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Green car insurance

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1Correct as of July 2024

What is green car insurance?

Green car insurance (also known as eco car insurance) refers to car insurance policies which promote eco-friendly driving, or ethical policies which include things like offsetting for your carbon emissions.

It’s worth noting that, while this type of insurance is comparatively rare, it’s likely to increase in popularity.

We compare quotes from green insurance providers. So when you get a quote, keep an eye out for green policies.

Pssst... If you're looking to insure an electric vehicle (EV), check out electric car insurance.

How does green car insurance work?

Generally speaking, green car insurance policies work like standard car insurance. But there are a few key ways in which these policies differ, with the goal of being more eco friendly:

Carbon offsetting

With these policies, your insurer will look to offset your emissions. First, the amount of carbon you generate will be estimated, usually by taking into account the type of car you use, and the amount of miles you’re expected to drive.

Then your insurer will offset a certain amount of your carbon emissions as part of your cover - say, the first 1,000 miles you drive. This may be through reforestation projects, for example. You may then have an option to offset the rest for a fee, which your insurance provider will also contribute to.

Perks for efficient drivers

Some providers incentivise eco-friendly driving, offering points and rewards if you drive efficiently. You can then trade these in for rewards.

Your driving is tracked using a telematics device that’s fitted to your car, or an app you activate when you drive. This then monitors things like your speed, how smoothly you accelerate, brake, and take corners, as well as your mileage.

The more efficiently you drive, the more points you accumulate.

Green part repairs

With some policies, you may be able to choose to have your car repaired using parts salvaged from other cars.

Known as ‘green parts’, these are undamaged parts which are removed from cars which may have been written off, for instance. They’re fully safety checked, then recycled by being fitted to cars in for repair.

Using green parts means you reduce waste, as undamaged parts aren’t disposed of. Plus you avoid the carbon cost involved in producing brand-new ones.

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**Single annual policy. New and former Paramount+ subscribers only who sign up at ParamountPlus.com. Subscription required. Auto-renews unless cancelled. 18+. Just Eat website account required, geographical exclusions apply. The year-round reward is provided by Greggs, and consists of one regular hot drink per month for a year, only available via the Confused.com app. T&Cs apply.

What does green car insurance cover?

While eco car insurance is tailored to provide you with a greener policy and reduce your carbon footprint, ultimately it gives you the same level of cover as standard car insurance.

Like all policies, it's available in three levels:

  • Third-party only

    is the minimum level of cover required to drive legally in the UK. It protects you if you have a collision with a third party, injuring them or damaging their vehicle or other property. But your car won’t be covered, and nor will it be covered for fire damage or theft.
  • Third-party, fire and theft

    provides less protection than comprehensive policies. It protects you against claims made by third parties, including injury or damage to their property. Plus it covers you if your car is stolen, or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive

    gives you and your vehicle the most protection. Like every level of car insurance, it covers injury to third parties or damage to their property. In addition, you’re protected in the event that you or your passengers are injured, or you damage your car in a collision. It also covers you for theft and fire damage. And while you might expect that comprehensive is the most expensive level of cover, it often works out the cheapest.

What other green car insurance options are there?

Taking out a green car insurance policy isn't the only way to be an environmentally friendly motorist. You might also consider investing in a green vehicle.

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Electric car insurance

Electric vehicles (EVs) run entirely on a battery, meaning fossil fuels are removed from the equation. As such, emissions are zero, which is much better for the environment. There may be carbon emissions produced in generating electricity to power the EVs, but some policies will offset these emissions too.

EVs are admittedly expensive to buy. But as the more environmentally friendly option, there may be schemes and incentives in place to help you make the switch. It’s also worth noting that EVs usually work out cheaper over the lifetime of the vehicle, because filling up on petrol or diesel is significantly more expensive than charging an electric car battery.

Electric car insurance policies tend to be more specialised, offering extras such as cover for charging cables and batteries. While standard policies may be able to cover your EV, it’s always important to check that a policy offers the cover you need before you commit.

Explore electric car insurance

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Hybrid car insurance

Hybrid cars still have a regular internal combustion engine (ICE) powered by petrol or diesel. But they have a battery-powered motor too. Being able to switch between energy sources means you lower your emissions, so hybrids are more environmentally friendly than cars which run purely on petrol or diesel.

With regular hybrid vehicles, the battery is charged from the engine, and also energy created via the brakes (known as regenerative braking). It’s also possible to get plug-in hybrids, which have larger batteries that you can charge in the same way as you would an EV - either at home or at charging stations.

You don’t tend to get schemes to help you switch to hybrids, but they are cheaper to buy than EVs. Plus they’re usually cheaper to insure. Car insurance for hybrid cars usually works in the same way regular car cover does.

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What else can I do to be a greener driver?

Maintain your car

It’s more economical and efficient to keep a well-maintained car. Keep your tyres in good nick, and check their pressure regularly. You burn through more fuel if your tyres are under or over-inflated, so keeping them properly pumped can make a big difference.

Lighten your load

You’ll use less fuel if you keep your car light, ditching any unnecessary weight. If they’re not necessary for the journey, remove roof racks, bike racks or luggage boxes. Not only will this lighten the vehicle, but it also reduces air resistance.

Be mindful of the AC

Using the air conditioning in your car can increase your fuel consumption by as much as 8-10%. So don’t use it if you don’t need to. But also make sure it’s recharged each year (known as ‘regas’), so that the aircon doesn’t need to work so hard to keep you at a comfortable temperature.

Also, opening the window to cool down is actually less efficient than using your AC. This causes drag, which has the same effect as weighing your car down.

Share lifts

If you regularly make the same journey as someone else you know - such as the school run - why not share lifts? Using two cars is worse for the environment than using just the one.

Ditch the car

Before making a journey, ask yourself if you really need to use the car. For short journeys, it may be more efficient to walk, hop on public transport or a bike. Driving doesn’t always save time, especially over short distances - but it usually has the most environmental impact.

Drive in an eco-friendly way

Using your car’s controls smoothly will help maximise your fuel efficiency. Harsh braking and rapid acceleration are inefficient, and lead to more wear and tear. It’s best to accelerate progressively, and brake gently.

High gears are also more fuel efficient. Shift into them as soon as you can. And when slowing down, delay going into lower gear. You can still slow down to a minimum in fourth or fifth.

On faster roads such as motorways, staying at a constant speed is more efficient. If you have cruise control, use this rather than maintaining your speed with the pedals. Bear in mind that cruise control works best on flat roads. Using it on a gradient actually makes your fuel economy worse.

Eco-safe driving is a recognised style of driving which contributes to road safety while reducing emissions. But please note that changing your driving style can take some getting used to. It's important to drive safely while progressing at a rate you're comfortable with.

What our car insurance expert says

"If you’re an eco-concious driver looking for a greener way to get insured, green car insurance is a great way to go about it. You’ll typically get everything you would on a standard car insurance policy, but with added extras like carbon offsetting, green part repairs thrown in too. Green policies can be trickier to find as fewer insurers offer them, but they are out there."
Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
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Page last reviewed: 01 July 2024

Reviewed by: Louise Thomas