How do I insure an electric car?

If you’re deciding whether to jump on the electric car bandwagon by purchasing one of the new electric cars on the market, there is a major hurdle you must overcome.

With mass marketed electric cars still new to the market, the UK’s major insurers are struggling to keep up.

This means buying a new four-seat Peugeot iOn or Citroen C-Zero electric car could lead to hours on the phone finding an insurer willing to insure an electric car and who will not charge the earth to do so.

According to research by TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk, only two out of the four biggest online price comparison websites cater for electric cars and it found quotes of up to £12,000 to insure a Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

These eye-watering prices are a worry for electric car owners, but the website has some sage advice for buyers.

"Our research has shown that the first electric car buyers may need to be patient and hunt around for the best deal rather than accept the first quote they get. It might be a bit frustrating at first, as some insurers are simply not ready to deal with your enquiry, but persevere as the difference in quotations can be simply shocking."

Eventually, it found quotes of £658 to insure the Peugeot iOn from specialist insurer Pluginsure.co.uk or £832 from more mainstream insurer Admiral.

However, this throws up another problem for buyers of electric cars – just who is responsible for damage to the expensive battery pack in the event of an accident?

According to Andy Goldby, Director of Motor Underwriting at Direct Line, the fact batteries are leased from the manufacturer could cause problems with insurance.

He said: "At the moment insurers have not been involved in the proposals on how to deal with the batteries, the charging points and the potential dual ownership of the car. With the speed in which this market is developing it is critical these challenges are resolved.”

Luckily, specialist insurance are available with experience of insuring electric vehicles and TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk’s editor Faye Sunderland believes things will improve.

"Things will get better as electric cars become more prevalent on the road and premiums should start to come down. While electric cars may be likely to cost more to insure than an equivalent petrol model, the difference shouldn’t be eye-watering," she adds.

So, if you’re buying an electric car, ensure you shop around for the best insurance quote, and consider going to a specialist site if the quotes from the larger insurers seem steep.