Hybrid car insurance

Compare car insurance quotes for petrol-electric hybrid cars

What’s a hybrid car?

Hybrid cars use a combination of electricity and petrol. They have an electric motor that’s powered by energy stored in batteries and a combustion engine that runs on petrol.

There are also a handful of diesel hybrid cars on the market, but they're relatively rare.

Hybrid cars emit less CO2, so they’re more environmentally friendly, but they can also save you money.

Combining the two fuel types also reduces the car’s running costs and hybrid owners pay a little less road tax. Choosing a PHEV for your company car can reduce company car tax, and you may avoid some congestion charges.

There are two types of hybrid cars:

  • Standard hybrids – These have batteries which are charged by the car while it’s on the move.
  • Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) – PHEVs have bigger batteries that have to be connected to charging points to recharge.
hybrid car insurance

Does a hybrid car cost more to insure?

Hybrid cars are more common than pure electric cars, so insurance quotes are often more competitive.

However, insuring a hybrid car may still be more expensive than taking out cover for a standard car, as the costs of parts are likely to be higher.

But these days the cost of insuring a hybrid is really quite similar to any other car – the price you may depends more on your personal circumstances, your own driving history and the value of your car.

To find the best quotes it’s a good idea to shop around and compare car insurance policies from a number of providers to find the best option to suit your needs.

Types of hybrid car

There are three main types of hybrid car:

This is the most common type of hybrid and is also known as a parallel or self-charging hybrid.

Full hybrids use a combustion engine and an electric motor, which both powers the car and charges the battery – there’s no need to plug in.

Typical features of a full hybrid:

  • Has two batteries – one to power the electric motor and the other is a regular 12v starter battery as used in standard cars
  • Uses electric power from the battery for low speeds so very economical for stop-start city driving
  • Selects the best mix of combustion engine and electric power for the driving conditions
  • Never needs to be plugged in, the battery is charged on the move when the car decelerates and when the brakes are used – this is called regenerative braking
  • When driving speeds pick up the car switches to using its petrol or diesel engine
  • With a smaller battery than an electric car, it can only travel very short distances using electric power before it needs to revert to regular fuel
  • Has the same driving range as the equivalent petrol or diesel car

As the name suggests, these hybrids need to be plugged in to charge their electric battery.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) perform similarly to an electric car, allowing the vehicle to travel longer distances on electric power.

Typical features of a plug-in hybrid:

  • Has a larger electric battery than a full-hybrid, which is charged from an external power source like a home or public charging station
  • Able to provide electric-only power for ranges of around 30 miles, so for short trips and daily commutes it’s possible to use only electric power and save on fuel
  • Once the battery charge has run out, the PHEV uses the combustion engine to power the car, just like a full-hybrid
  • Works best using both types of power – if you don’t charge the battery and just use petrol or diesel, the added weight of the hybrid system makes it less economical
  • Tends to cost less to buy than pure electric cars, depending on the make and model

A mild hybrid car uses self-charging to generate its electric power, but it has a smaller battery which means it can’t drive on battery power alone.

Instead, the battery power is used to help the petrol or diesel engine run more efficiently, rather than taking over from it.

Typical features of a mild hybrid:

  • Has a small lithium-ion battery and a small electric generator that replaces the conventional alternator
  • A 48v electrical system activates the components normally powered by the engine, putting less strain on it and helping the car to be more efficient
  • Uses battery power to help the engine accelerate, or to start moving when the car’s stopped or the engine’s been switched off
  • Some use regenerative braking to capture energy in the battery when the brakes are used

How does a hybrid car work?

Hybrids offer the flexibility of being able to use two types of fuel.

They store electricity in a battery so they consume less petrol or diesel, but also have a longer range than a fully electric car.

Uually the battery will power the car at low speeds or shorter distances and the conventional engine takes over when the car reaches higher speeds or on longer journeys.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars?

If you’re thinking about making the switch to a hybrid vehicle, it’s a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons:


  • A hybrid can help you save on fuel, especially if you’re able to rely on electric power for short journeys and use stop-start city traffic to recharge
  • They’re more eco-friendly than conventional vehicles and most hybrids are self-charging so you don’t need to make changes to how you fuel your car
  • You can travel further than an electric car and have similar ranges to conventional petrol and diesel cars
  • Plug-in hybrids can be a step towards owning an electric car, having lower emissions but the security of a petrol or diesel back-up
  • Hybrid cars tend to cost less than pure electric cars, depending on the make and model you choose, but PHEVs still qualify for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme
  • Hybrid cars that emit less CO2 than 75g/km and have a minimum zero-emission capable range of 20 miles are exempt from London congestion charges


  • If you do lots of motorway miles, the extra weight of a hybrid car can reduce fuel efficiency so it may not be the most cost-effective option for you
  • Hybrid cars are not as eco-friendly as electric cars and don’t qualify for tax reduction and some government grant schemes
  • You need to charge PHEVs more often and they’ll have less range than electric cars
  • You’ll still need to fill your car up, so running costs are higher than electric cars
  • Buying a hybrid car can cost you more than buying a regular diesel or petrol car
  • With both a combustion engine and an electric motor, the maintenance costs of hybrid cars can cost more than servicing an electric car or conventional fuelled car

Frequently asked questions

No, to insure a hybrid car you’ll find most standard providers will be able to cover you.

It’ll be covered if it’s damaged by an accident if you have comprehensive cover, or by the at-fault driver’s insurance if the accident wasn’t your fault. But you won’t be covered for wear and tear or if your battery’s just faulty – check your car warranty instead.

Different car manufacturers provide different warranties, but most hybrid cars have around five-10 years battery warranty.

If you have a hybrid car, you’ll still need to pay road tax, also known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

Alternative fuel cars like hybrids are exempt from the first year of road tax if their CO2 emissions are less than 50g/km.

If your car releases more CO2 than this, then the cost of your first VED payment will depend on the level of your emissions. After the first year, you’ll pay a set fee for your hybrid’s road tax every year, which will be less than the amount of VED you’d pay for a petrol or diesel car.

If your hybrid costs more than £40,000, you’ll need to pay an extra £335 a year on top of the standard VED.

Company cars that are hybrid vehicles can benefit from a reduction in Benefit-in-Kind tax, also known as company car tax. Based on CO2 emissions, plug-in hybrids that emit 50g/km or less will qualify for the lower tax band.

Because hybrid cars still have a combustion engine, they have more moving parts than an electric car so can be more expensive to maintain.

Plus, the electric batteries in hybrid cars are more expensive than the standard 12v batteries you find in regular cars - although most hybrid manufacturers provide a battery warranty of between five and 10 years, or 100,000 miles.

But as hybrid cars share the wear and tear between the battery and the engine, overall they can cost less to maintain than conventional cars.

This will depend on the type of journeys you typically make. If you mostly do short journeys, your hybrid car will largely be able to rely on electric power, so you can save costs by not using regular fuel.

For longer journeys and trips on motorways where speeds are higher, the fuel consumption in hybrid cars is less efficient. This is because hybrid cars carry the extra weight of the components needed for dual-power and this can end up costing you more in petrol or diesel.

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