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Charge On!, Issue #003: YOU might be in good hands, but...
March 11, 2007
An interesting thing happened the other day when I was calling around, asking insurance agents to give me a quote on an electric car. I asked about NEVs, specifically the Zenn; I asked about the Zap Xebra , and I asked about conversions.
Boy, did I get an education!
What I THOUGHT: The agent would say, sure - we insure them. We've insured a few. Let's talk to the underwriter and see how we did it before. I figured there was a designation for them, like motorcycle insurance.
What I GOT: What's an electric car? Neighborhood? Is that a brand?
Then - cool! That's a really good idea! I'll google Zenn and Zap so I can get a better look. Meanwhile, let me run this past the underwriter and get back to you.
...the underwriter said "sorry, but no".
Allstate, according to my local agent, doesn't insure electric cars of any kind.
Neither does GEICO. To their credit, I suppose, the agent was at least familiar enough with electric cars that he didn't even have to check; he just said "No" to all of them.
Farmers, after establishing exactly WHAT is a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, anyway?, would be happy to insure a ZENN, but not a three-wheeled car like Zap, not even as a motorcycle.
The AAA agent I spoke to, after asking four different underwriters, reluctantly said "no", too. To all of the above.
State Farm is still thinking about it.
I'm currently looking into a "green" version of AAA which is plugging electric cars AND which carries auto insurance. Stay tuned, there should be a page on insurance in the RSS feed and blog within a week or two.
Conversions, however, nobody seems to mind covering...
...especially if you don't TELL 'em it's a conversion; )
I asked several agents about conversions (from what to what? they asked, and after I patiently explained...) and they seemed a little less nervous about those. I suppose it's the familiarity; a '97 Geo Metro doesn't seem like a challenge to insure, does it?
...as Mark Jacobsen pointed out at my visit to MCEV in Seattle, most conversions are not actually even street legal, because (with the exception of the pickups which are designed to carry more payload) the weight of batteries actually put the car over its maximum. Makes ya wonder how they'll treat you after an accident.
What do you all think about the insurance issue? What are those of you who are currently EV drivers doing for insurance? Kindly hit "reply" and send me your thoughts.
I'm working on this for a page, as I mentioned, and I'd like to include your feedback.
New Pages at the WebsiteTwo more things -
One, there is a new dealership page available at the website - it's a directory, really. If I've missed the EV dealership down the street from your house, by all means, send me a note.
I'm thinking of adding comments and photos to the listings. What do you think?
There's a report on NEV safety here based on an "unplanned meeting" between a ZENN and a big honking SUV.
(Guess who won?)
Thanks for subscribing, and I look forward to hearing from you!
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