Green and eco-friendly car insurance

Find out how owning an eco-friendly car and making greener motoring choices can help the planet and also save you money on car insurance.

eve powell
Eve Powell
Updated 9 December 2021  | 3 mins read

What are “green cars”?

A car is considered ‘green’ if it’s more environmentally friendly than a regular car. In other words, a ‘green’ car is cleaner to run because it has fewer or no emissions.

Also known as eco cars, they reduce reliance on conventional fuels and cost less to drive..

Owners of green cars can also benefit from lower road tax and congestion charges.

Types of green cars

Designed to be energy efficient and create a smaller carbon footprint than traditional cars - there are several types of green cars that operate and are powered in different ways:

Electric cars

These run purely on electricity and are charged by plugging the car into special charge points.

You can charge electric cars at home, on the street or by using public charge points. But typically their range isn’t as far as other types of car.

On the plus side, because they don’t produce any exhaust emissions, if you own one of these cars you’ll be exempt from road tax.

Hybrid cars

For maximum efficiency and flexibility, a hybrid car combines the use of an electric powered motor and a regular combustion engine powered by petrol or diesel.

Self-charging hybrid cars charge the battery as you brake and drive, so they work best if they’re used mostly in the city.

There are also hybrid cars that you plug in at charging stations. These plug-in options have bigger batteries, so you can drive further on electric power than with a self-charging car.

Biofuel cars

These cars use fuel made from renewable organic materials like cooking oil and sugarcane. Although they’re not commonly found in the UK, biofuels are now being blended into the production of regular vehicle fuels to make their use more environmentally friendly.

LPG cars

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cars have lower emissions and are better for the environment than regular cars. But even though you can convert your car to LPG, you won’t find new LPG cars widely available in the UK.

Hydrogen cars

A hydrogen fuelled car is an electric car powered by chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen. You fill these up with hydrogen at a pump and their only emission is water. Still rare in the UK, they may become more popular as the demand for eco-friendly cars grows.

Insuring a green car

When it comes to car insurance there are several options - but which is best will depend on your needs and the type of eco-friendly car you have.

When you’re taking out insurance for a green car bear in mind that:

  • You could take out a specialist policy or ask your current provider what they offer - some insurers don’t cover electric cars, so it’s worth checking
  • Premiums will vary, as some insurers increase costs for electric or hybrid vehicles, while others will reward you for having a clean energy car
  • Some car models are cheaper to insure than others, so remember to look into this as well when you’re doing your car research
  • Whatever the cost of your premiums, with a green car you’ll be saving on things like fuel and road tax

Does it cost more to insure a green car?

Historically, with their newer technology and fewer of them on the road, electric cars were usually more expensive to insure.

However, the popularity of plug-in cars has soared, with more joining the road in 2021 than during the whole of the last decade.

And in a recent survey by the Office for National Statistics, 44% of adults said they were likely to switch to an all-electric car in the next ten years.

With more electric cars on the road, you may find that premiums drop lower than those for petrol and diesel cars. But insurers will still take into account a host of other factors, including your age and driving history, to calculate the cost of your premium - so it’s a good idea to compare providers.

Environmentally-friendly trends in car insurance

As well as starting to reduce their premiums for plug-in car owners, insurers are also looking at other ways to promote eco-friendliness. For example:

  • Some insurers will provide discounts to drivers who have a low mileage and in doing so encourage car owners to spend less time on the road.
  • There are eco-friendly car insurance policies that include carbon off-setting - for example, donating to projects that plant trees and reduce rainforest deforestation.
  • Many insurers now offer and default to electronic versions of documents to reduce their environmental impact of paper production
  • The Association of British Insurers’ recent climate change roadmapencourages insurers to re-use, repair and recycle broken parts in car insurance claims. It also suggests owners switch to an electric model after their car’s been written off, rather than replacing like-for-like

How can I help the environment if I drive a regular car?

If you haven’t made the change to a green car yet, there are still ways you can reduce your car’s emissions and carbon footprint:

  • Keep on top of car maintenance to make sure your car’s as efficient as possible
  • Go easy on accelerating and braking
  • Lighten your load, as the less weight you carry the less fuel you’ll use
  • Make sure your tyres are properly inflated to increase your fuel efficiency
  • Use cruise control for better efficiency on long drives
  • Cut down on air conditioning use and intense city driving
  • Use your car less for the school run
  • Share your journeys by using a carpool or lift share scheme
  • Choose to walk or cycle for short journeys

By driving carefully and reducing the miles you cover, you could also benefit from cheaper insurance premiums. Adopting good driving habits can help you keep your car in great condition too.