Chinese electric vehicles face insurance challenges in UK. Here’s why


Insurance companies in the UK are reluctant to insure Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), citing concerns over high repair costs, lack of technical infor

EV insurance in UK
While insurance costs for EVs in the UK are already high, Chinese EVs face additional hurdles due to parts availability issues and lack of manufacturer documentation for repairs. (Photo is representational)

Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) are facing insurance challenges in the UK, with many models being either uninsurable or burdened with exorbitant premiums. Factors such as high repair costs, lack of technical information, and lengthy lead times for replacement parts are contributing to this issue. Models like the BYD Seal, GWM Ora 03, and some MG models are particularly affected, according to a report by Auto Express.

Thatcham Research, a UK-based risk intelligence company, attributes this situation to Chinese automakers’ unfamiliarity with European repair processes. The intelligence company emphasises that there is a need for better engagement between Chinese automakers and the UK insurance industry. It advises these companies to understand the market and ensure they have the right logistics in place to support their vehicles.

However, Chinese EVs are not the only ones facing insurance challenges in the UK. EV owners in general are paying nearly double the premiums compared to those with combustion vehicles. Tesla owners, in particular, are experiencing significant cost increases. Insurers are also quick to write off cars from mainstream Western manufacturers due to minor battery issues, especially those with batteries as structural elements.

The UK’s National Body Repair Association, highlights the lack of parts availability for Chinese manufacturers as a major issue. The repair association stated that repairers have had to write off models like the GWM ORA 03 due to unavailability of parts, despite these being repairable under different circumstances.

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GWM ORA acknowledges the challenges faced by some owners in obtaining insurance coverage and claims to be taking steps to address the issue. However, the carmaker suggest that part of the problem may be due to unfamiliarity with the brand, leading to communication breakdowns and exaggerated parts lead times.

Another challenge lies in the differences between the Chinese and European repair markets. Labor rates in China are much lower, leading to a perception that repairs are simpler and more cost-effective than they actually are in Europe.

Ultimately, these insurance challenges could impact the competitiveness of Chinese EVs in the UK and European markets, especially in light of potential tariffs. The gap between the expectations of Chinese automakers and the UK insurance industry needs to be addressed to ensure a smoother path for Chinese EVs in these markets.

First Published Date: 10 Mar 2024, 17:35 PM IST

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