After decades of hard work and quite a few technical dead-ends, with associated disappointments, electric vehicles (EVs) are finally a reality.
This should be cause for rejoicing for everyone who is even remotely interested in the environment but some insurance providers have been wrong-footed by these developments and just aren’t ready to join in.
That’s making EV car insurance difficult to find for some owners. Why?
To begin with, it’s necessary to have understand how this has become a challenge for some conventional motor insurance providers.
The traditional way of assessing risk and therefore premium cost in many areas of insurance, including motor vehicle cover, is to look at historic accident figures and the costs arising. Through that, underwriters can work out the risks of insuring vehicle ‘A’ when it’s driven by driver ‘B’. They then price the policy accordingly.
So far so good but there’s a huge problem for them with EVs. The problem is simple – that historic data just doesn’t exist!
This has given some insurers a real headache.
New risks aren’t limited to EVs of course.
In theory insurance underwriters face them all the time but in the case of electric cars, some have declined to offer cover whilst others have opted for safety and greeted the unknown by loading their premiums to cover the unquantified risks. Yet others are offering only reduced levels of cover.
The arguments for higher premiums and limited cover typically include things such as:
- charging cables might be tripped over;
- they’re too quiet and pedestrians might not hear them;
- batteries are expensive to replace if damaged in an accident;
- only a few specialists understand the technology (leading to expensive repairs);
Some of these, notably the battery, are perhaps understandable. Others appear intuitively to be nervous inclinations arising from a lack of familiarity. That argument is supported by going back to the basic question, is insurance for EVs fundamentally different to a standard vehicle?
Typical car or van insurance
Considering for a moment, the typical family conventionally powered saloon with fully comprehensive insurance.
The generic risks covered usually include:
- third party liability claims – should you accidentally knock someone down or damage their property;
- the theft of your vehicle or damage to it from specified risks such as fire and collisions.
These generic risk areas apply to EVs too and the new technology doesn’t bring with it anything different.
There is no obvious reason to suppose that people are more likely to be run over by an electric as opposed to combustion-engine vehicle. Many modern cars are exceptionally quiet and even if EVs are slightly quieter, that as a risk might be offset by the drivers being extra-careful and responsible individuals given they’ve converted to EVs to begin with.
In terms of theft, there is little background for proposing that thieves will be more likely to steal an EV than another type. In fact, the reverse might be true for many reasons including that they’re comparatively rare still and they ‘stand out’ as a result.
In summary, there is little that suggests EV insurance is fundamentally different to conventional vehicle cover – the potential replacement of a very expensive battery following an accident being perhaps the sole exception.
However, it has to be recognised that some underwriters are running to catch up and right now not quite able to offer standard policies. Fortunately there are some specialist providers of EV cover such as ourselves at Specialist4ElectricCars.co.uk who see things differently. Even so, it may be the case that practically your insurance premiums might be a little higher than normal though this situation seems unlikely to last for long.