When it’s time to get a new car, opting for an eco-friendly one isn’t just good for the Earth, it might be good for your wallet as well.
- What is eco car insurance?
- What is an eco-friendly car?
- Why should I consider eco-friendly cars?
- What cover should I look for when insuring a green car?
- Is eco car insurance cheaper?
- How can I find eco-friendly car insurance for my regular car?
- How can I help the environment if I drive a regular car?
- What else should I know about reducing my fuel consumption?
- Frequently asked questions
If you’re not changing your petrol or diesel vehicle, selecting an eco-friendly insurance policy is a way to show love to our planet.
Get the scoop on green car insurance.
What is eco car insurance?
Eco-car insurance refers to environmentally conscious car insurance schemes, covering two primary facets:
Insurance Tailored for Sustainable Vehicles
Eco insurance is designed specifically for electric, hybrid, or other sustainably powered vehicles. Given the increasing shift towards electric and plug-in hybrids, coupled with the impending ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in the UK by 2030, a growing number of UK insurance companies are embracing policies for these green vehicles.
While it’s not always necessary to get specialised green car insurance for hybrids and electric vehicles, choosing a policy designed for cleaner vehicles might bring added benefits. For instance, electric car insurance could encompass services like towing to the nearest charging station if your vehicle’s battery depletes.
Certain eco-car insurance policies embed green initiatives directly into their offerings. Some might contribute a portion of the policy’s premium towards carbon offset projects, aiming to neutralise the carbon footprint produced by petrol, diesel, or hybrid vehicles.
Additionally, some insurers reward drivers who actively lower their carbon footprint by reducing their drive mileage. This could be achieved by opting for public transport for certain commutes or other eco-friendly travel methods.
Eco-car insurance not only supports sustainable vehicle choices but also encourages eco-friendly driving habits and behaviours, making it a comprehensive approach to greener motoring.
What is an eco-friendly car?
An eco-friendly car, often termed as a green car, prioritizes reducing environmental impacts. Its design focuses on reduced emissions or potentially zero emissions compared to standard vehicles.
These cars can be powered by alternative fuels, electricity, or a combination of power sources.
Types of green cars:
These vehicles combine a conventional combustion engine with an electric motor, harnessing energy from both sources. Plug-in hybrids come with larger batteries, enabling charging similar to electric vehicles.
For instance, the Toyota Prius.
Propelled by electric batteries, these electric vehicles are silent runners requiring periodic recharging from electrical sources.
A notable example is the Nissan Leaf.
Utilising biofuels made from organic materials like plant matter, recycled cooking oil, or even repurposed coffee grounds, these vehicles offer a greener alternative to conventional fuels. While purely biofuel-powered cars remain less common, many fuels, like the E5 and E10 petrol in UK stations, incorporate a percentage of biofuel. Additionally, biofuel-driven buses are emerging.
Using hydrogen as fuel, these vehicles produce only water as waste. Although still gaining traction in the UK, initiatives like the 2021 UK government hydrogen strategy may bolster their prevalence.
Example: The Honda Clarity FCV.
Using liquid petroleum gas (LPG) which emits fewer pollutants than petrol or diesel, LPG cars offer an alternative. Some vehicles can even be retrofitted to run on both petrol and LPG. Presently, Dacia is the primary manufacturer of LPG cars in the UK.
With a growing environmental consciousness, more people are gravitating towards sustainable vehicle options. In 2022, the UK witnessed the registration of 391,000 ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs), marking a 22% surge from 2021.
Moreover, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) recorded significantly higher registration numbers than diesel vehicles in 2022 — with 36% of new registrations being either HEVs or BEVs, contrasting with diesel’s 8%.
Why should I consider eco-friendly cars?
Traditional petrol and diesel vehicles release a mix of gases each time they operate. In the context of the UK, where air pollution is attributed to as many as 36,000 fatalities annually, it’s crucial to reassess our vehicular choices for the sake of cleaner air and healthier communities.
Transportation, as of 2020, has emerged as the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, representing 24% of the nation’s total emissions.
Digging deeper into these figures, a staggering 91% of these emissions emanate from road-based transport, with cars and taxis alone accounting for 52%.
Our efforts to diminish our carbon footprint, in light of these statistics, undeniably point to our choice of vehicles as a significant factor. Opting for a new electric car can substantially cut down emissions — it’s estimated that an electric vehicle generates merely a third of the emissions of a petrol-powered car throughout its lifespan.
As the energy sector progressively leans towards renewable sources, the environmental advantages of electric cars are projected to become even more pronounced.
Furthermore, advancements in battery technology, improved charging infrastructure, and governmental incentives are making electric vehicles more accessible and affordable for the masses.
Embracing green vehicles not only aids in environmental conservation but also supports technological innovations and a sustainable future.
What cover should I look for when insuring a green car?
When you’re on the hunt for insurance for your green vehicle, select cover that matches your unique situation and requirements.
With the rise of eco-friendly vehicles, many UK insurers now accommodate hybrid and electric cars in their standard offerings.
Still, these policies can differ widely in the breadth of their coverage and the additional perks they might include.
Here are several key aspects to contemplate when securing insurance for your electric or hybrid car:
Running out of Battery
Ensure that your policy provides assistance if your vehicle’s battery drains mid-trip. This could entail towing services or on-the-spot recharging provisions.
Protection for your charging devices
As charging stations might not always be readily accessible, many electric car owners have personal charging devices. Ensure that your insurance covers potential damages or theft of your home charging station, including essential components like cables.
While manufacturers typically provide warranties for the batteries in electric cars, it’s still wise to have comprehensive coverage. Your insurance should safeguard the battery against unexpected incidents like accidents, theft, and fires.
Some insurers have begun introducing eco-conscious benefits. For instance, they might contribute to carbon offsetting projects for every policy bought or offer discounts for lower mileage. Check if such features resonate with your green ethos.
Given that there might be fewer eco-friendly replacements available in case of extensive repairs, it would be beneficial if your policy ensures a like-for-like replacement car, meaning another green vehicle, while yours is in the shop.
Green cars often involve advanced technology that not all mechanics might be familiar with. Ensure your policy covers repairs from specialists who are trained to deal with electric and hybrid vehicles.
By factoring in these considerations and aligning them with your needs, you can secure a comprehensive insurance policy that not only protects your green vehicle but also promotes your sustainable lifestyle.
Is eco car insurance cheaper?
The cost of insuring an eco-friendly car can vary, and it hinges on numerous factors like the specific insurance policy, the type of green car you own, and your personal driving record.
Historically, insurance rates for electric and hybrid vehicles have been on the higher side. This is attributed to the elevated purchase costs associated with green vehicles, pricier replacement parts, and the specialised expertise needed for repairs.
However, as the global shift towards green vehicles gains momentum, there’s an anticipated surge in the availability of eco car insurance policies. An increased market presence usually results in more competitive rates due to heightened competition among providers.
While some insurers may levy additional charges for hybrid or electric cars, others could incentivise the eco-friendly choice with discounts. An essential determinant in the quote you receive is your car’s performance – a green car with lower power might command reduced premiums owing to its perceived lower risk.
Consider the broader picture when sourcing insurance for your eco-friendly vehicle. Factors like your age, the distance you drive annually, your location, and your prior driving experiences play significant roles in determining your premium.
On the brighter side, when assessing the overall financial implications of green vehicle ownership, one should note the benefits. For instance, alternative fuel vehicles are subject to reduced road tax rates. Even better, fully electric cars enjoy a complete exemption from this tax until 2025.
So, while insurance might be one aspect of the cost, the cumulative economic advantages of eco-friendly cars, coupled with their environmental benefits, can make them an appealing choice. Always take the time to shop around and compare quotes to secure the most value for your money.
How can I find eco car insurance for my regular car?
Even if you haven’t transitioned to an eco-friendly vehicle yet, there are steps you can take to ensure your car insurance aligns with a more sustainable ethos.
Choose cover that encourages you to drive more efficiently
Consider telematics or black box insurance. By utilising a black box device or a smartphone app, these policies monitor your driving habits. Consistent, efficient driving patterns can not only boost fuel economy but may also lead to discounts on your insurance premiums.
Choose a low-mileage car insurance policy
By reducing car usage — perhaps walking, cycling, or using public transport more often — you naturally reduce emissions. This has a dual benefit: less driving reduces your ecological footprint and might lead to lower premiums since fewer hours on the road typically translates to a reduced accident risk.
Choose a green insurance provider
Some insurance companies have distinct eco-friendly policies, where a portion of the premium might support environmental projects to counterbalance the carbon footprint from your driving.
Choose a green insurance with green repair partners
Some green insurance providers partner with garages that prioritize recycled or “green” parts for repairs, provided these parts don’t compromise safety. This practice helps reduce waste and promotes a circular economy.
Choose an insurance provider that embraces digital policies
Given the environmental impact of paper production, digital or paperless policies are a small but significant step towards sustainability. Most insurers today give you the option to manage your policy online.
Choose insurance that incentives eco-friendly add-ons
Some insurers might offer discounts if you’ve made eco-friendly modifications to your car, such as the installation of energy-efficient parts or tires that reduce fuel consumption.
Research and Compare
Armed with the right information, you have the power to make greener choices. Platforms like Comparoo help compare various car insurance options ensure you find a policy that suits both your environmental conscience and your budget.
Your journey towards a greener tomorrow starts with making informed decisions today. While transitioning to a more sustainable car is a significant step, making eco-conscious choices in insurance is another essential stride in the right direction.
How can I help the environment if I drive a regular car?
Driving a petrol or diesel car doesn’t mean you can’t take proactive steps to be more environmentally friendly. While switching to an eco-conscious insurance plan is one measure, there are several daily driving habits and choices that can notably decrease your carbon emissions.
Here are some actionable tips, which can not only make a positive impact on the environment but can also be economical:
Bigger isn’t better when it comes to driving green
The larger the vehicle, the greater its emissions and fuel consumption. Assess your genuine needs — if you often drive solo or with just one passenger, do you really need that expansive SUV or seven-seater?
Sharing your journey reduces emissions and saves you money
Sharing rides for common routes, be it for daily commutes or school runs, is a brilliant way to slash emissions and costs. Carpooling means fewer vehicles on the road, translating to decreased carbon footprints and shared fuel expenses.
A heavier car demands more energy to move, increasing fuel consumption. To drive lighter:
- Periodically clean out your boot and rear seats of unnecessary items.
- For short commutes, consider partially filling your fuel tank.
- If not in use, remove accessories like roof racks which add extra weight and create wind resistance.
Rethink Your Trips
Before hopping into the car, consider if the journey is essential. Maybe you can combine multiple errands into one trip? Opt for walking or cycling for shorter distances, like fetching a few groceries. Using public transit occasionally, especially for longer routes, can further reduce your car’s emissions.
Adopt smooth driving habits. Rapid accelerations, excessive idling, and hard braking can increase fuel usage. Consistent speeds, especially on highways, can optimise fuel efficiency.
A well-maintained car runs more efficiently. Regularly check tire pressure, replace air filters, and ensure timely oil changes. All these can improve mileage and reduce emissions.
Air Conditioning Use
While AC is indispensable at times, it can increase fuel consumption. Use it judiciously, and consider using the car’s ventilation system when the weather is milder.
Staying informed about eco-driving techniques and technologies can further guide your choices. For instance, newer models of traditional cars often come with start-stop systems that save fuel during idle periods.
Driving less frequently means reduced annual mileage, which can be a parameter for securing a discount on your car insurance premium. Taking such active steps can make a tangible difference, ensuring that you tread lighter on the planet while driving your conventional vehicle.
What else should I know about reducing my fuel consumption?
Two wheels are better than four: Two-wheel drive vehicles often have a fuel advantage over their four-wheel counterparts. If you’re contemplating the necessity of a 4×4, evaluate your regular driving patterns. The allure of a 4×4 may be enticing, but if your most challenging terrain is a slightly raised pavement, then a two-wheel drive might be more practical and economical for you.
Drive Proactively: Being a predictive driver has multiple benefits. By keeping an eye on the road ahead and anticipating changes, you can reduce sudden accelerations and heavy braking. Not only does this enhance safety, but it also facilitates smoother driving, which is friendlier to your fuel gauge.
Tyre Maintenance: Keeping your tyres in optimal condition is pivotal. Under-inflated tyres not only pose safety risks but can also put a dent in your fuel efficiency. Make it a habit to check tyre pressure regularly and maintain it as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Reduce Idle Time: If you find yourself at a prolonged stop, like waiting for a train crossing or stuck in slow-moving traffic, consider turning off your engine. Extended idling can waste a significant amount of fuel over time.
Mind the Weight: Avoid carrying unnecessary weight in your vehicle. The heavier the car, the harder the engine has to work and the more fuel it consumes. Regularly clear out any extraneous items from your boot.
Service Regularly: Regular servicing ensures that your car’s engine operates at its most efficient. An engine that’s running smoothly and efficiently will use less fuel.
Drive in the Right Gear: Ensuring you’re in the correct gear can make a marked difference in fuel consumption. Higher revs generally mean more fuel usage, so shifting up at the right time can be fuel-saving.
Choose Routes Wisely: Sometimes, the shortest route isn’t the most fuel-efficient. Opting for roads with less stop-and-go traffic, even if a bit longer, can be more economical in terms of fuel.
Being conscious of these elements not only helps in conserving fuel but also in prolonging the lifespan of your vehicle and ensuring a safer driving experience.
Frequently asked questions
Carbon offsetting in the context of eco-friendly car insurance refers to the insurer’s commitment to neutralise a portion or all of the emissions resulting from your vehicle.
They achieve this by allocating funds to ecological and societal initiatives designed to reduce carbon emissions.
This can involve initiatives such as tree planting, which actively extracts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or supporting sustainable infrastructure projects in emerging economies.
As of 2022, the UK government declared that the plug-in grant scheme for zero-emission cars would no longer apply.
However, the program remains in place for qualifying wheelchair-accessible vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, vans, trucks, and taxis.
For landlords or renters residing in flats or apartments, there’s an opportunity to receive a grant of up to £350 towards setting up an electric vehicle charging unit at their residence.
Furthermore, if you’re considering transitioning to a more eco-friendly vehicle, various local car scrappage schemes might provide financial support. Such initiatives are currently operational in locations like London, Birmingham, and select regions in Scotland.
As of July 2023, the UK boasts 45,737 public electric vehicle charging stations spread across 26,805 sites.
While the density of these charging units might differ based on your location, it’s noteworthy that there was a fourfold surge in the number of charging points from 2016 to 2022.
To further bolster this growth, the UK government has initiated a grant program, motivating local councils to expand the existing infrastructure.
Cars with zero emissions, such as those that are fully electric or run on hydrogen, can get a 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge up until 25 December 2025.
To benefit from this discount, drivers need to register with Transport for London (TFL), provide a copy of their V5C registration certificate as evidence, and cover an annual charge of £10.
Car insurance blog
Video by Kindel Media