Electric cars are becoming more and more common, but there some extra things you should consider when it comes to insuring one
The government has announced all new cars sold after 2040 will need to be electrified in some way – either as hybrids or pure electric vehicles.
A motoring revolution like this can’t happen overnight, and that means more and more of us are going to be buying and driving electric cars over the next 23 years.
Car manufacturers are already working hard on developing this entirely new generation of cars, with some new brands like Tesla becoming familiar sights on our roads.
With this revolution comes new challenges and questions in the field of insurance. These first pure electric vehicles are quickly gaining popularity with the buying public. If you’re one of these early adopters – or are considering joining their growing ranks – you might have some questions about the consequences for your car insurance.
Do I need specialist insurance for an electric car?
No. While you can choose to take out a dedicated electric car policy if you wish, insurers like Admiral are working to normalise electric car ownership as much as possible. And this means you needn’t take out any kind of specialist insurance.
As far as we see it, the risk factors involved with electric car ownership are largely the same as with any other car.
What’s more likely to muddy the waters in future is the onset of automation. Cars that can drive themselves – with little or no input from the driver – present challenging questions for insurers about the concept of ‘fault’. And electric cars are at the forefront of this blurring of the lines between car and computer.
What happens if I am leasing the battery?
To reduce the cost of buying an electric car, some manufacturers (such as Renault and Nissan) offer the chance to buy the car and lease its battery separately. The monthly lease amount typically equates to less than two full tanks of fuel – in essence, saving you no money on running costs but doing a fair bit for the environment.
You should notify us when taking out your policy if you’re leasing the battery. There are implications in the event of a write-off, and we will need to ensure that the correct payout is issued to the car and battery’s respective owners.
Are electric cars more expensive to insure?
There are all sorts of things that can make your car insurance premiums more or less expensive, and naturally, your choice of car is one of them.
When determining the insurance group of your vehicle, all sorts of things are taken into account. Among these are the cost and availability of spare parts, and the ease of finding a qualified or specialist repairer.
We also consider whether an accident is more likely because electric cars offer a very different driving experience; peak pulling power is available from a standstill, meaning they often offer surprising acceleration, all in relative silence.
What are the implications for at-home charging?
The growth in electric car ownership means more and more of us will be charging our cars at home, either in our garages or on our driveways overnight.
This presents some interesting questions, like ‘where do I claim if my car catches fire while on charge? My car insurance, or my home insurance?’. The answer lies in where the fire originates.
Firefighters are adept at identifying the origin of a fire. If the fire occurred as a result of an electrical fault in your home wiring, you would claim on your home insurance. If the fire resulted from a fault in the car (and spread to your home), you would claim from your car insurance.
What if someone trips over my charging cable?
If you’re charging your car while it’s parked in the street, there’s the possibility that a member of the public might trip over your car’s charging cable. This opens you up to allegations of negligence and a personal injury claim.
Under Section 4 of your Admiral motor insurance policy (‘Liability to other people’), so long as you’ve taken reasonable steps to prevent such an accident or injury from occurring, you’re insured against this. The exact wording states: “You will be covered for everything you are legally responsible to pay due to an accident in your car and someone else is killed or injured.”
Even if you’re not in the car at the time, the cover applies. You would expect, for instance, to be insured if your car’s handbrake unexpectedly failed and it rolled down a hill into a pedestrian; the same principle applies here.