A UK insurance company, MORE TH>N, a is now reducing premiums for existing customers with hybrid cars by up to 13% and offering a comparable discount to new customers with hybrids.
The company, the direct arm of Royal & SunAlliance UK, is the first insurer in the UK to offer such a discount. Several insurance companies in the US are offering varying discounts to their hybrid car customers.
All vehicles in the UK are allocated an insurance group rating on a scale of 1-20. MORE TH>N will reduce the rating for all hybrid and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vehicles by two groups. For example, a Toyota Prius is a group 7, but MORE TH>N will classify it as a group 5. The lower the insurance group rating, the less expensive the insurance premium.
MORE TH>N made the announcement concurrent with the release of new research it commissioned indicating that:
Seven out of ten Brits would consider switching to an hybrid car if they were cheaper to run than normal cars;
More than half (60%) would consider switching if there was reduced motor tax; and
58 per cent would consider switching if they could benefit from cheaper motor insurance.
Hybrid car drivers also benefit from a reduction in car tax announced in the 2006 budget and exemption from the congestion charge in central London.
Four in ten motorists would consider switching for the environmental benefits and almost half (48%) are seriously concerned about the impact that full gasoline cars have on the environment. Despite this, only one in five of those questioned by MORE TH>N know the amount of carbon dioxide that their current car emits.
Green motoring is going to be a massive growth area for the car industry as petrol prices continue to rise and concern over global warming grows. We want to financially reward drivers who are taking steps to do their bit for the environment.—Keith Maxwell, head of motor insurance at MORE TH>N
The number of hybrid cars registered in the UK rose by 74% from 2004 to 2005.