Every year, the UK electric car market is increasing. It is projected that one in 10 new cars sold across Europe in 2020 will be electric or plug-in hybrid, and here at Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, we’ve seen significant growth in EV sales over the past 12 months, growing by 79% in comparison to the previous year.
Buying your first electric car is a big change, and when it comes to insurance, there’s a few things you need to know.
Confused.com car insurance expert Alex Kindred says “Electric car insurance is basically the same as normal car insurance, but it typically covers a few extras too. For example, when buying an electric car, you’d need additional insurance cover for your battery, charging cables and adaptors in the event of accidental damage, fire and theft. Some insurers will also offer additional cover, including free recovery if you run out of battery power, and a lifetime guarantee on some repairs.”
An electric car insurance policy typically offers the same kind of cover as a normal car insurance policy but also offers cover for:
“As with any car insurance policy, it pays to make sure the benefits meet your needs for both you and your car. But as it’s not as straightforward as standard car insurance, it can be a little confusing to know if you’re getting the right cover. To make sure you’re getting a fair deal for what you need, take time to compare like-for-like prices from different insurers” explains Kindred.
Just like an insurance policy on a petrol or diesel car, providers look at a range of factors to determine the insurance premium for an electric vehicle. Insurance for an electric car is calculated based on the model of the car including its age and performance, as well as the driver's age, experience and location, along with other factors.
Car insurance groups also play a significant factor to car insurance value. Insurance groups vary from vehicle to vehicle but in general, the lower the group, the lower the cost of insurance. You can read more about insurance groups in our UK Car Insurance Groups Explained guide.
It is worth noting that not all insurance providers will provide electric car insurance. Whilst electric cars have been around for a number of years, they are still considered a new prospect for the industry and with limited previous data to base premiums on, some providers refuse to offer insurance for electric cars.
Building up a long-term no claims discount will make your insurance cheaper, no matter what car you choose. Avoid speeding and keep within the law, as points on your licence will increase the cost of your insurance.
Insurers recognise that the fewer miles you drive, the less likely you are to be involved in an accident, therefore it may be worth trying to accurately work out your predicted mileage to quote for your insurer. Many electric car drivers cover fewer miles simply because of the range restrictions of the car, so there’s a possibility your annual mileage will drop.
If possible, pay the full amount of your car insurance when you start the policy, as you will usually incur interest charges if you pay by direct debit. The cheapest method of buying insurance is by a one-off debit card payment.
Many insurers offer discounts if you are prepared to opt for a higher excess. However, it is important to make sure you can afford it as this is the amount you will be asked to contribute towards a claim.
A black box or smart monitor is a great way to keep premiums down, particularly for younger drivers. This type of device monitors your driving style and provides feedback to insurers, rewarding careful drivers who drive with care and consideration and those who stick to the speed limit.
Electric drivers are able to take advantage of Government incentives including significant tax incentives. The UK Government is offering a plug-in car grant with a discount of up to £2,500 for eligible electric cars, as well as grants to help towards the cost of installation home, workplace and on-street charge-points. Company car drivers can also benefit from lower Benefit In Kind (BIK) rates, representing huge savings for the driver.
With a huge range of electric cars to choose from, here are our top recommended EVs to consider with low-cost insurance.
Average annual premium: £438.36
The fully electric version of the MG ZS is a family-friendly crossover powered by a 44.5 kWh battery enabling a range of up to 163 miles on a single charge, according to MG.
Inside the ZS EV is luxurious, with a leather-style upholstery and a spacious luggage capacity 470 litres on top of its bold 17-inch alloy wheels.
Its also cheap to insure thanks to its five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and advanced safety features such as Anti-lock Braking System and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, putting it into insurance group 22.
Average annual premium: £478.91
Small but slick, the Renault Zoe can do around 150 miles on a full charge and costs less than many of its similar-class rivals.
The Zoe comes with lots of great equipment as standard, including a 7kW charger that Renault installs at your home free of charge and more importantly the Zoe has a five-star Euro NCAP rating, including a 100% score for pedestrian safety.
The range of safety features in the Zoe include emergency braking system, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition and blind spot monitoring, which puts lower spec models into insurance group 14.
Average annual premium: £487.77
The BMW i3 120Ah model is capable of around 160 miles on a full charge and has a classy interior along with climate control, rear parking sensors, heated front seats and automatic wipers as standard.
This car also comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and the battery is covered for 100,000 miles or eight years.
Euro NCAP awarded four stars out five to the BMW i3, with safety features including Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control and Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors, placing it into insurance group 21.
Average insurance premium: £631
With a range of up to 170 miles, a 250-litre boot and space for four adults, it’s hard to believe that the new Skoda Citigo-e iV is one of the cheapest EVs on the market.
Handily, road tax is free for the Citigo e iV, and recharging tends to be cheaper than filling up with petrol. For company-car drivers, the 0% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rate makes it an even more attractive proposition.
Available in two trims, the SE and the SE L, both sitting in insurance group 11 thanks to its variety of safety features including Front Assist, Predictive Cruise Control, Side Assist and Traffic Jam Assist.
Average Annual Premium- £736
The Mini Electric Hatchback Cooper SE carries strong driving dynamics and a real-world range of 125 miles. While there’s plenty of cockpit technology and it comes with extra safety measures which can cut your insurance premiums, for example AEB City and AEB Inter-urban which are safety features designed to prevent any rear-ending or low speed collisions.
This electric hatchback is placed in insurance group 22 and is the perfect city car for someone who wants to go electric in style whilst remaining an affordable switch.
Average insurance premium: £863.12
Finally, we have the Nissan Leaf, with its fuelling costs that are very low indeed. Nissan claims you'll spend just £300 per year keeping the Leaf topped-up with electricity at home over an average annual mileage.
The Nissan Leaf has proven itself reliable and dependable as it has high quality standards, but also due to fewer mechanical parts to wear out than conventional vehicles, it is cheap and relatively easy to service.
The Nissan Leaf is packed with great safety features such as Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure Warning placing it in insurance groups 21-25.