Are Hybrids More Expensive to Insure?

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Aug 4, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • Hybrid cars are usually more expensive to insure for several reasons, including because they are less common
  • Your insurance premium is specific to you and not set in stone
  • You can save on insurance based on the safety of the car you choose and the type of policy

If you’re interested in going green, one of your first considerations is the cost of a hybrid vehicle.

Although hybrid owners save money on gas, when comparing the cost of electric cars vs. gas vs. hybrid, fuel costs are only one part of the car ownership equation.

While hybrids help the planet with lower emissions, grant their owners tax credits, and even enjoy lower maintenance costs, your auto insurance premiums are an important consideration for your monthly budget.

Is it more expensive to insure a hybrid car? The short answer is usually yes. 

However, your specific insurance rate will depend on your vehicle, driving history, insurer, and other factors. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about hybrid car insurance costs and the other factors to consider when calculating your long-term auto costs.

Insurance Premium 101

As you may already know, an insurance premium is the cost of an insurance policy. Your insurance premium is specific to you. It depends on factors including:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Driving history
  • Credit Score
  • Whether you own or rent your home
  • The coverage you take out
  • Where you live
  • The type of car you drive
  • Your yearly mileage
  • The coverage you take out

In short, your insurance premium is determined by a hidden insurance score computed by the insurance provider. This score reflects the credit company’s assessment of the risk you pose as a driver. 

Interestingly, this rate isn’t set in stone. 

  • The score can be affected by those working at the insurance company. A phone call with two different representatives at the same company could result in two different premiums. 
  • The price can also change when you compare rates. A car insurance company may be willing to match or undercut their competition in order to guarantee your business.1

Given all this, it’s essential to understand that your rate is calculated on a number of variables. And while the type of car owned—hybrid or not—can certainly influence the overall cost of an insurance premium, it’s by no means the most important factor.

Safe driving, for example, can have a larger impact on the overall cost of insurance over a few years than the type of car owned. Likewise, a single speeding ticket can raise insurance by 15% for up to three years.2

That said, you will usually pay more to insure a hybrid car than you would for its gas-fueled counterpart. Next, we’ll dive into the specific difference you can expect to pay.

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Why Hybrids Are Slightly More Expensive to Insure

Hybrid insurance prices can range from $1,000 to $35,000 per year. How does that stack up against insurance for gas-fueled vehicles?

A hybrid car typically costs 7% more to insure than its gas-powered counterpart.3 

Hybrid cars’ higher insurance premiums are largely driven by their slightly higher up-front costs.

  • Hybrid cars tend to cost more than gas-powered, traditional cars. The price of a hybrid vehicle can range from $20,000 to $45,000. 
  • Replacement parts for a hybrid car will also cost more than they would for a gas-powered car in the same price range. Hybrid vehicles were popularized fairly recently, and the aftermarket repair parts are less common than they are for non-hybrid vehicles.4
  • That means an insurer pays more when a hybrid car is involved in an accident than they would with a gas-powered car.

As with all cars, the more expensive a hybrid is up-front, the more it will cost to insure. 

That means that if you’re already driving an expensive vehicle, you may not pay more for hybrid insurance.

A hybrid car which normally costs $25,000, will likely cost less to insure than a gas-powered car which costs $35,000, and vice-versa.

Demographic Factors that Affect Average Rates

The average numbers for hybrid insurance premiums shown above reflect just that—an average.

And it’s interesting to note that hybrid cars and their drivers have some unique characteristics that play into the mean insurance premium. Your specific rate will vary based on whether they apply to you, too.

  • Quiet isn’t always better – Hybrid cars are known for being quiet. While a quiet car is often framed as a positive, a study run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that pedestrian and bicyclist crashes were higher for hybrid vehicles.5 These incidents occurred most often in areas with low speed limits, in clear weather. 

The difference in sound between a hybrid vehicle and a gas-powered vehicle is largest when a car performs a low-speed maneuver such as backing up or parking. The incident rates were highest by far during these times. But if your car has specific safety features to account for these scenarios, it could positively impact your rates.

  • Hybrid drivers put on more miles – Knowing that they will save money on gas, hybrid drivers also tend to drive more. In fact, people with long daily commutes are more likely to purchase a hybrid. Unfortunately, more driving means a higher insurance cost. However, you may pay less if you use your car less frequently.
  • Hybrids are popular in cities – Crowded regions tend to have higher insurance rates due to a higher incidence rate. If you live in a more rural or suburban area, it’s possible you’ll pay less than the average hybrid driver.

That’s why we recommend checking your rates before you make your final decision on vehicle type.

The Long-Term View on Hybrid Insurance Costs

While insurance costs are higher on hybrid cars now, that may not always be the case.

Hybrids are also a fairly new type of car. While gas-powered cars have been common throughout the past century, the Toyota Prius was first released in 2001, only two decades ago. 

  • Since 2001, the cost of hybrid vehicles and the price of their insurance have slowly inched closer toward that of gas-powered vehicles. 
  • As the number of hybrid drivers increases, so will the availability of used parts (bringing down the cost of repairs for auto insurers).

There are many more hybrid options now than there were then, along with a larger variance in prices. 

While it still costs more to insure a hybrid, federal incentives, fuel savings, and lower maintenance costs can outweigh the losses in insurance.

Next, we’ll cover a few more factors that can help you save, including the particular car you choose and the auto insurance you take out.

How You Can Save On Safety

The perceived safety of a car is a major component in determining the cost of your insurance rate. A safer car means a lower chance of injury, and fewer injuries result in a lower overall insurance cost for a given vehicle.

  • According to a study done by the Highway Loss Data Institute, hybrid drivers are up to 25% less likely to be injured in a hybrid version of a car than those in a comparable gas-powered car.
  • Death rates for hybrid crashes were also lower for hybrid vehicles.6
  • Although hybrids are known for their light weight, a hybrid will often be a bit heavier than a gas-powered model of the same car. On average, hybrids weigh about 10% more than a non-hybrid model. Heavier cars fare better upon collision. 

The difference in weight may be slight (generally around 300 pounds), but it is significant enough to impact the overall safety of a vehicle. 

Before making your purchase, check your car’s safety ratings.

Why You Should Always Ask About Insurance Discounts

Are electric cars better for the environment? Yes, and many insurance companies are all for lower emissions. Some have what’s called a “green car discount.” In addition to federal incentives toward low emission vehicles, the companies offering a green car discount give hybrid owners up to 10% off their car insurance.7

  • Farmers, Geico, and Travelers have given green car discounts, generally averaging around 5%, to EV drivers.
  • Because the discount is not applied automatically, you will not receive it unless you specifically ask for it.
  • The discount varies based on region and may not be available in your area.8

Not all insurance companies offer green car discounts, so it’s always important to shop for the best rate.

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Compare Quotes Easily with 4AutoInsuranceQuote

As we’ve noted, hybrid cars are usually more expensive to insure. But that doesn’t mean you’ll pay more, especially if you shop smart.

Are you worried about how much you are paying for insurance? Do you want to compare rates easily? No matter the vehicle you drive, 4AutoInsuranceQuote has you covered. Use our website to easily find the best local rates for your vehicle. Use our blog to find answers to questions from “What is the difference between hydrogen vs. electric cars?” to “How do electric cars work?” 

Our comparison tool is free and reliable. Discover the perfect policy for you and start saving on car insurance while continuing your quest to save planet earth.

References:

  1. Investopedia. Insurance Score Definition. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/insurancescore.asp
  2. Progressive. Do Speeding & Parking Tickets Affect Insurance? https://www.progressive.com/answers/how-tickets-impact-insurance/
  3. Insure. Hybrid insurance rates. https://www.insure.com/car-insurance/hybrid-insurance-rates.html
  4. Insurance Information institute. Facts + Statistics: Auto insurance.https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-auto-insurance
  5. NHTSA. Incidence of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811204
  6. CBS. Crash test: Hybrids safer than other cars. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/crash-test-hybrids-safer-than-other-cars/
  7. TD Insurance. Green Car Discount for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles. https://www.tdinsurance.com/products-services/auto-car-insurance/green-car-discount
  8. Green America. The Money-Saving Perks of a Hybrid Car. https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/money-saving-perks-hybrid-car
  9. HowStuffWorks. Are hybrid car maintenance costs higher? https://auto.howstuffworks.com/are-hybrid-maintenance-costs-higher.htm
  10. Wired. We Break for Hybrids. https://www.wired.com/2006/02/insurancecowe/
  11. The Car Connection. Hybrid Drivers More Ticket- and Accident-Prone. https://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1022235_hybrid-drivers-more-ticket-and-accident-prone
  12. Fuel Economy. Can a Hybrid Save Me Money? https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybridCompare.jsp
  13. NerdWallet. Car Insurance for Hybrids vs. Gas Vehicles. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/insurance/quotes-hybrid-gas-vehicles

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