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Insuring an eco-friendly car

Things to consider when you insure a green car

an electric car being charged up

You recycle your plastic, paper and glass; you're careful to buy vegetables in season and you don't tot up too many air miles. Is the next step buying a green car?

With over 58,500 new car registrations for green cars this year, an increase of 46% from this time last year (to June 2017), more and more people are joining the alternative fuel revolution.

What are green cars?

We use the term 'green' to describe cars that have lower exhaust emissions than petrol or diesel powered cars, and in some cases have no emissions at all.

You may already know them as electric cars and hybrid cars. But there are also hydrogen cars, biofuel vehicles and cars that run on LPG.

Some of the more familiar names available are the Toyota Prius, a hybrid car that has a petrol engine and an electric engine that work together, and the Nissan Leaf that is a plug-in electric car.

Types of green car

Electric cars

These cars are powered by an electric battery. The battery is recharged by plugging it into the mains electric. They usually produce no emissions and are almost silent when in motion.

Hybrid cars

These types of car combine a conventional combustion engine with an electric motor. The combustion engine charges the battery that powers the electric motor, so they don't need plugging in to recharge.

Hydrogen cars

These cars have a hydrogen fuel cell that powers the vehicle. You can fill up on hydrogen in a similar way to petrol or diesel, but at the moment there are few filling points across the UK.

LPG cars

These are cars that run on Liquid Petroleum Gas. Most traditional petrol cars can be converted to run on LPG. They produce lower harmful emissions than petrol engines and are usually cheaper to run.

Biofuel vehicles

A biofuel is a fuel made from harvested plants as opposed to fossil fuels that come from animals and plants that died millions of years ago. The biofuel is often mixed with petrol or diesel and used in a conventional combustion engine.

The pros and cons of insuring a green car

So you're convinced of the environmental argument about going green and your fuel costs should plummet, but have you considered that insuring a green car may not be so straightforward?

Car insurance companies use a range of factors when calculating your car insurance. Some of these relate to the type of car you drive and others to you as a driver.

When you insure a green car there are factors to consider that don't come into play when you insure a conventional petrol or diesel car.

New technology

Although eco-friendly cars have been around for decades, they've only been in use by the public in greater numbers in recent years.

So their technology and reliability in the mass market is less well known than their petrol and diesel counterparts.

This makes them more of an unknown quantity and therefore more of a risk for insurers than tried and tested petrol and diesel cars.

They can also be more expensive to repair or require the services of a specialist engineer, which could increase costs.

So their technology and reliability in the mass market is less well known than their petrol and diesel counterparts.

Leased batteries

Some manufacturers allow you to lease the batteries for your electric car from them so you don't need to pay for them upfront.

This means that you don't actually own the batteries as part of the car. So, if you have an accident, the cost of the electric batteries may not be included in your insurance cover. Speak to your insurance company to clarify whether they will cover leased batteries.

Cable hazard

If you plug your vehicle in to a public charging point, there is the possibility that someone may trip over the cable and get injured. Your insurer will be able to tell you if you're covered for these types of accidents.

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