What was once seen as a fantasy may soon become a reality, as big car companies like BMW and Honda start researching flying cars. Investments are also being made into the development of ‘electrical vertical takeoff.’ Exciting as that is, we wanted to understand - if flying cars become a reality, how much would it cost to insure them?
We’ve made some developments of our own to find out. Yay, flying car insurance!
Are flying cars real?
First, a little background. Flying cars are fast becoming more fact than fiction. A working prototype of a flying car was unveiled at CES 2022 in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer XPeng has announced plans for a flying car in 2024.
But that’s not all! AirCar - the BMW-powered flying machine - has been granted a certificate of airworthiness, which basically means it’s trusted to fly. Meanwhile, Honda has announced further investment into ‘electric vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts’. The future is really starting to take off.
What flying cars are already available?
If you’re in a rush to leave the road behind, you’re in luck - there are real flying cars available right now, ready to drive/fly off in. All you’ll need is between tens of thousands of pounds and a few million, and you’ll be soaring over traffic in no time.
The Moller Skycar is the most expensive, costing £2.6 million. This striking number can get up to flight speeds of 331 mph and cover a distance of 805 miles. The only hitch is that it’s never actually flown before - in testing, it only managed a small hover. So it feels like a lot of money to spend on something that might not be able to achieve what’s promised.
Alternatively, the Samson Switchblade is available for £91,000 and claims to be just as practical on the road as it is in the air. It can be ready to take off in as little as 3 minutes, taking two passengers as fast as 200 mph. On the road, it’s a three-wheeler that almost looks like a regular car.
Flying car concepts: How much would it cost to insure these car brands' flying motors?
We took key design elements from four major car brands: BMW, Fiat, Volvo and Nissan, and added a bit of flying magic to create our concepts. To calculate their car insurance cost, we looked at how much it costs to insure small planes - about £719 a year - as well as the cost associated with the car brands themselves. This included their brand reputation, security, modifications, maintenance cost and engine size.
It’s all quite scientific, with lots of cool pictures of flying cars to boot.
1. BMW - £1,644 on insurance per year
BMW has a reputation for producing luxury cars, and in the air they’d be no different. The brand already has an engine in the AirCar, but if it invested in its own flying car it could create a thing of real beauty. Its insurance cost would be affected by its larger than standard engine size, and the cost associated with maintaining it. This is the most expensive of all our flying car concepts. The tinted windows would also add to the price, as does any modification.
One thing that would work in your bank balance’s favour is the brand’s security. BMWs are famed for their safety features, such as active blindspot detection, parking assistance, and front collision warnings, protecting both fellow flyers and pedestrians walking beneath.
Design inspiration was taken from the AirCar, which can fly up to 8,200 ft and travel up to 118 mph. We streamlined its chassis, added some underlighting and added a classic BMW grill on the front to give it a distinctive German look. Look out, pigeons, it’ll be overtaking you in no time.
2. Fiat - £1,395 on insurance per year
Just like classic Fiats, their flying version would be a cheap and cheerful urban runaround that brought smiles to faces everywhere it landed. Its bubble-car design mirrors the Fiat 500, and you could expect a similar performance as it nips around birds and through clouds.
Its insurance cost would be reduced by a low maintenance cost, with parts easily repaired and replaced by most garages. It also boasts the smallest engine size of all our flying cars. And while that would reduce its flying speed, it would cost a lot less to cover.
The one negative is its security - DVLA data suggests a Fiat flying car would be the most likely to be stolen with common parts being easy to sell on to dodgy garages. Be sure to land it somewhere safe.
3. Nissan - £2,097 on insurance per year
A classic racer car even in the sky, the Nissan flying car would be the most expensive to insure. It has the second largest engine in our study, a bespoke wrap, spoiler, light-up wheels and racing brakes. It also comes with a whole host of modifications that would up its insurance price tag.
The design is based on the Nissan 2020 Vision Gran Turismo Concept Car. We’ve just added wings, a giant spoiler and the ability to race through the sky.
At least it would be unlikely to be stolen - modern cars come with plenty of security features that make them incredibly difficult to steal.
4. Volvo - £1,740 on insurance per year
The most secure flying car in our study, Volvo cars are famed for being sturdy, reliable family motors. They’ve invented some of the most reliable safety features on our roads, including side airbags, driver assistance systems and ergonomic seats. All of these would make flying in a Volvo a smooth, comfortable experience, with mid-flight accidents reduced to a minimum.
Car safety also reduces car insurance costs, as you’re less likely to make a claim. The Volvo is a middle of the road flying car. It has the fourth biggest engine, it’s the third most secure, and the likelihood of it being stolen is pretty much bang in the middle.
We coupled it with the DA68 plane, another brand known for its safety, to create a highly reliable flying car that will get you from A to B with little fuss.
How to lower the cost of your car insurance
Whether you’re driving your car on the road or in the air, one thing we all want to achieve is cheaper car insurance costs.
Confused.com’s car insurance expert Alex Kindred considers how insurance costs are calculated to help you get a cheaper rate:
“Regardless of where you’re driving your vehicle, car insurance can become costly. However, there are some things you can consider to help reduce your insurance rate.
“In general, the kind of car you drive could have a large bearing on how much you pay for insurance. So there are a few aspects to be mindful of when choosing your next car: the car's value, power, modifications and desirability. Adding modifications, for example, to your engine or exterior will likely increase your costs. So be sure to let your insurer know if you do add any as this may make your cover invalid for future claims if not.
“Ultimately, whatever you drive you should always shop around for your insurance. This will be the only way you know you’re getting the best price for you and your car.”
To work out the cost of our flying car insurance we looked at both plane and car insurance to guide our costs. We looked at one of the most mass produced small aircrafts, the Cessna 172, as a baseline for the plane insurance cost. We then created a range for the insurance to sit between predominantly based on a study from AOPA.
We then used the average cost of car insurance within the UK and cross referenced this with quotes from Confused.com's car insurance calculator to create a baseline for each car manufacturer. The key factors we took into consideration on impacting insurance were the security and safety systems, likelihood of theft, car modifications, reliability and maintenance, and engine size. The data for each of these factors was converted to what percentage increase they would result in for the insurance costs. A percentage adjustment of 15 was included. This was to ensure that the contribution of these elements would stay within the rough range of small plane insurance - which we had originally obtained. This allowed high end models and heavily modified cars (Nissan) to go above this range for drivers in the 45-years-old bracket (the cheapest average car insurance within the UK).