Many of us can remember easily the days when people smiled at the mention of “electric cars”. Yet in a very few years, electric cars and other such vehicles have gone from being a novelty or laboratory-style proof of concept to a mainstream choice for many motorists.
The figures speak for themselves ….
- Data from KPMG’s annual global automotive executive survey show that 90% of executives expect battery electric vehicles to dominate the marketplace by 2025;
- The UK is the third biggest electric-car adopter in Europe;
- The Government allocated £35m to boost EV take up;
- Halfords has committed to providing servicing for electric vehicles at all 300 of its autocentres by 2018.
Certainly, electric cars such as the Tesla, Renault Zoe and BMW are technically viable, reliable and extremely well regarded by the buying public and industry experts alike.
In one domain though, that of electric car and electric van insurance, things haven’t always kept pace with the escalating rate of technological advance. That’s why, in this brief guide, we’ll be exploring some of the issues associated with such cover and outlining some of your options.
Why buy an electric car?
Electric cars are very attractive to many purchasers and for a number of different reasons:
- their environmental credentials. It’s now widely accepted that, for environmental reasons, humanity must move away from its near total dependency on carbon fuels and the petrochemical industries. Electric vehicles are a key factor in that ‘green’ approach and large numbers of purchasers are influenced by this fact;
- their performance and reliability. The latest models score very highly in these domains, with many high-end electric cars outperforming their petrol and diesel cousins in both these respects;
- falling costs. As the technology has stabilised and become part of the mass-production mainstream, the real-term cost of these cars has fallen;
- the technological ‘new frontier’. Many of these vehicle types incorporate the latest advances in not only battery-powered drive systems but also SatNav and auto-drive technologies;
- low running costs. Saying goodbye to ever-higher fuel costs and garages is a powerful incentive. True, there is a running cost associated with electric vehicles and some initial road tax advantages may be at risk of coming to an end. Even so, their cost per mile can seem very attractive compared to conventional vehicles.
All things considered, the attractions of this class of transport appear obvious and growing almost by the day.
Why is it difficult getting electric car insurance?
Some proud new owners of electric vehicles have discovered that obtaining Tesla electric car insurance or hybrid van insurance isn’t quite as easy and routine as they’d anticipated. In fact, it can be more of a challenge than obtaining similar cover for a conventionally powered vehicle – and sometimes considerably more expensive too.
There are three main reasons for this:
- the progress in getting this technology out of the labs and onto the roads was much faster than many in the insurance industry had anticipated. To put it bluntly, many insurers did not and do not have appropriate policies ready. In other words, parts of the insurance sector were caught unprepared;
- electric vehicles bring with them certain areas of risk that are unfamiliar to some insurance providers. Examples include power charging cables stretching across pavements, with all the risks that might entail to passing people. These need to be understood and few, if any, ‘past experience’ statistics exist to learn from;
- the most expensive component of an electric car is typically its battery system. As these can be either purchased, leased or rented, there is some confusion over accident responsibilities and ownership accountabilities etc.
None of these issues need to be either showstoppers in terms of finding cover or a justification for excessive premiums – as is discussed in the following section.
However, at the time of writing, significant numbers of insurers still haven’t entirely managed to resolve these matters sufficiently so as to enable them to offer electric car insurance or at least cover that is appropriate and price-attractive.
At Specialist4ElectricCars, we’re pleased to say that we do have such cover available. We provide comprehensive, cost-effective electric car insurance for all types of hybrid and electric vehicles, including Tesla insurance, BMW electric car insurance and electric van insurance.
What extra risks does electric car insurance cover?
Standard motor insurance is typically not appropriate for electric cars, as there are extra risks that it will not cover.
As was mentioned earlier, it is broadly accepted that for insurance providers, there are some new risks associated with this type of vehicle. It’s also indisputable that there isn’t a lot of historical claim data for underwriters to work with in terms of assessing the potential impact of such risks.
Yet these facts should not be used as a justification to radically increase premiums over and above those payable for conventional vehicles. That’s because although there may be some new risks, electric vehicles may also typically offer reduced risk in other areas and that should more than compensate for and offset any new-generation risk types.
Certainly, there may be new risk areas for insurers including:
- battery cover cost issues;
- the much quieter nature of electric vehicles possibly being an increased risk for pedestrians;
- charging cable issues.
These though are likely to be more than offset by factors such as:
- petrol is a far more dangerous substance in an accident situation than a battery;
- drivers who select an electric car are likely to be more environmentally concerned and therefore more inclined towards being responsible and conservative vehicle and road users who are less liable to suffer accidents.
As such, specialist providers of electric vehicle and plug in car insurance typically don’t ‘load’ their premiums to compensate for either the unknown or risk factors that in reality are more than offset by compensating components.
What to check when buying your cover
Of course, it is imperative that any owner of such a car is certain that their insurance provides cover for:
- those above-mentioned battery charging and cabling issues;
- the battery – subject to being clear about where batter ownership resides as part of your overall purchase evaluations.
These two points are worth keeping in mind in the context of this type of policy and where you source it from.
At the present time, the policy marketplace might be seen as dividing roughly into three:
- generalist car insurance providers who may offer policies for electric vehicles which are, typically, heavily based on their existing assumptions about carbon-fuel driven vehicles and their risks. They may extensively load their premiums for battery-powered vehicles due to a lack of real knowledge and understanding;
- standard car insurance providers who will decline to offer cover;
- specialist cover providers such as ourselves at Specialist4ElectricCars who have crafted policies specifically with the driver of an electric vehicle in mind and who have priced it based upon an understanding of the nature of the marketplace.
It may be sensible to look towards specialist providers and to be sure that they have specific policies that have been constructed based upon knowledge of electric vehicles and a realistic holistic assessment of the same – i.e. those in the third category above.
As a consequence, it might also be prudent to be cautious about providers who have simply taken an existing policy and added additional premium to it in order to say that it now covers electric vehicles.
A question or two relating to the length of their experience with electric vehicle policies might aid in your assessment.
There is no reason why you should find it very difficult to obtain cover for your electric car or van.
Equally, there is no reason why you should anticipate paying hugely loaded premiums simply because some conventional insurers don’t yet fully understand this new type of vehicle and its technology.
By speaking with a specialist provider, you should be able to get a fast, appropriate and cost-effective quotation for your electric vehicle insurance. Why not see how we can help? Call us today for a no-obligation electric car or van insurance quote today on 01992 307101.