Charging Forward - Insuring Electric Vehicles

Every month, more and more electric vehicles join the petrol and diesel cars on the road. But what makes them different and do we need to treat them differently when it comes to insuring them?

So how big is the growth? With the NZ govt and trusts like the Better NZ Trust working hard to promote increased uptake in electric vehicle useage it's no surprise were talking hundreds of vehicles a month replacing vehicles that would have otherwise been petrol or diesel driven.

Firstly let's kick off with the basics for those that haven't yet explored the electric world. There are two main types of electric vehicles:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) - these are a purely electric vehicles, fuelled only by the battery which is charged by plugging into an electric power point, for example the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and Tesla Model S. The Renault Kangoo and Nissan eNV200 vans are also available in New Zealand.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) ā€“ these have two engines ā€“ one fuelled by a battery which is charged by plugging into an electric power point, the other engine is fuelled from a fuel tank and generally uses petrol or diesel. Examples include the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, BMW i3 (range extender model) and Audi e-tron.

So what makes an Electric Vehicle different to a petrol or diesel vehicle? 

Aside from the obvious, there are very little differences between them. Most EV's have got similar components to their petrol cousins with the biggest differences being in the engine and drive mechanisms.  

Behind the skin, EV's share an increasing reliance on technology and computer systems to run the vehicle with modern petrol vehicles. This is now causing issues and increased costs at time of repair which needs to be factored into how and who to insure a modern vehicle with.

Electric Vehicles (especially battery electric) however are outpacing petrol vehicles in their technology. With features such as autonomous driving modes and regenerative braking these vehicles are pioneering new technology with each new release.

What do I need to consider when insuring my electric vehicle? 

The biggest consideration at present is firstly if the insurer can provide a suitable wording.

Now this may seem far fetched but whether your driving a Tesla Model S or a Nissan Leaf the biggest consideration will be how and if the vehicle is repaired after an accident. Currently though with no dealerships for Tesla's in NZ and very limited parts availability for EV's in general, the core of your policy should offer you favorable repair conditions right?

If you are to take a Tesla Model S as an example the only approved repairer for structural repairs is currently in Australia. So if you want to keep that warranty your policy needs to respond accordingly.

Other considerations can include:

  • Sustainability discounts
  • Continuation of Journey
  • Vehicle Useage
  • Limited mileage options
  • Loan vehicles while under repair

At present most general insurers treat your EV as if its a gas guzzler and I'm afraid to say your policy might respond in similar fashion! But don't worry we've got access to specialist insurers and can tailor cover to meet your needs.

If you've got an Electric Vehicle and need some great advice about insuring it, get in touch with one of our team today.

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