Hybrid vehicles have become much more widespread over the past decade with more and more people choosing to unleash themselves from the gas pump to enjoy an environmentally and more economical ride.
While hybrid and electric vehicles certainly have their benefits, they can also lead to sticker shock if you request an online car insurance quote. While it is recommended to work with an independent agency who can help you find an insurance company that is a good fit for your unique needs, it is also helpful to know what factors might be driving up your rates.
Here are four ways your hybrid or electric vehicle may affect your insurance that you may be completely unaware.
1. You are More Likely to Strike and Kill a Pedestrian
Say what?! A driver is more likely to hit a pedestrian while driving a hybrid than a standard vehicle? It’s true. The International Institute for Highway Safety confirms that hybrid vehicles result in more pedestrian injury claims than any other type of vehicle.
Researchers from the Highway Loss Data Institute evaluated the bodily injury claims of hybrid vehicles versus their gas-guzzling counterparts between 2002 and 2010. After reviewing data for 17 different hybrid and non-hybrid models, analysts found that hybrids are 20 percent more likely to strike pedestrians than other vehicles. This is because hybrids operate very quietly when in electric mode. Unfortunately, the lack of noise prevents pedestrians from hearing a hybrid as it approaches, which increases the risk of being struck.
2. Your Hybrid Probably Costs More to Repair or Replace
All the tax credits and environmental responsibility in the world are not enough to offset your insurance company’s costs for repairing or replacing your hybrid vehicle.
Despite the personal incentives that exist for buying a hybrid or electric car, your insurance company faces a higher bill if you file a claim. The Highway Loss Data Institute conducted a study of crash repair costs for multiple hybrid models. During the study, HLDI found that the Lexus GS 450h was 25 percent more expensive to repair than its gas-powered twin, the Lexus GS 430, and it was 2.4 times more costly to fix than the average cost of other passenger vehicles.
3. You Spend More Time behind the Wheel
The more miles you clock on the road, the higher risk you are to an insurer. Research from Quality Planning found that the low cost of travel for the drivers of hybrid vehicles results in greater non-commuting miles behind the wheel. In fact, they drive an average of more than 10,000 non-commuting miles per year. If lower prices at the pump give you more incentive to take road trips on the weekend, you could see a bump in your online car insurance quote.
4. You Have More Traffic Tickets
Perhaps it is a secondary effect of the previous reason, but hybrid drivers on average get more traffic citations than other drivers. If you fall into that category, you could be paying for it with higher rates. Forbes reports that a single moving violation can increase rates by as much as 22 percent, although this varies significantly from insurer to insurer. If you do have one or more traffic citations in the past three years, talk with your independent agent about finding an insurer who may be more forgiving of the violation. You may also be able to earn a discount on car insurance by completing a driver improvement course that is approved by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Thom Grubbs is an insurance agent and partner at Pentagon Insurance Agency in Elk River, MN. Outside of work, Thom likes to bowl, fish, spend time with his family, and volunteer at his church. Get in touch with Thom and let him make life a little easier by talking over your situation.