Insurance and security for your Tesla and other electric cars

Insuring Electric cars can be straightforward but there are some notable differences you need to be aware of. We run through the main ones and help explain why its relevant and what you can do about it and how to increase your security.

Security

Passive entry or comfort access

This is a feature whereby you only need to walk up to your car and it detects your presence, unlocks and presents the door handles. The feature is not unique to Tesla, but unfortunately is exploited by car thiefs. If your car is parked and your keys are within a reasonable distance, and those keys are not far from a public area, a thief can place a receiver close to the keys and relay the signal to someone standing close to your car electronically. This fools the car into thinking the key is nearby, unlocks the car allowing the thief to get in and drive away. You still have the key, but the thief is long gone. This threat is very common from outside peoples houses where the keys are just the other side of the front door and can this mode of theft can be done easily over night.

There are a number of ways to help prevent this.

The choice is yours and of course you can do none of them, but the cars are expensive and desireable and have been targeted for theft, especially around London.

Dash Cam

Dash Cams or Cameras are a personal thing and can incriminate you if you drive badly as well as protect you if you're an innocent victim. Many are available but be careful to select an installer who is familiar with Tesla (or any electric car) as the ignition and general wiring loom tends not to work quite the same way as traditional cars. They're not got to tap into the main battery by mistake, its just recognising that there is no "On" button or "key" or "Ignition" seting, yoiu get in, you put it in drive and away you go.

Trackers

The majority of new Teslas are over 75k and most insurance companies have a policy of demanding a tracker if the car is above this price. For many years the Tesla community advice was that the car could be tracked by Tesla and no extra tracker was required, and if your insurance company mandated it, go to a different insurance company. Another consideration is wiring as Tesla have threatened to invalidate warranty if a tracker causes problems with the car.

That position has changed slight as the tracker is easily defeated by either removing the SIM or a blocking device. The tracker is also not Thatcham approved and highly unlikely to be as it requires integration with call centres and the Police, however equally, more insurance companies are recognising that the limitations of trackers. It is therefore a personal choice as they can offer peace of mind.

We recommend a slightly different approach and that is to by a battery powered, tracking device that requires charging every 3-4 weeks, costs only pence per month to run, and gives you a phone app to see where you car is and all the journeys its taken. We recommend a GPS magnetic tracker and a GIFGAF PAYG Sim.

Charging Cable theft

This is a relatively rare crime, but there have been spates of cable theft from cars plugged in and charging. The cable is meant to be locked when charging and indeed there is a locking pin, but it's been found that these can be forced and the cables taken. The cables sell for over £100 on the used market. There's no easy advice, some people look to get a padlock and lock the cable to the wheel of the car, others have suggested driving over the cable and park on it, but in all honesty we say don't worry. It's pretty rare, it's not impossible, but you're more likely going to chip and alloy or damage a tyre and either of those will cost more than a stolen cable to put right.

Insurance

Accident damage lead times

One slightly worry aspect of Teslas, and to a lesser extent, all electric cars is the time it takes to get cars repaired. For minor bumps and scrapes where repair rather than replace is an option, it should be no longer than any other type of car. Where replacement panels or more extensive repairs including components such as radiators (yes, electric cars have radiators) or suspension, the repairs can take much longer. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the number of accident repair garages, and capacity is relatively small, and so its possible there are delays simply finding suitable garages to do the work or even be prepared to quote. The second and more significant reason is parts availability. The relatively low number of cars and limited production means replacement parts can take some time to be sourced. Tesla are particularly bad on certain parts and delays of several months have been frequently reported.

If your car is off the road, be wary of accident management companies offering to loan you a car while yours is being repaired. We've heard of owners running up bills of £10k and more on high car charges and hoping to claim off the other driver. The accident management companies have their own fleet of cars, often Teslas, and they loan these out on a "like for like" basis at pretty hefty rates. Just check carefully, but if you're the innocent party then the other sides insurance company will typically go out of their way to look after you, and if not, its because there is doubt, and a 50/50 or knock for knock claim can leave you with a pretty steep bill

Insurance Companies

There are a number of insurance companies worth looking at, although as everyone's situation is different, we recommend trying a price comparison website such as and companies like Direct Line and go with who you are most comfortable with.

When getting quotes, here are a few tips to get the best price:

  • Don't leave it until the last minute, get a quote at least 2 weeks before your insurance is due.
  • Get a fresh quote from your current insurer. They've been known to quote you more cheaply as a fresh quote rather than a renewal.
  • Try a couple of occupations, but only ones that you could reasonable claim to do. Remember inaccurate information can cause problems later on.
  • Add somebody to your policy even if its unlikely they will drive the car. They might, and it can reduce your premium. Note, this is as an additional driver and not the main driver. Fronting, where you pretend someone else is the main driver is not acceptable.
  • Be honest about your expected mileage and modifications to the car.
  • If you live in a high risk area or have a valuable car, consider what questions are asked and if you can improve on the answers through simple measures, like garaging your car if you can.