• Nov 24, 2010
Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Will electric vehicles (EVs) be cheap to insure? While we won't have a definitive answer to this question until the silent rides hit the roads en masse, reports pouring in, based on some key assumptions, indicate that battery-powered autos, the Nissan Leaf in particular, should be less costly to insure than equivalent internal combustion engine vehicles. Here's a rundown of the reasons why UK-based finance company Credit Plus thinks that the Leaf's insurance rates will hurt the ol' pocketbook a little less than ICE vehicles do:
  • Warranty: Nissan offers an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on many of the Leaf's vital electrical components. Lengthy warranties mean that more costs are usually covered by the automaker and less risk is assumed by the insurer.
  • Accident rates: The Leaf, with its 100-mile range, is expected to be driven less than a conventional vehicle. Less time spent on the road means that the likelihood of being involved in an accident drops off significantly.
  • Driving style: In an effort to conserve battery energy, it's thought that many EV drivers will be less aggressive with the accelerator pedal and pilot the vehicle in a more relaxed manner.
  • Uniqueness: The electric vehicle will draw in a unique buyer, one that is educated in autos and cares about the vehicle that he or she drives.
Regardless of the reason, if insurance companies believe that EV drivers are less likely to be involved in a collision than motorists in gas- or diesel-burning rides, then reduced premiums will be the result, thus adding to the list of reasons for buying a battery-powered auto.



[Source: All Cars Electric]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please explain how the car warranty has any impact on insurance, insurance companies do not cover break downs they cover theft, collision, vandalism, etc. No auto warranty covers that so it does not help the insurance rate to have a better warranty. I believe most accidents happen near ones home because most people are overly comfortable so there goes the distance theory. Nissan requires removal off the pack in some cases for painting and other repair so there is another possible ding not to mention the cost of pack replacement. Most Leaf drivers will be over 40 so that helps but if they drive like Prius drivers then expect road rage and rear enders form all the SLOW hypermilers that clog the city streets and get you stuck at lights:)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree with the other commenters here. I'd also like to point out that the 8 year warranty only covers the Leaf's battery. The bumper-to-bumper warranty is 3 years (not that it matters when it comes to insurance).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I will also add that they'll be much harder to steal than a normal car. Car theft is a factor on insurance rates, and short of actually putting it on a truck this thing will be impossible to steal. Even if you did manage to somehow hot-wire it you couldn't get more than 100 miles, and you'd be easy to find.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like the Leaf and I'd consider getting one, but these points don't make any sense to me.

      1. As Mark said, car insurance doesn't cover items that would be affected by a warranty, at least that I've ever seen. If your transmission suddenly explodes, Farmers doesn't give a hoot unless you have some kind of unusual supplemental insurance.

      2. Miles driven is already taken into account with insurance rates. If you're driving shorter distances with any car, you'll pay less.

      3. This makes a little sense, but just as easily could result in Leaf drivers getting into accidents while their eyes are glued to the efficiency gauges.

      4. If that's true, why don't Ferrari drivers get a break?

      Lastly, and I'm sorry if this has already been answered and I missed it: Do even retail Leafs come with that horrific '80s graphic on the side? I hope not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No graphic and they look much better in person. One wonders if the bloggers here know much of anything about autos let alone EVs sometimes. I think the insurance for liability on this car will be lower because of the 40 + and demographics and the collision should be ok as long as parts are ok, big accidents require Nissan to remove the pack and also for painting if in a heated booth. Not a really a huge deal and likely will be like about average overall.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kinda repeating max, but...

      "* Warranty: Nissan offers an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on many of the Leaf's vital electrical components."

      If the author doesn't understand the difference between a warranty and insurance, the author needs to stop writing. Kinda lost all credibility on the first point.

      "* Accident rates: The Leaf, with its 100-mile range, is expected to be driven less than a conventional vehicle."

      In other words "because the Leaf is less useful than a conventional vehicle, you'll drive it less". How about we take into account insuring a second, gas powered, vehicle for trips?

      "* Driving style: In an effort to conserve battery energy, it's thought that many EV drivers will be less aggressive with the accelerator pedal and pilot the vehicle in a more relaxed manner."

      Says who? Hybrid drivers are all over the map on driving styles. Can the author provide data to validate this claim or did he just pull it out of his ass?

      "* Uniqueness: The electric vehicle will draw in a unique buyer, one that is educated in autos and cares about the vehicle that he or she drives."

      Ah, the "we're smarter than you" argument. The educated and caring statements could also be made by the person that supercharged an old 1982 Trans Am (sweeeeet).

      All this makes me wonder, yet again, why ABG publishes this stuff.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Here is the link between warranty and insurance rates:

        Some car owners commit insurance fraud when faced with expensive repairs that are not covered under warranty. They are wrecked, burned, or reported stolen. Longer warranties on expensive car components reduces insurance fraud risks.

        I don't know about the UK (where this story comes from), but I know that in Italy this happens more than you would think.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "* Accident rates: The Leaf, with its 100-mile range, is expected to be driven less than a conventional vehicle."

        Actual use contributes to rate so the historical average miles driven per year by the insured will be the factor used by the underwriters. According to a survey of A1 Auto Ins ( http://a-1autoinsurance.com/articles/?id=48) 52% of all accidents occur within five miles of the drivers residence. Given the Leaf's range, these are exactly the types of trips for which the car will be used. So the short range may contribute to higher insurance rates.

        Given the cost of repair history of hybrids it would not be unreasonable to assume that the Leaf and EV's in general will be more costly to repair, particularly if the battery is damaged, again contributing to higher cost of insurance.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having been seriously injured some years ago by the explosion of a battery being charged, I'd like to offer a vote of thanks to Mr. Neil Young for helping along the real-world actuarial tables for these occurrences.

      Gasoline, of course, is a fairly dangerous fuel (although there are many worse); however, most fires in vehicles are set off by battery charging systems. Absent the gas, there will still be a fire. Charge every night, and the benefit of short drives will be more than offset by a higher risk to the garage. Insurers are careful with their money. This will not escape them.

        • 4 Years Ago
        @comatus,

        The charging systems for these vehicles are designed to prevent over-charging. Neil young's vehicle was custom designed, so it has a greater likelihood of failure. I do not expect major incidents due to faulty craftsmanship from the major vehicle manufactures.

        As far as your charger, I think that that will depend a good bit on the electrician you hire to install it more than the design itself.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pedestrians: Most likely to be hit (I tried the Leaf and this car make absolutely no noise!)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nrb lol

        Didn't you know? the LEAF floats on a magic carpet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Did you drive a Leaf BEFORE the pedestrian alert noisemaker was added?

        Because all the production models in the U.S. WILL have it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Magic tires?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nrb lol

        Didn't you know? the LEAF floats on a magic carpet.
      • 4 Years Ago
      2 Reasons the leaf will be expensive to insure.

      It's geared and built as a perfect CITY car, short distances, mainly city or urban commutes. Where do most accidents happen? in the city. who has the highest insurance rates? City dwellers. You wont see farmer john with one driving down his laneway.

      Cost- Insurance will reflect the complete REPLACEMENT cost of the vehicle, this doesn't take into account the fact you just got 25,000 dollars in tax breaks or rebates, your premiums will reflect whatever the actual replacement cost is. So expect much higher rates than you average compact car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I want to know how much insurance will cost wouldn't I ask an insurer instead of a financing company?
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