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Motorway near Stuttgart

Photo: Bernd Weißbrod / dpa

Not working on the transport turnaround is stupid and irrational. No eco-radical or climate glue is saying that, it is a slightly modified quote from a speech by Allianz boss Oliver Bäte last week at the UN in New York. And Hubert Aiwanger considers him to be a climate radical.

The CEO's statement also applies to your own personal climate and transport transition. But what if, despite honorable intentions, you come to the conclusion that you can't do without a car? How can you still be part of the transport turnaround – and perhaps even save money in the process? A small note before the answers to these questions: My colleagues at Finanztip have found that your insurers have so far provided you with little support in this project.

Climate is indeed a relevant factor in the calculations of insurance companies. In August alone, motor insurers had to spend around 550 million euros on storm damage. With a total of a good 30 billion in premium income and already imminent losses, every hailstorm and every heavy rain event becomes expensive fun for the industry.

What can you do now as a car owner? And when does the insurance company reward them?

Driving less saves on insurance premiums

You will benefit the most if you drive less. Even though Germans own more and more cars (48.8 million in 2023; 15 percent more than in 2011), they drive significantly fewer kilometers on average. According to figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority, each car was on the road for 2022,12 kilometres in 545. Because of the 9-euro ticket, the mileage per car fell by ten percent last year, says the Leibnitz Institute for Economic Research RWI. Ten percent – that's the average across all drivers. And many may actually have saved kilometers with the 9-euro ticket and now with the 49-euro ticket, while others could not do without the car in everyday life.

More on the subject

Car madness in the capital: quality of life? Not here after allBy Felix Wadewitz

If you reduce your mileage, you as a customer can also save on the insurance premium in the coming weeks – twice.

  • The first time in 2023 you drove less because of the 49-euro ticket, but you reported many more kilometers with your insurer. Many insurers will pay money back if you now prove that you drove significantly less.

  • The second time you will save if you sign the new contract for 2024 in October or November. Enter your updated mileage forecast directly there. And if there are fewer than before, your insurance cover will also be cheaper in 2024. For example, if you only drive 10,000 instead of 20,000, this can quickly add up to 100 to 150 euros in insurance premiums. Even more so for young drivers with a low no-claims class.

Clever refuelling of e-cars

E-cars also play an important role in the climate and transport transition. Especially if you're not driving a two-ton SUV slingshot around. And here, too, you can still save money. E-cars are still quite expensive. Even used vehicles still cost an average of 2023,36 euros in the summer of 000. But if the electricity were cheap, a lot of money could be saved on running costs. There's a catch and a solution here.

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Imminent price shock: Save the e-carThe SPIEGEL editorial by Simon Hage

The catch: Unfortunately, according to statistics from the green electricity provider Lichtblick, prices of over 50 cents on average are called up at public charging stations, and even over 60 cents at fast charging stations. This means that an electric car is just as expensive to consume as a combustion engine, although fuel prices have risen by 2020 percent since 50.

The solution: If you generate the electricity yourself for 10 to 15 cents on your own roof, the bill looks completely different. Many homeowners have already understood this. The new subsidy program for a solar roof with battery on the owner-occupied house and the own wallbox charging station for the e-car, which was announced by the federal government at the beginning of the week, was sold out after just one day. For the coming year, however, another 200 million euros are planned for the funding program, so you still have a chance.

Even if you can charge the car free of charge at your employer's charging station, that's pleasing. For a long time, it was possible to recharge for free at charging stations in the parking lots of large supermarket chains. However, the offer is apparently a thing of the past.

Clever insuring of e-cars

If you enter the e-car of your choice in the common car insurance calculators, the calculator recognizes that it is an e-car by the type number. And, if necessary, offers them a modified insurance cover. After all, the battery, charging cable and charging infrastructure, including the home wallbox, are not an (insurance) issue with the combustion engine. The simple protection up to 20,000 euros is not enough for every car. Battery damage in particular should be covered indefinitely. If the marten nibbles through the cable, you are then on the safe side.

In order to get this sufficient protection, there are two variants: Are you a young driver with a low no-claims class? Then try to buy the protection through a good partial casco. There are partial casco contracts that you can upgrade accordingly.

If you are accident-free for a long time, accordingly have a very high no-claims class, it can make sense to simply take out a good inexpensive comprehensive insurance. If you have fully comprehensive insurance, the premium decreases as the no-claims class increases. In the partial casco, on the other hand, there is no such discount.

Car insurance is also about cushioning short-term climate risks. In fact, insurers had to spend a lot of money during the flood in the Ahr Valley in 2021 and again in August. Heavy rainfall events are becoming more frequent. These are capricious weather conditions caused by climate change.

The good news is that the small natural hazard component in your classic comprehensive insurance is usually sufficient. If you also want to arrange protection for damage such as a landslide or an avalanche, you can do so with extended natural hazard insurance. These are also often available without a surcharge in your comprehensive insurance. And if you need a markup, you can always change insurers.

Classic savings in car insurance

This year, you should take a very careful look at your car insurance. Overall, there is apparently a threat of significant price increases. The head of the German Insurance Association, Jörg Asmussen, expects the industry to lose 2023.2 billion euros in 5.In the UK, consumer advocates are currently complaining that individual insurers are increasing premiums by up to 50 percent.

In addition to sustainable savings through fewer kilometers and an e-car, the classic other savings options are also available:

  • Kick your children out of the contract. They double the cost of car insurance. However, if the children no longer drive the car regularly, you no longer have to insure them.

  • Take advantage of the workshop binding on your car. This makes the insurance cover much cheaper, you can save more than ten percent.

  • Pay annually. Compared to a monthly payment method, you save eight percent.

  • Don't submit every small bill to the insurance company. An increase in the deductible in partial or fully comprehensive insurance saves a lot of contribution. And it's reasonable, too. In addition to your damage, there are also the administrative costs of the insurance. In addition, a claim that you do not report does not affect your no-claims class. Insuring your car will be cheaper in the future in case of doubt.

Back to Oliver Bäte. In its climate program, Allianz has announced that it wants to reduce CO₂ emissions from its motor insurance by 2030 percent by 30. There are also some goodies when it comes to insuring e-cars. Perhaps even more exciting: This fall, Allianz wants to launch a motor vehicle policy "with an environmental aspect," the press office writes to me this week.
You can take a look. In any case, you can now save money on car insurance and do something for the climate. You don't have to wait for the insurers.

Good luck!