Chinese vehicles may be a hot-button issue in the United States, but they're already taking root in Europe. Automakers BYD, Great Wall Motors, MG, and more have attracted buyers due to pricing, value, and surprisingly good quality, but not all that glitters is gold. But reports from several sources allege that the high insurance costs of new Chinese EVs are scaring off some price-conscious buyers, and the reasons why aren't surprising. 

According to CityAm, a UK-based finance outlet, UK insurance companies are facing hardships when it comes to new Chinese vehicles. The outlet cited “A dearth in replacement parts, poor cooperation between insurance firms and Chinese manufacturers and a lack of technical knowledge of the new vehicles,” which in turn is driving up UK drivers’ insurance rates. 

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EVs Can Be Expensive To Insure

EVs can be more expenisve to repair, with some sources claiming that the average EV insurance claim is around 25% more expensive than a comparable gas-powered car. Also, some EV startups are struggling to meet the demand for replacement parts or supply tradesmen with accurate repair instructions.

This isn’t the only report of this problem, either. Earlier this month, Auto Express honed in on BYD with similar complaints. The BYD Seal may be in the running for the World Car of the Year award, but UK body shops are struggling to repair any BYD in the country.

Auto Express cites similar reasoning: “A lack of understanding about how Europe’s repair market works, and a failure to provide the correct parts and information that would allow cost-effective repairs to be carried out following accidents.”

When these cars are damaged, they can end up with long repair times, as body repair shops wait for replacement parts for repairs that theoretically shouldn’t be all that complicated. In other cases, repairs that would be somewhat routine on any typical European or Japanese brand, have straight-up totaled out a Chinese car. That’s not great news for the insurance rates of Chinese EV models.

BYD Dolphin (Europe)

Thus, some insurance companies are simply opting not to insure these vehicles at all. When drivers can find insurance, the quotes are far more expensive than a typical gas-powered vehicle of the same size and prestige. 

The reputation of EVs being expensive to insure and repair is a global problem. We’ve learned this with Tesla and other brands; batteries are pricy devices that are often unfixable when damaged in an accident, leading the car to become totaled more easily. Also, because of the high-voltage nature of electric vehicles, many technicians must have proper training to perform certain procedures, which inherently means they’re more expensive.

ORA Funky Cat First Edition UK-spec exterior rear three-quarter view driving

It seems that the new Chinese EV startups have fallen into the same issues that have plagued other brands, albeit prompted by a mismatch in culture. Tesla has only gotten somewhat better in recent times, but it’s still not great. We can’t forget that high repair costs are one of the factors that caused Hertz to drop most Teslas from its EV fleet.

Still, both sources were adamant that there was nothing wrong with the cars themselves. When they’re undamaged, they’re still competent vehicles, and BYD, MG, and Great Wall Motors explained that they were taking steps to better understand how the European market works, and rectify the problems. With some luck, insurance prices will drop down to reasonable levels. 

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