LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Electric vehicle owners love their cars. But an examination of insurance costs and other money associated with ownership of electric vehicles by the 8 News Now Investigators at Nexstar’s KLAS shows the bottom line might be a lot higher than consumers realize.
Take Craig Moe of California, for instance. Moe owns four Teslas and loves each one of them.
“I’m a fan,” Moe told KLAS. “A huge fan.”
Parking his silver electric sedan at the charging station at the Premium Outlets in downtown Las Vegas, Moe was heading to lunch while his car sat feeding on enough juice to get him through another four hundred miles or so. He says it takes a half hour or so to get a full charge and that’s about all he needs to do to keep his Tesla purring.
“There’s no maintenance,” Moe said. “There’s no oil changes, no fan belts, no filters, no smog, no exhausts. I mean you just drive them. It’s like a glorified golf cart.”
But like the ride in a golf cart, the finances that comprise owning an electric vehicle – some of them not easily ascertainable at first blush – can lead to bumpy terrain.
“The hidden costs with owning any EV would be that of insurance repairs and God forbid there’s any damage,” Carl Cook, owner of Cook Insurance Group in Las Vegas, said. “And in this town, you’re going to have some damage.”
That damage can be even more substantial to an EV than another car, largely because of the technology and computers EVs use.
The 8 News Now Investigators asked Cook to run some numbers on insurance costs in particular. Cook, then, ran the 2023 Tesla Model X against a handful of top-brand vehicles on the road today.
Cook, for a baseline comparison, assumed a policy would have $300,000 in liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage as well as $500 deductibles for comprehensive and collision insurance.
The results: Tesla was over $1,100 more than the second-priciest vehicle on the list. A year’s worth of insurance (at last year’s prices) will cost the Model X owner $7,417 while a 2023 Ford Escape owner would pay $6,346 for an annual policy.
But what’s more staggering is a comparison between the Model X and two of the world’s best-selling Sedans, the Toyota Camry and The Nissan Altima. Those vehicles would, under Cook’s quotes, cost significantly less than the Model X, at $4,414 and $4,422, respectively.
What’s more, Cook says, insurance companies might require new Tesla owners to acquire underwriting approval and wait through a two-week application process. In short, those companies are making it unduly difficult for a new EV owner to get their purchase or lease-insured four-wheeler.
The digital insurance agency Insurify – which makes a commission on insurance policies bought through its website – acknowledges some hurdles in buying an electric vehicle. Namely, a report from Insurify details that auto dealers are not always prepared to stock their showrooms with EVs, that battery costs are exceedingly expensive, and the cars themselves are pricey.
Those items, though, do not seem to be deterring EV customers. Insurify reports over half of all car buyers are considering an electric vehicle, up from 38% in 2023. And the market for EVs is flourishing. Last year, 33 new EVs hit the U.S. retail market, according to the web insurer. In 2024, that number is expected to jump to 50 new or updated EVs.
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