According to Carl Shuker, the UK and Ireland boss of Howden Group, electric vehicle (EV) drivers are experiencing more accidents due to their unfamiliarity with the powerful acceleration of EVs. Shuker cited data showing that EV drivers tend to make claims more frequently and for larger amounts compared to their petrol car counterparts, leading to higher insurance premiums.
This discrepancy has been attributed by experts and car manufacturers to the lack of specialized mechanics and the high costs associated with replacing damaged EV batteries or components.
Shuker, however, emphasized that the increased frequency of claims is primarily a result of the higher power of EVs in comparison to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, catching some drivers off guard. EVs, fueled by batteries, can accelerate more rapidly than petrol cars, generating torque almost instantly.
Shuker noted that EV drivers file claims for accidental damage at a rate of around 9%, compared to approximately 7% for petrol car drivers. Additionally, claims made by EV drivers tend to be 35% higher in value.
Shuker pointed out that the technology-packed nature of EVs, coupled with the vulnerability of their batteries to damage even in minor accidents, contributes to the higher claim amounts.
Since batteries often constitute half the total value of an EV, even minor damages can significantly impact insurance calculations, potentially leading to write-offs and increased premiums for all EV drivers. Shuker highlighted the risk of damaging the expensive battery in EVs, which may necessitate a full replacement.
The shortage of trained mechanics and parts, along with the complexity of repairing EVs, is also driving up maintenance costs. Some insurers are concerned about guaranteeing the safety of repaired batteries, fearing that undetected hairline cracks could lead to explosions, making them liable.
Recent data from Howden revealed that the cost of insuring an EV has more than doubled compared to cover for a petrol car. The average insurance cost for an EV is now £1,344, while an internal combustion engine car costs £676 to insure.
Insurers emphasize their support for EV adoption but cite data indicating that repairs for EVs are more expensive and time-consuming. The Association of British Insurers emphasizes the need for appropriate data to understand the risks associated with the growing number of new EVs entering the market.