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Ask Frank: What Do I Need to Know About Electric Car Insurance?

For the most part, electric cars are just “regular” cars. They go when you press the pedal and they turn when you spin the wheel, for the most part, and the only real difference is typically what you’re filling it up with to make it go. Owning an electric car can be a bit different. You might find yourself fielding questions about infrastructure and charging times from your friends and neighbors, for example, but the questions sometimes veer into the less obvious. Most recently, I was asked a question about how insuring an electric car worked, and I really had no idea how to answer it.

Luckily, I had access to one of my motorcycle buddies, Frank Marro. Despite the LOUD pipes on his ’08 Road King, Frank is a good guy, and more importantly, an agent and Vice President at Robertson Ryan & Associates, one of the largest insurance agencies in the country. If someone would know what the differences were between insuring EVs and ICE cars, then, it would be Frank.

So, first question: is electric car insurance more or less expensive than ICE insurance?

“I would say it’s going to be in the same ballpark,” answered Frank. “With car insurance the rates have more to do with your credit and your driving history, so if you spent the last few years getting speeding tickets in a 10-year-old GTI and avoiding collections calls you might end up paying more no matter what you buy, but for the most part there’s no difference in cars of similar value. The real questions we’ll ask are things like, “How many drivers are in the household?” and “Are there any teen drivers?” because those things will change your rate more (than what powers your car).”

That seems to jive with my own experience selling EVs (mostly Tesla trade-ins, which had to be insured before the customer could take delivery), so it tracks. The next question I had was one that my father-in-law asked me when he was looking into putting a charging station in his condo. If there is a greater fire risk for EVs than for ICE cars (there’s not), does your home insurance cost more when you add an in-charging station?

“It actually seems to be going the other way,” Frank explains. “There are a couple of carriers that are going in the direction of giving discounts for home charging systems … it would be just like if your gas car caught on fire. Gasoline is flammable, too, and if you have a 2-car garage, you’re sitting on about 30 gallons of it. The insurance companies consider that risk as well, and the risk analysis people seem to have decided that the risks are about equal because the rates are about equal. But, basically, if the home charging system catches fire in the garage that’s going to be a covered peril.”

Published by CleanTechnica.

Frank and I spent the rest of the call chatting about different things — mostly motorcycles and old friends — but we kept circling back to this idea that electric cars are kind of normal. For the most part. “It’s like anything else,” he says. “If you have a leak in your car or your roof and you don’t do anything about it, any damage that results from that negligence would be on you. Otherwise if something happens that’s unforeseen, that’s what you have insurance for.”

It sounded vaguely familiar to something that another friend of ours, Brent, told me about electric car warranties a few months ago. I mentioned that to Frank, who answered with, “Well, sure. Warranties are kind of like insurance policies. They price them based on risk factors, just like we do.” And the lesson, from both of these guys, seems to be that you want to make sure you’re covered for the unexpected, but that — EV or ICE — there’s already a safety net of electric car insurance products out there, and they already seem perfectly normal.

Original content from CleanTechnica.

 
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Written By

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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