There are more than 2,000 Tesla Model S cars on the road in the UK and many believe that number will rocket over the next few years.
However, Elon Musk’s electric cars are still a new entity for British insurers, which can make getting reasonably priced cover a challenge.
This guide aims to help you find cheaper quotes from experienced companies for Tesla insurance in the UK.
Where can I get Tesla car insurance in the UK?
However, all 10 allowed us to select Tesla in their drop down menus of car makes, which means there could have been other information in our application that meant it was rejected. It could be that mainstream insurers may be able to give you a quote over the phone after they get a few more details from you.
We were also able to get an online quote from Admiral, which isn’t in our top 10 but we had heard British Tesla owners have been using it. However, the quote was one of the highest we received.
Although most insurers allow you to select Tesla as a car make, some online quote forms have not been updated to include ‘electricity’ as a fuel source and instead ask you select ‘petrol’ if you have an electric car. And most do not list Tesla’s in-built tracking service on their lists of tracking devices a car might have.
There are a number of specialist insurers that cover Tesla cars. Most don’t have online quote forms so you’ll have to call them, however, because of their experience with other owners they may be able to offer a cheaper quote.
Adrian Flux, Keith Michaels, Home & Legacy and Pluginsure all cover electric cars, including most Tesla vehicles.
Adrian Flux makes a big deal of insuring cars of the future and has even created a policy for driverless cars.
As with standard car insurance, another option is to use price comparison sites. Not all insurance companies are listed on them and some companies create cheap policies with less comprehensive cover to appear at the top of results but they can give you an indication of prices.
We had mixed results with comparison sites, as you’ll see below. Quotes on GoCompare for Tesla Model S insurance were high, but Moneysupermarket.com returned the cheapest quote we saw, along with lots of expensive premiums.
If you’ve had a good experience with your current insurer it may be worth speaking to them about covering a Tesla. Although they might not give you a quote online, if they value your business they should offer to help you over the phone.
If their quote is too high and you want to look elsewhere it will probably involve a little more work than insuring an internal combustion engine (ICE) car but the extra effort could save you hundreds of pounds.
Tesla revealed at the end of August 2016 that it is partnering with mainstream insurers to offer cover through its InsureMyTesla scheme.
At present it is only available in Australia and Hong Kong and prices start at Aus$900 (£516) a year. Watch this space to find out when it will launch in the UK. There's more information about InsureMyTesla here.
In January 2017, Tesla said: "we will work with Direct Line so that they have the right information to understand the capabilities of your Tesla so your insurance performs as well as your car".
US insurer AAA said in June 2017 that it will raise insurance premiums for Tesla cars based on data that indicated Model S and Model X had abnormally high claim frequencies and high claim costs compared with similar cars.
However, Tesla said: "This analysis is severely flawed and is not reflective of reality. Among other things, it compares Model S and X to cars that are not remotely peers, including a Volvo station wagon."
Tesla believes its autonomous driving Autopilot feature makes its cars safer to drive and that should be reflected in a lower insurance cost.
Some companies agree. US insurance start-up Root told the Automotive News website: "Autonomous vehicles are safer and will continue to get safer. It's proven in the data."
How much is Tesla car insurance in the UK?
The cheapest price we were quoted directly for a new Tesla Model S p85d was £1,585.56 with a £500 excess from Churchill.
With a £350 excess, the price was £1,631.55 annually or £149.48 monthly.
For Tesla Model S 85 insurance the cheapest premium was an annual payment of £1,235.16 with a £500 excess.
Admiral was the most expensive direct quote at £5,280.09 a year.
We had mixed results on price comparison sites. Quotes on GoCompare ranged from £3,698 to £7,188.
Moneysupermarket.com found the cheapest quote, which was £1,079 for a Model S p85d with Privilege (also part of the Direct Line Group). But it got expensive after that, with the next nine quotes between £1,900 and £3,000. It then jumped to over £6,000. The excess amounts varied between providers.
The specialist insurers mentioned earlier may be able to offer more competitive quotes.
We have seen anecdotal quotes on Tesla forums ranging from £500 to £2,000, so it seems it is possible to get more reasonable premiums.
It is difficult to estimate how much your insurance premium will be; it’s not just based on the value and make of the car but also personal circumstances such as where you live, your age and driving experience.
Our quotes were for a 31-year-old driver with a London postcode and no claims history. We said we were looking to insure a 2016 right-hand drive Model S with no modifications worth £69,000.
If you’re budgeting for a Tesla it seems like you should set aside at least £1,000 for insurance but from our research we’ve seen a wide range of prices.
Why is Tesla car insurance so expensive?
There are two answers to this question; the first is that it isn’t actually that expensive.
Insurance for a Tesla Model S vs a comparable ICE car, in terms of size, speed and price, is likely to be similar. So if you’re making the jump from a luxury petrol or diesel vehicle you might not notice much difference.
But it is more expensive than cover for an everyday car. The average price of a car in the UK is around £30,000 and the average car insurance premium is £429. Considering Teslas range from about £60,000 to over £100,000, the price difference of our quotes makes sense.
The main reasons for a high premium is a car is expensive to buy, replace and repair.
Tesla Model S and Roadster models meet those criteria and are in UK car insurance group 50, the most expensive pricing group, which includes the Ferrari F340 and Maybach 62.
At present, there are not many authorised mechanics or parts suppliers in the UK so making any repairs after a fault or accident will cost more.
However, there is a feeling among some Tesla enthusiasts that insurers do not understand Tesla’s safety and security features that aim to cut the risk of accidents or theft and therefore make insurance cheaper.
The Model S has been given the highest safety rating score by the European safety certification body (Euro NCAP). And after five or six fires were reported it has already made design and software improvements to boost safety.
It is true that because of the small number of Tesla Model S cars in the UK they are a bit of an unknown quantity to British insurers and it is possible that if they become more popular and more authorised repair shops open, insurance prices will drop.
It’s worth noting that the Tesla Model S comes with an eight-year warranty on the motor and battery and a four-year warranty for the rest of the car.
Insurance for the Nissan Leaf and other electric cars
Despite Tesla’s high profile, it is not the most popular electric car in the UK.
There are 12,000 Nissan Leafs on the road in the UK vs 2,000 Tesla Model S cars.
And 20,000 people own the hybrid plug-in Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
Because these cars are significantly cheaper than the Model S their insurance premiums should be cheaper.
You can find a quote in the same way as with Tesla, if you have a trusted insurer see if they’ll cover you, otherwise spend some time checking out quotes from mainstream providers like Churchill, specialists such as Adrian Flux or use price comparison sites.