’Our underwriter has temporarily paused offering new policies and renewals,’ says lending arm

John Lewis Financial Services has temporarily stopped offering insurance to drivers of electric vehicles – a decision made by its underwriter Covéa.

In a statement sent to Insurance Times today (2 October 2023), the department store’s lending arm said it had halted offering new policies as well as renewals for EVs.

It said the move came as Covéa raised fears over the cost of repairing the vehicles.

Back in April 2021, Covéa entered into a five-year motor insurance partnership with the department store – the deal sees car insurance marketed by John Lewis, with policy administration, underwriting, pricing and claims service provided by Covéa.

A John Lewis Financial Services spokesperson said: “Our underwriter has temporarily paused offering new policies and renewals on fully electric vehicles whilst they analyse the risks and costs entailed.

“This decision does not affect any existing policies in force or hybrid vehicles.”


This comes at a time when there has been a shift in motorists wanting to make an EV their next purchase.

Figures released in Allianz Partner’s States of Mind series report, published earlier this year (20 June 2023), revealed that the majority of road users (60%) wanted to make the switch, with there being more electric vehicles on the market.

It also highlighted that 450 models were available in 2021, twice the number available in 2018.

However, two of the leading dangers posed to emergency service workers when responding to a road accident are lithium-ion battery fires and electrocution.

According to Park Lodge International, lithium-ion batteries can set alight by overheating, penetration or over-charging.

Richard Dunbar, who served as a chief fire officer for over 19 years and is now managing director at the fire safety and investigation training consultancy, said that “first responders are at risk because there is little warning that a lithium-ion battery will go into thermal runaway”.

He added: “Having the right EV knowledge not only saves precious seconds in the vital golden hour, during which the chances of preventing death by way of prompt medical treatment are the highest, but is also essential to protecting the people we rely on should the worst happen on the roads.”