If you’re planning to insure an electric vehicle, there are some important financial considerations to weigh before shifting your plans into higher gear.
What’s going on with electric cars?
Electric vehicles, or EVs, which are powered by battery packs rather than combustion engines, have been around a lot longer than you may think.
The first electric vehicle was developed back in 1832, but it was another 40 years before auto makers came up with a practical design.
Between technological developments and increased social interest, the popularity of this sustainable alternative has spiked over the last decade as electric cars have become more affordable and more able to travel long distances between charges.
And it’s only been over the last few years that owning an electric car has become accessible to the average consumer. Companies like Volkswagen, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Kia and of course Tesla produce electric vehicles that retail between $32,000 and $43,000.
Do EVs cost more to insure?
While you’re going to save about $250 a month on gas, an electric vehicle will generally cost you more to insure.
Why is that? Car insurance companies come up with rates based on a whole range of factors. So even if you have a spotless driving record, live in a low-crime area and take advantage of some driving discounts, your rate is still likely to go up compared to your gas-powered car.
That’s because electric vehicles cost more outright and are more expensive to repair. The insurance company may deem you low risk to file a claim, but if anything happens to your car, it’s going to mean costly repairs. So your premiums will be set high to reflect that risk.
If your premium with a gas-powered car is $1,000 a year, you’ll probably pay between $1,180 to $1,320 with an electric car, according to ValuePenguin. But, as always, your rates will vary from insurer to insurer.
How do other costs stack up?
Most electric cars generally cost more to buy than standard vehicles. And when they’re damaged, you may have a harder time finding a mechanic qualified to repair them — in addition to requiring more expensive and difficult-to-source parts.
Damaged batteries can add to your repair costs as well. If your battery’s leaking, your mechanic will have to take extra precautionary measures, which will be reflected in your bill.
There’s also the need for a charging station. You should expect to have to pay somewhere in the range of $200 to $1,000 to install your own charging station before you hit the road.
Nevertheless, you can expect your new car to incur lower maintenance expenses overall.
Cutting out tailpipe emissions protects both the environment and your car’s interior as you won’t have those chemicals seeping in. And electric cars also don’t need frequent oil changes or replacement radiator hoses, fan belts or gaskets.
So even with slightly higher insurance, your car budget shouldn’t have to change drastically.
Where do I go from here?
Some states, like California, offer rebates to electric car owners that can also help offset additional costs. And the federal government offers a tax credit of up to $7,500 for some electric vehicles.
If you do purchase an EV and begin the process of switching over your insurance policy, don’t forget to ask your insurer if there are any promotions or discounts you can take advantage of to lower your costs.
Insurance companies often give discounts to safe drivers with clean records. Don’t be afraid to ask in case you’ve missed something in your own research.
Over the year, you could see some significant savings in other ways through switching to an electric car. Running a gas-powered car costs about $3,356 a year, compared to $2,722 for an electric car, according to a study from Self Financial.
But your best option to find savings when you’re looking for car insurance is to shop around for rates. Experts like the Insurance Information Institute will recommend you seek out at least three quotes before settling on an offer.
Shopping around can save you up to $1,100 a year on insurance.
With that done, you’ll feel all the power of sitting in the driver’s seat even when you’re not behind the wheel.