Owners of the earliest electric cars often had to contend with higher insurance premiums than they had come to expect. When EVs first came on sale in the UK, insurance companies struggled to categorise them, concerned that they would be more expensive to repair than conventional cars and that there were fewer workshops equipped to handle them.
The good news, however, is that as electric vehicles have become more commonplace, insurers have more and more data to assess premiums – and that data shows that the claims of expensive repairs no longer stack up.
A 2020 report from price comparison website Compare the Market actually shows that electric car insurance is now nearly £90 cheaper than a comparable average petrol or diesel vehicle.
Compare the Market’s research showed that the average premium for electric car insurance over the past year was £629, compared to £718 for petrol and diesel cars. And that figure was even lower for drivers who were prepared to shop around, with the average cheapest premium coming in at £527 for an electric car versus £595 for petrol or diesel drivers.
Where Do Electric Cars Sit In The Insurance Group Table?
All cars in the UK are classified in one of 50 insurance groups. The rule of thumb says that the more powerful and expensive your car (and hence the more expensive it might be to repair or replace), the higher its group number.
An industry-wide insurance advisory service, Thatcham Research, oversees the Association of British Insurer’s Group Rating system. They score all makes and models of cars into the different insurance groups based on a range of categories. These include their price, power, safety and security features, as well as things like the cost of repairs, should the vehicle get into an accident.
Because of the perceived cost of repairing or replacing the sophisticated parts in an electric car, they have tended to be placed in higher groups than their petrol or diesel equivalents.
So for example, the different versions of the electric Nissan Leaf sit in groups 20-25 compared to a petrol-powered Ford Focus, which falls between groups 7-14.
But that higher grouping doesn’t automatically mean higher insurance premiums any more. Insurers are discovering that electric cars are often driven better and more safely by their owners, and repairs are consequently lower than anticipated.
In Compare the Market’s December 2020 Premium Drivers Report they found that the average annual cost to insure a Ford Focus Ghia was £716.65, whereas the average insurance cost to cover a Nissan Leaf Tekna was just £553.97.
What Can You Do To Get The Lowest Possible Quote?
Many factors come into generating an accurate quote for your car insurance. These can include how risky you are as a driver, where you live, where you keep your car at night, your age and even what job you do.
However, there are ways to reduce your premium, such as restricting your annual mileage, increasing your voluntary excess and, of course, shopping around for the best car insurance deals. If you can afford to, paying your premium in a single annual instalment nearly always works out cheaper than going for monthly instalments.
You should also ask your insurer if they have policies that use a telematics ‘black box’ to monitor your driving style. The device assesses how fast you tend to drive, if you brake and accelerating smoothly and whether you corner gently or at speed. Safe, sensible drivers can be rewarded with premiums up to 20% lower than normal policies.
Finally, you could consider a dash cam – a small camera that sits on the dashboard or beside the rear-view mirror to keep a video record of what's happening ahead of you. In the event of an accident this footage can help to prove who was in the wrong and whether or not your insurer will pay out. And some insurers will also offer discounts for dash-cam users, so it’s worth checking their policy before investing in one.