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Electric Car Insurance, The Hidden Story

It’s true, we are guilty as charged of only talking about the benefits of electric cars, EV in terms of performance and that “green” feeling. But who talks of EV car insurance?

Have you ever wondered why insurance companies haven’t done more about electric cars? After all, hybrid drivers have been buying them for some time and the market is set to grow. Why wouldn’t insurance promote EVs and give great prices?

AAA’s Smart EV Fleet. You might not know this but AAA in California has one of the largest electric car, EV fleets with 20 Smart EVs. I set out to go online and find what AAA, as well as State Farms and Geico have to offer in terms of electric car insurance. AAA accompanied me through the inevitable 4 pages of delivering my personal information before I found they didn’t list the Leaf as an EV. The i MiEV wasn’t there for Mitsubishi and Tesla weren’t even listed. Ford’s electric Focus wasn’t listed yet, granted it is only coming out now. As far as State Farm, after 3 pages, I was surprised to see the Fisker Karma, the Tesla Roadster might not be available any longer but the Model S was, as well as the Nissan Leaf. No Mitsubishi i MiEV. Unfortunately the page is Java based and didn’t work on my Firefox and MacBook Air. Finally Geico, after reading I was less then 15 minutes away from a quote, led me through 3 pages showed me the Nissan Leaf. It would have taken at least another 2 pages before finding the rest of the information. It didn’t list Tesla, nor Fisker, nor even the Mitsubishi i MiEV.

Car Insurance Companies Lag In The EV Department. Of all insurances, AAA has a few useful tips and tricks for EV drivers. For instance, its new TripTik Travel Planner is a mobile app, designed for EV drivers that locates more than 2,000 publicly available EV charging stations across the country. While I use ReCarGo and PlugShare, this app includes independent stations as well as those part of a network. ReCarGo gives me the local network infrastructure while PlugShare shows me who is nice enough to share a plug. TripTik could replace the other two. AAA has an incredible advantage over other insurance companies when it comes to EVs. It has an EV recharging truck. It might seem strange the company has such a large EV fleet, an EV charging truck but very little when it comes to quotes for EVs. At the very least, it is ready for the future.

In all fairness, I did the quote search fairly quickly. After all, isn’t that what everyone does? If the average person doesn’t get results within 3 pages, the attention wanes and they go elsewhere. It seems insurance companies could play a decisive role in the adoption of electric cars now that even home charging permits are easy to get, shouldn’t a EV insurance quote also be?


SteveEV (not verified)    May 22, 2012 - 11:03PM

I did not realize it could be that much of a problem. I naively called AAA insurance services and asked for a quote and had an answer within five minutes. My LEAF was insured within ten minutes.

Aaron Turpen    May 22, 2012 - 11:38PM

What kind of "decisive" role are you looking for? I called GEICO and got a quote on a Focus Electric (they treat it as a Focus gasoline) in about three minutes. Since there's no difference between an ICE and an EV in terms of insurability - that's all on the driver - there's no real reason for them to give heavy discounts just because the car happens to be electric.

There aren't any discounts for clean diesel, hybrid, or natural gas either. How many handouts do EV drivers think they deserve? Sheesh.

John Tamplin (not verified)    May 23, 2012 - 11:02AM

I had no trouble insuring my LEAF -- I called my company (State Farm) and said I would be adding a new car, they took about 2 minutes to look it up and gave me a quote for the same coverage I had on my existing car (and it was in line with what I would expect based on the price of the car alone, slightly more than my previous car), and I didn't even have to sign any paperwork to get my new cards in the mail.

Nicolas Zart    May 23, 2012 - 7:44PM

In reply to by John Tamplin (not verified)

Hi John, funny enough, State Farm was the easiest site to maneuver and the most straightforward. As I mentioned above, the idea was to find a quick online quote. Like most people I don't think about calling, probably due to the "press this number for this" rigmarole dance. A website is the first most people think of when doing basic research. My stopped quickly after they had no information or didn't work.

I used to design websites and find most are difficult. They make you give a lot of information away before you get any, in most cases I found almost nothing back. Thank you, Nicolas

John Tamplin (not verified)    May 23, 2012 - 8:03PM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

I think if you are shopping for insurance you are likely to do it online, but in most cases you are replacing an existing car and you have to talk to the insurance company about dropping the existing one anyway. Unless I have a reason to believe something is different since the last time I shopped around, I am likely to just stick with my current company, so I just call them up.

I didn't have to go through any automated system, the number on my card rang the desk of my agent and I was done in under 5 minutes.

Nicolas Zart    May 24, 2012 - 11:54AM

In reply to by John Tamplin (not verified)

It seems these days the two big insurance companies are AAA and State Farm. I'm assuming with the quick prompt you receive, you are on State Farm.

Yes, you usually replace a car and insurance companies would be quick to deal with this scenario. I was wondering about city dwellers who bite the bullet and buy a first. That generation, 20 something would, or could go for an electric car. Also, you have those who just shop around and compare prices.

All good points John, thanks, Nicolas