providers offer hybrid car insurance?

Many mainstream car insurance providers offer cover for hybrid vehicles through their standard car insurance policies. You can also buy cover from specialist insurers.

What are the advantages of hybrid cars?

Perhaps the biggest advantage of hybrid cars is that they are more eco-friendly than standard cars. Many hybrids are self-charging too, so you won’t need to worry about finding a charging facility. Instead, the battery recharges through the vehicle’s engine or braking. This also means hybrid cars can travel longer distances compared to electric cars.

Additionally, purchase costs for hybrid cars are usually lower compared to pure electric vehicles and you’re likely to save on fuel costs compared to a traditional petrol or diesel car.

What does hybrid car insurance cover?

Depending on the level of cover you have, hybrid car insurance should protect your vehicle against theft, as well as damage caused by vandalism, fire and road accidents. It will also pay out for any damage caused to third parties and their property.

A hybrid car insurance policy should also cover damage or theft of the battery and charging cable. It might also cover you if someone has an accident after tripping over the charging cable.

What does hybrid car insurance exclude?

Again, this will depend on the policy, but you won’t usually be able to claim for damage to your car’s battery caused by wear and tear, or the mechanical breakdown of your vehicle’s on-board computers or electronics. You also won’t usually be able to claim for damage caused to your vehicle’s tyres.

Not all policies will include legal expenses cover, breakdown cover, courtesy car cover, key cover and windscreen cover as standard, so you might have to pay extra to add them to your policy.

Are hybrid cars cheaper to run?

In theory, yes, but it depends on how you use your car.

According to the RAC, hybrids use up to 30% less fuel per mile than conventional fuel-powered vehicles, helping you to save on fuel costs.

Savings can be even higher if you use a plug-in hybrid vehicle for shorter journeys, you live in a town or city and you have easy access to charging facilities, as much of your driving will be done using electricity only. If you have a self-charging hybrid, stop-start urban traffic can also work in your favour as it will allow your battery to recharge.

However, if you use your plug-in hybrid for longer journeys, be aware that when the car’s battery runs out of electricity, your car will no longer have such high fuel efficiency and you may be better off with a diesel or petrol car.

Does insurance cover hybrid battery replacement?

Provided you have comprehensive car insurance, the electric battery should be covered against damage caused in an accident. However, your battery won’t be covered for damage caused by wear and tear or if it’s faulty – your car’s warranty should cover you for this.

Bottom line

Hybrid cars have a number of benefits over both standard petrol and diesel cars as well as electric vehicles.

If you’re looking to get a hybrid car, the good news is that you won’t necessarily have to take out a specialist car insurance policy to insure it. What’s more, as increasing numbers of people buy hybrid cars, the price of car insurance is likely to come down.

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