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Why is it so expensive to insure an electric car?

New research shows a surge in drivers looking to save money and the planet with an electric vehicle (EV). But despite a growing desire to plug into a greener car, high insurance costs may be slamming on the brakes.

Around two in three motorists say they would consider buying an EV as their next vehicle , according to a survey of 2,000 UK drivers commissioned by Close Brothers Motor Finance. 

Almost half said they’d switch because they are more environmentally friendly and a third believed they’re cheaper to run. 

But instead of being rewarded for their efforts to combat climate change, drivers who buy an EV are paying more for car insurance or struggling to get cover at all. 

Here, we explore why electric vehicles are so expensive to insure and what drivers can do to reduce costs.

How expensive is electric car insurance?

The cost of insurance has rocketed for all drivers over the past year, but cover for an EV has surged by even more. 

The average quote for comprehensive car insurance for petrol and diesel cars was £824 at the end of September – up 29% in the past 12 months, according to Confused.com. But quotes for electric vehicles rose by up to £959, a massive 72% in the same time.

The comparison site also looked at the average cost of insuring electric cars compared to their petrol or diesel versions. It found cover for a Jaguar F-Pace cost an average of £801, compared with £1,013 for an electric Jaguar I-Pace (which, it’s important to note, costs nearly 50% more to buy).

Some insurers are refusing cover altogether. Last month, John Lewis Financial Services temporarily stopped offering insurance to drivers of electric vehicles – a decision made by its underwriter Covéa. In a statement, the provider said new policies and renewals would be put on hold while they ‘analyse the risks and costs involved’.

  • Find out more: electric car insurance explained

Why are EV cars so expensive to insure?

The cost of insuring an EV will depend on many factors, including your age, occupation, where you live, as well as the vehicle you’re buying cover for. 

Electric cars tend to cost more to buy than petrol and diesel cars, so insurers assume  repair parts or fully replacing the car will cost them more. USwitch revealed last year that EVs cost 35% more to buy upfront on average, and grants have been cut since then.

Another major reason for insurers charging more for EV cover is the level of risk providers associate with them.

Confused.com car insurance expert, Louise Thomas, says EVs tend to accelerate faster, which means they are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. They are also built with advanced technology and parts, meaning they’re more expensive to repair or replace in the event of a claim. 

According to Thatcham Research, a motor research group, claims for EVs are a quarter more on average than for petrol or diesel vehicles. The report also found damage takes 14% longer to fix, with the high cost of repairing and replacing batteries meaning EVs are more commonly written off.

A lack of skilled technicians is also pushing up claims costs. According to the Institute of the Motor Industry, 39,000 UK mechanics are now EV-qualified. This figure has been steadily increasing, but they estimate there could be a shortage of around 16,000 EV-qualified mechanics by 2032. 

Thomas believes we will see the price of EV insurance come down eventually. She says: ‘The costs tied to EVs might be off-putting for some, especially as living costs remain high right now. But as more and more drivers start to make the switch, insurers will have no option but to keep adjusting. And in turn, we should see average prices start to come down as things move forward.’

Ways to cut insurance costs for EVs

Most major car insurers will cover EVs, with some launching specific policies for these vehicles; LV is one example. In addition, there are also a number of specialist insurers that offer dedicated electric car polices. Examples include Pluginsure and Novo Insurance.

With the price of insuring an EV so high, it’s even more important than ever you shop around for the best deal. Price comparison sites such as Compare the Market, Confused.com, GoCompare and MoneySuperMarket allow you to view multiple quotes at a glance. 

Just remember, not all insurers are on price comparison websites: Which? Recommended Providers Direct Line and NFU Mutual are examples of this.

Other ways to save, include paying annually rather than monthly, keeping your mileage in check and avoiding too many unnecessary add-ons. Take a look at our advice on how to negotiate your car insurance.

For even more great tips, check out our nine ways to save on your premium here

  • Find out more: how to find cheap car insurance

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