Electric Car Insurance: FAQs

Q. How do electric cars work?

A. Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by rechargeable batteries, rather than diesel or petrol. The battery is connected to an electric motor which drives the wheels and supplies all other functions of the vehicle. This delivers rapid acceleration, a smoother ride, and a quieter sound.

They offer significant environmental benefits due to the fact there are no tailpipe emissions, and no fuel involved. Charging an electric car takes longer than refuelling, but this mild inconvenience is overshadowed by the promotion of a cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable approach to driving.

Q. Do I benefit from getting an electric car?

A. Across the lifetime of an electric vehicle, they’re cheaper to run. Repairs and maintenance costs are also reduced - with less moving parts, there’s less to go wrong.

It might seem bizarre, but charging your electric car is just as easy as charging your smartphone or tablet. Plug it in when you get home, it charges overnight, and then the battery’s full and ready to use in the morning. Obviously the more you drive, the more charge you’ll use and you’ll need to top it up, but you’re much less likely to experience that “I must remember to get fuel in the morning” feeling.

A well-known fact, fully electric cars create zero tailpipe emissions and therefore less pollution than petrol or diesel cars. You can even reduce your carbon footprint further by using renewable energy sources, so that you can continue to be sustainable.

The perks while out and about are also stacking up in favour of driving an electric car.

  • There’s no road tax if your EV costs less than £40,000
  • You don’t have to pay congestion charges, and have access to clean air zones
  • Free parking and dedicated spaces for electric vehicles isn’t uncommon
  • Charging points are often located nearer to the entrance to buildings, shops, and car parks
  • Some energy providers offer reduced rates for EV charging at home

With electric vehicles becoming more popular, they are holding their value for longer with less depreciation than their diesel- or petrol-powered counterparts. This means that if it comes to selling your EV, you’re likely to lose less on the purchase price.

Q. What else do I need to consider when buying an electric car?

A. You can either buy or lease the battery pack belonging to your vehicle. Buying is as simple as purchasing the car and being on your way, but if you decide to lease it can reduce upfront costs. The stipulation being that you have to budget for this lease every month. Read our article on Buying vs. Leasing Your EV Battery for more information.

Think about how important the range on an electric vehicle is for you. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at EVs with the highest range, but it also means you’re likely to pay the highest price. The average mileage per day for Brits is 20 miles, so if you’re realistic about it you probably don’t need the best range going. For a Peugeot a-208, this would only mean charging your car around three times a month. Of course if you drive hundreds of miles a day, you’ll need to weigh this up.

Charging your car at home means having a charging unit installed, which your dealer can help with - bear in mind it'll cost you around £800-£1,500. If you have your own property with a drive, it’s not a problem to get this sorted. Otherwise, you can talk to your landlord or building owner, provided that you have off-street parking. Without off-street parking, you’re entirely dependent on public charging services, which can be difficult but not unachievable.

When you’re out and about, you’ll need to know where your local charging points are. Although in the UK there are over 57,000 charging stations in comparison to 8,400 fuel stations, it’s worth remembering that electric vehicles take longer to charge than it would take to refuel a normal car. The more popular EVs become however, the higher the likelihood of an available charging port in your area. For now, apps like ZapMap are one of the best ways to locate your closest plug.

Q. Why are electric cars expensive to insure?

A. Generally speaking, car insurance for an electric car is likely to be more expensive than cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE), such as a diesel or petrol car. This can be for a few different reasons:

  • Electric cars cost more than conventional vehicles, and as with any kind of insurance, the more valuable the item, the bigger the increase of certain risks, and the higher the cost of cover.
  • EVs are also more costly to repair. They come with specialised technology and components which are more expensive to replace and will probably need to be dealt with by an expert garage. These costs are transferred to the customer in the form of a higher premium.
  • Another reason for more expensive electric car insurance is the battery itself. The powerhouse of your vehicle, most policies will include battery cover regardless of whether it is leased or owned. This is specialised to an EV insurance policy, along with cover for a charging unit, charging cables and adaptors. Similarly, because of how high-tech electric cars can be, insurers might cover over-the-air (OTA) software updates, which again, can increase the premium because of how expensive it can be to sort out if things go wrong.

Will having an electric car affect my energy bills?

If you’re intending to charge your electric car at home, you’ll probably see an increase in your electric bill. After the initial cost of installing a charging point, keeping your car charged will become part of your normal energy usage. It’s important to consider and arrange a cost-effective tariff so that you don’t end up overpaying - search for a tariff which has lower rates for evenings or overnight. The amount your electricity bill increases by is also dependent on how much you pay per unit of electricity, and your EV’s level of efficiency and battery capacity. Remember that although your energy bill will rise, you could still save significantly on what the ICE equivalent would cost you in fuel.

Other car insurance articles which you may be interested in...

Buying vs. Leasing Your EV Battery Buying vs. Leasing Your EV Battery - Consider your finances, driving habits, and approach to sustainability to help you make the decision to buy or lease your electric vehicle battery.
Hybrid Car Insurance Hybrid Car Insurance - A hybrid utilises a battery-powered motor alongside a petrol or diesel engine. They have lower emissions, and some hybrids which can be charged in the same was as electric cars.
Electric Car Insurance: Help & Hints Electric Car Insurance: Help & Hints - Here are some helpful tips and hints on how to save on your electric car insurance using Cheap.co.uk.