Buying an electric car can be a pricy endeavor even before you consider the cost of insurance. However, there are some models you can insure for a significantly reduced rate than competitors, regardless of company or residency.
What We'll Cover
- Volkswagen E-Golf and SE
- BMW i3
- Fiat 500e
- Kia Soul EV
- Hyundai IONIQ Electric
- Nissan Leaf
- Ford Focus Electric
- Chevrolet Bolt EV
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV
- Smart EQ Fortwo
- Why Is Insurance Pricier for Electric Cars?
- Why Aren't Tesla Cars on the List
- How to Decrease Your Electric Car Insurance Rates or Cost
If you're on the hunt for a quality electric car that's budget-friendly to insure, check our list of the top 10 cheapest options. We'll provide a brief overview of each model, some of its best features, and its average insurance cost. Afterward, we'll answer some of your most prevalent questions, such as the reasons behind electric car's high insurance costs.
Volkswagen E-Golf and SE
Both the Volkswagen E-Golf and the newer SE model will save you a decent chunk of change on car insurance compared to other electric car brands.
Volkswagen really stepped up their game from their fuel-powered Golf model with the E-Golf, which is considered one of the best value electric cars on the market.
The E-Golf features a more aerodynamic design to ensure drivers can go longer on a single charge. The car's interior is still just as spacious as it's the gas-powered Golf counterpart, and it comes with various features to support economic driving, like the eco-modes that will allow drivers to reduce their top speed and motor performance to prolong battery charge.
Not only is this car efficient, but it's highly affordable as well. Even the most recent model has a starting price of about $31,000, which is good news for your insurance rates.
Although there are some losses with this model, including longer overall charge times and reduced trunk space, it is ultimately a quality model that will only cost you about $1,428 annually for full coverage.
For those of you searching for an exceptional, compact electric car with low insurance cost, look no further than the BMW i3.
Starting at $44,450, this car has 168 hp, a range of 153 miles, and exceptional agility and maneuverability despite its size.
This car has amassed quite a reputation for its safety, upscale interior design, and skill on the road. However, it's certainly not as spacious as other models, and many reviews have stated the car's range isn't really suitable for highway driving and recommend it as an urban or suburban vehicle.
Although you have to pay a pretty penny for this car, it is frequently listed as one of the cheapest models to insure, with an average annual cost of $1,756.
Of course, this cost can be significantly cheaper or more expensive depending on your state and city of residency, so be sure to consider this fact before acquiring the car.
It is also important to note that not all BMW i3s are alike insurance-wise. For instance, the BMW's I3 S Range Extender is actually considered to be one of the most expensive electric car models to insure with an average annual cost of about $3,100.
The Fiat 500 has seamlessly combined the efficiency and eco-friendliness of an electric car with an elegant design.
This model is a completely new build from the ground-up from the gas-fueled Fiat 500, and it's certainly one of the best-looking electric cars on the market. But, looks aren't everything.
Despite the small, compact size of this two-door, it is 6 cm longer and 3 cm taller than the Fiat 500, and the interior is redesigned to be more comfortable for taller drivers. However, this additional space doesn't really carry into the back seats.
The car does come with some exceptional features like:
- A touchscreen satellite navigation system that also shows nearby charging stations
- Multiple charging settings to assist home charging loads
- Eco-friendly materials, such as vegan-friendly fake leather and recycled nylon and plastic
If there's one significant downfall to this model, apart from the limited trunk and passenger space, it's the car's incredibly limiting 84-mile range, which is almost 100 miles below average.
Fortunately, despite the Fiat 500e's starting price of $33,000, which is only 3,000 below the average cost of an electric car, its annual insurance premium of $1,566. Presumably, the cheap rate is due to the model's limited range.
Kia Soul EV
Another highly affordable car starting around $33,000, the Kia Soul EV is a strong competitor on this list with an average premium cost of about $1,620.
Commonly overshadowed by the Kia E Niro, the Soul EV has improved significantly over the years and resolved unfavorable issues from previous models, including very minimal trunk space and overall range.
Now, the newest model has a visibly improved cargo space, exceptional infotainment and interior design, and a range of 111 mi per full charge, which is nearly double that of its 2016 model.
Compared to the other cars listed here, the Kia Soul EV is one of your best options for a long-range car.
Its costs are identical to the Fiat 500e, and yet, it provides drivers with an additional 27 miles of driving at a time.
It is also a much better option for individuals with families or frequent passengers as it is not a compact car and, therefore, has more backseat space without compromising the trunk.
If there's an issue with this car, it's that you can't acquire it nationwide. Only a select few states offer the Kia Soul EV, but those who can purchase it reap substantial financial benefits, like hefty federal and state tax credits, in addition to their reduced insurance rates.
Hyundai IONIQ Electric
In the overall picture of electric cars, the Hyundai IONIQ Electric is relatively middle-ground with very standard features, a decently sized battery compared to competitors, and all at a budget-friendly price of $33,000.
Few things would truly set it above exceptional models from renowned companies like Tesla, but on this list, it has a firm standing as one of the best electric cars with the cheapest insurance rates.
Compared to other cars on this list, the Hyundai IONIQ electric is one of the best options for families and long-distance driving. The car is incredibly spacious with a comfortable interior design and has an average range of 170 miles per full battery charge.
This is much closer to the typical average electric car range of most modern models, although it is still far from those at the top of the line, like Tesla's Model S Performance.
But unlike Tesla, the Hyundai IONIQ electric is on this list, and that's because it only costs owners about $1,424 annually in insurance. With discounts, you can get a rate as low as $817, and some agencies in certain cities and states will offer rates as low as $600 for older models like the 2017.
Not only is the Nissan Leaf an extremely affordable car to insure, but it's arguably the best bang for your buck in overall cost, efficiency, and appearance.
This car is frequently rated as one of the best electric cars on the market, often surrounded by big-budget brands, such as Tesla, Audie, and Porsche.
The newest Nissan Leaf costs $32,620 with 180 miles of range. The model has come a long way since it was first brought to the U.S. in 2010 and voted World Car of the Year in 2011.
It might not be the most stylish or long-range vehicle, but it has one of the most comprehensive advanced driver safety aids on the market, which many would agree is a bit more important.
There are two versions of this vehicle available: the Nissan Leaf and the Nissan Leaf Plus. Although the Plus provides an increased range with a 62-kWh battery for 226 miles and has a more powerful 214-horsepower electric motor, it isn't as cheap to insure.
The Nissan Leaf offers all the exceptional features you want from an electric car for arguably the best price you can find, and this is reflected in its annual insurance rate of $1,671.
Ford Focus Electric
The Ford Focus Electric comes at an astonishing price of $29,999 for the newest model and has an annual insurance premium of $1,619.
Although these rates are certainly tempting, the Ford Focus Electric is listed for its cheap insurance, not its rating as an electric car. If this list were the best electric cars on the market, the Focus wouldn't come close.
This is more the fault of Ford's disinterest in the car than anything else. The Ford Focus Electric was first created in 2012 and saw very few model changes until its 2016 model. Although Ford put some increased effort into the Focus Electric for the next two models, it's been untouched since 2018, leaving it relatively lacking feature and efficiency-wise.
It currently has a mile range of 115, and although this is better than some options on our list, most electric car owners nowadays want their cars to go a bit further on a single charge. However, if you're looking for a basic and affordable electric car to start your transition from fuel cars, this is an acceptable option.
You won't get the same bells and whistles as others on the list, but the Ford Focus Electric covers the basics, has a lower sticker price, and reduced insurance costs than most electric cars on the market.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
Now, if you're looking for a quality electric car that has exceptional features across the board and you don't mind a slightly higher sticker and insurance cost, then you'll want the Chevy Bolt EV.
There are multiple features of this car that just blows the rest on this list out of the water. To start, the Chevy Bolt EV has a 238-mile range on a single charge, which doesn't even come close to its contenders here.
It also has a sharp, sleek, new design that outmatches some of the more outdated-looking models mentioned below, and it has an exceptional amount of passenger and storage space with a strong resemblance to an SUV model.
The new 2021 Chevy Bolt EV has been ranked as one of the best electric cars on the market, and its 2022 model even better features and is designed for increased range, faster charge, and will eradicate the need for home chargers.
Although these bold promises are yet to be fulfilled, the 2021 model stands firm as an exceptional electric car that nearly overtakes any Tesla model.
At a list price of $36,500, the 2021 Chevy Bolt EV still falls under that category of a relatively affordable vehicle, falling smack in the middle of EV average costs. Although its average annual premium of $1,883 is the highest on the list, the investment is worthwhile.
With the occasional exception of the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3, no other car on this list is ranked on the 2021-2022 lists of best electric cars as consistently as the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
At first glance, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV might not seem like much, but you might be willing to look twice when you see it comes at a fraction of its competitor's cost.
If you need a small, simple electric car for your moderate morning commute, then the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a decent choice. It certainly doesn't have the charge time, range, and space as some of the other cars on the list, but it lends itself particularly well to suburban and urban drives.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV biggest downfall is highway driving, where it's expected to sustain higher speeds and accelerate quickly. The car certainly struggles in this area, and its 59-mile range is even lower than the Fiat 500e.
Reviews have also stated that the car's interior design seems relatively outdated compared to more luxuriously decorated modern models. However, if you're willing to put all of this aside long enough to check the price, you might be pleasantly surprised.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is likely the most affordable electric car on the market to insure with a yearly rate of $1,474.
Sadly, this might be partially due to the fact that the car is no longer purchasable in the U.S. You can still find used 2017 models at cheap prices, but if you were hoping for a brand new 2021 Mitsubishi, i-MiEV, we're sorry to say they don't exist.
Smart EQ Fortwo
If you're utterly crushed that you can't purchase a new Mitsubishi i-MiEV, we recommend you take a glance at the Smart EQ Fortwo.
This car shares many similarities with the i-MiEV, such as small compact size and efficient city driving, but has very few of its drawbacks.
Its newest 2020 model available in Europe has improved on past models' pitiful range of 58 miles to 75-83 miles. Still not as much as competitors by far, but many have stated this car really shines for city driving, so you don't necessarily need a range of 150+ if you're buying for the right reasons.
Fortunately, if the range is still too low, the Smart EQ Fortwo makes up for this in several other areas such as:
- Decently quick charge of 0 to 100% in three hours
- Exceptional maneuverability
- Sleek design full of character
- Cabriolet form renders it the only open-top zero-emission vehicle
In terms of annual insurance premium, this car's price is practically unmatched at $1,486. However, the latest model available in the U.S. is the 2019, as the company has shifted its focus and discontinued the Smart brand in North America.
However, if you're a European resident who enjoyed the 2020 model, know that the brand has promised to release a new and improved model by 2022, so keep your eyes open.
Why Is Insurance Pricier for Electric Cars?
Although electric cars might be great for the environment, they're not necessarily great for your monthly insurance payments.
As our list demonstrates, there are a significant number of electric cars you can purchase and insure for reasonable rates, but they're far from the national average. In fact, electric cars are 23% more expensive to insure than a combustion model of equivalent cost. But why?
The predominant reason behind electric vehicle's substantial insurance rates is that they generally cost more than the typical combustion car. This is because electric cars require high-quality and state-of-the-art technology to function, such as exceptional sensors and substantially sized lithium-ion batteries.
Because the components of the quality and technological innovation behind these components, they are expensive to obtain and replace. So, the more a vehicle costs to repair after an accident, the more the insurance company will require you to pay to cover these repairs.
Another factor to consider is who will be able to acquire the pricy parts to fix your damaged electric car and have the skills to fix it. Unfortunately, the options are far and few between in the U.S., which is another reason rates are higher because fewer shops and mechanics are qualified to do this work, and the ones who are, know their worth.
Why Aren't Tesla Cars on the List
The Tesla brand has become almost synonymous with electric cars as they create some of the most efficient, luxuriously designed, and decorated cars on the market with the longest ranges worldwide.
No doubt, if you want the best of the best with electric vehicles, you're probably eyeing a Tesla. So, why aren't the most famous electric cars on the list of those cheapest to insure? The answer all comes down to model cost.
Tesla has four models of electric cars:
- Model S
- Model 3
- Model X
- Model Y
Each model also has various Specs buyers can choose from, such as Performance, Long Range AWD, and Standard Plus.
As Tesla has improved with their models and added more high-powered batteries with increased range and luxurious features, the vehicles' cost has increased substantially, the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid+ starting at $149,990.
With prices like these, it's no wonder Tesla cars one of the most expensive to insure for reasons we previously discussed. They are made from exceptional materials, are extremely costly to purchase and repair, and few locations are qualified to do so.
Tesla does offer insurance of its own, but only in the state of California with the hopes of spreading nationwide. If you choose to insure their models through more common agencies, like State Farm or Allstate, the typical price is at least double any annual premiums of models listed above.
For instance, the 2020 Performance spec for the Model S, X, and Y typically cost around $3,800 to insure annually. Choosing a Long Range AWD spec or a newer model will only increase this price. Luckily, there is a glimmer of insurance hope with Tesla in the form of the Tesla Model S.
Tesla Model S: the 11th Cheapest Electric Car to Insure
This car very nearly made our list of the top 10 cheapest electric cars to insure. Unfortunately, since Tesla is an extremely pricy brand and you typically need to pull some significant strings for reduced insurance rates, it didn't make the cut. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth mentioning.
The Tesla Model S is consistently ranked as the best electric car you can purchase, and it isn't difficult to see why.
This model has one of the highest U.S. News scores among all EVs and outranks most cars in:
- Acceleration speed
- Overall design
- Cabin and cargo space
With a list price of $69,420, the 2021 Tesla Model S is by far the most expensive car on our list, which makes perfect sense considering its brand and quality of the product. We can't stress enough that if you want the best car with the cheapest insurance, it's this one.
At a whopping $1,832 a year, the Tesla Model S is barely higher than most of the options on our list, only exceeded by two to three thousand. However, you'll be even more astonished to hear that you could make it the cheapest car on the list with a few tricks.
To start, if you're a member of the military or married to a member, you can get a rate as low as $1,092 a year with USAA. Plus, if you're a resident of California, Tesla states loud and proud on their website that you can receive a $1,500 Clean Fuel Reward.
Add these tips to those mentioned below, and you'll be reaping the benefits of an absolutely unmatched insurance rate for your electric car.
How to Decrease Your Electric Car Insurance Rates or Cost
When you're paying for a pricy electric car, you don't want to be spending $2,000+ annually on insurance premiums if you can help it.
Fortunately, there are a few ways that you are rewarded for driving an eco-friendlier vehicle that can directly reduce your rates or overall costs with little to no effort. In addition to these rewards, we have some tips to help you further cut costs for an annual rate as low as $1,000 or less.
Purchase a 2010 Model or Newer for Substantial Federal Tax Credit
Electric cars are certainly much more expensive than the average car, even without being the newest model on the market. However, if you have the extra cash to invest in a 2010 or newer electric car, you could receive up to $7,500 in federal income tax credit.
The qualified vehicle must be all-electric, and the credit you receive is based on the capacity of your vehicle's battery, so that the amounts will vary. Every qualified electric car starts with the base incentive amount of $2500 and then receives $417 for every 5 kWh of battery capacity until it reaches the maximum amount of $7500.
Qualified vehicles include those that:
- All-electric, both battery and plug-in (regular hybrids do not)
- Have a curb weight under 14,000 pounds
- Purchased after December 31, 2009
- Have a battery larger than 5 kWh
- Can be recharged externally
- Meets emissions standards
- Uses a traction battery
- Is from a dealer or automaker that has not already phased out of the program
Although this might not affect your insurance rates directly, we're pretty confident this incentive gift from the government will more than cover that annual cost for years.
Check for Incentives in Your State or Region
In addition to assistance from the federal government, many states have their own incentives to push citizens to purchase more eco-friendly vehicles. These incentives provide tax credits to those who drive or purchase an electric car that is registered in their state borders.
The tax credits can range from as little as $75 and as high as $25,000 depending on the vehicle you have, what it's used for, and your gross annual incomes.
Out of all 50 United States, 19 offers at least one Electric Car Tax Credit Program. For a thorough list of the states that offer programs and what these programs entail, refer to Energy Sage's "State and local electric car tax credits" chart.
Choose the Right Insurance
We briefly touched on this point with Tesla, but one of the definitive ways to ensure you have a low annual rate for your electric car is to choose the right insurance company.
Several well-renowned insurance companies are ready and willing to help ensure the safety and protection of your electric car, but not all of them will do it for an affordable cost.
Undoubtedly, the best way to get the cheapest insurance for an electric vehicle is to use BestInsurer to compare car insurance rates from multiple providers. This service has consistently helped consumers insure their electric vehicles for $300+ less by showing the cheapest vendor in your area. To compare car insurance rates for electric vehicles click on the button below:
Sadly, USAA comes with a significant catch because it isn't available to everyone. As we mentioned previously, this company only insure military members and their families. Therefore, if you are not or never have been in the service, you won't qualify for their amazing rates.
This doesn't mean you're out of luck on insurance savings, though. If you can't get your electric car insured through USAA, we recommend opting for Nationwide or Progressive.
Both are extremely popular and exceptional companies that each offer rates steadily lower rates than competitors such as Geico and Allstate.
Although there are some exceptions to this depending on the car you have, most of the cars mentioned above have cheaper insurance premiums with these two companies.
If your heart is truly set on avoiding these companies, we suggest investing your trust in Travelers and Liberty Mutual that each has exclusive discounts for electric and hybrid car owners.
Electric vehicle sales are on the rise, and demand for these vehicles will continue to increase, as the world makes its push to renewable energy. Let's hope that the cost to insure electric vehicles will start to drop as the cost of repairing these cars goes down.