EV Insights: So, you’re buying an electric car. What about insurance implications?

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - The subject of electric vehicles (EVs) tends to be dominated by discussions surrounding the purchase price and concerns over range anxiety. But what about insurance?

According to AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie, it’s important to consider lots of different factors before buying an EV. “Personally, I believe that EVs represent the future – not just for motorists but also for the South African automotive industry. That’s why I have chosen to drive one,” he explains.

2021 BMW i3S

One of those factors is undoubtedly insurance. Dean Wicks, Insurance Specialist at The Robert Group (TRG), says motorists need to do their homework when it comes to insurance before investing in an EV. “There is a shift in how technology is impacting our lives, which now includes our motor vehicles as well. They are becoming electric, with more and more manufacturers looking to end production of all internal combustion engines (ICEs).

“I would like to urge clients to consult their broker before purchasing an EV. They need to understand how this acquisition may affect their policy, as well as their premium. The last thing we would want is for a client to go through the whole purchasing process with the dealership – only to discover that the premiums are higher than they were anticipating, for instance,” he explains.

Christo Crafford, CEO of Legacy Underwriting Managers, concurs. (TRG works with Legacy Underwriting Managers to provide customised cover for their top-tier clients.) He explains that insuring an EV comes with a number of considerations that don’t apply to ICE vehicles.

Just one is charging equipment. “It tends to be highly specialised and should be included under your home insurance with consideration to, for instance, extended power surge cover. Whether charging equipment is installed as a fixture (and connected to the building electrical grid) or is portable and plugged into an electrical circuit would also determine how and under what section it should be insured,” says Crafford.

2021 Jaguar I-PACE

He adds that EVs tend to be high-tech. “They’re leading the charge on autonomous driving and driver assistance features, which means cover related to liability and cyber/identity fraud is also an important consideration,” he suggests.

There are different considerations to think about before buying an EV, but Mienie says motorists shouldn’t be deterred. “A new way of thinking will be required going forward. Motorists will need to remember to charge their cars, for instance. But one day – in the not-too-distant future – EVs will become the norm. And – just like our mobile phones – we’ll all wonder how on earth we ever lived without them,” he concludes.

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