The first thing to consider when looking into HGV fleet insurance is whether or not your business requires an operator’s licence. This is essential to validate your insurance policy and start trading. You will need a goods vehicle operator’s licence if your vehicles have a gross plated weight of over 3.5 tonnes and an unladen weight of over 1.5 tonnes. The type of operator’s licence you need depends on the goods you carry and where you carry them. To find out more, visit the VOSA website.
Once you’ve established this, there are a whole range of different levels of cover from goods in transit and public liability insurance. The type you need will depend on your individual business activity and the risks involved for your fleet.
Third-party only insurance is the minimum level of cover required by law for HGV fleet drivers in the UK. This covers injury to others, damage to third-party property and liability while towing.
Third-party, fire and theft insurance covers everything that TPO does but also includes fire damage, theft of vehicles and damage to vehicles caused during a theft.
A comprehensive policy provides the most extensive level of cover, including everything under TPO and TPFT, as well as loss or damage to vehicles, accidental damage, medical expenses, personal effects and windscreen cover.
Telematics is a growing area of the insurance market for commercial fleets to monitor driver performance. The policy uses a black box or mobile app to calculate premiums based on the standard of driving. The safer your drivers are, the cheaper your premiums will be, which is a bonus. Sophisticated data is fed back to you as well so that you can analyse the performance of your fleet and make necessary changes to minimise risk to your business.
In the UK, it is a legal requirement to obtain employer’s liability insurance within a wider commercial liability insurance policy for any business that employs staff. Policy details can alter depending on the individual risks of a business, but legally, the minimum level of cover is £5 million. This will cover compensation costs if an employee becomes ill or injured as a result of their work, encompassing medical costs, legal costs, loss of income and other related damages. Within a fleet business, the risk is significantly higher for accident and injury than that of a café or shop due to working with large machinery and heavy loads. Ensuring you are covered should the worst happen is not only a legal requirement, but it is beneficial to the financial security of your business.
Your commercial liability insurance policy should include public liability insurance, although it isn’t a legal requirement for UK businesses. If your fleet business involves interaction with the public, it is advised to make sure you are protected in case one of your drivers causes accidental injury or damage to property. The standard cover ranges from £1 million to £10 million, with the amount depending on the size of your business and the level of risk involved in your industry sector. For example, a scaffolding company has higher potential risks than a flower delivery company and so would need a larger amount of cover. For small businesses, the amount of cover offered by insurance providers may seem very high, but if a third party were to claim against your business, the cost of compensation could soon mount up. Public liability insurance will cover you for third-party loss of earnings, medical costs, ongoing care and legal fees, which could be incurred in the worst instance.
If your fleet business involves transporting goods, then making sure you’re covered for theft, loss or damage is a financial must. Goods in transit insurance cover all items being transported by vehicle in the course of business in case one of your vehicles is broken into, or items are damaged in a traffic collision. Couriers for online retailers or furniture removal companies are just two examples of fleet businesses which would benefit from this type of cover. Without it, the payout for replacing someone’s collection of antique furniture could be huge.
You can save on business insurance by combining multiple layers of cover under one policy. For example, you could take out a public liability policy alongside a goods-in-transit policy if you are a fleet courier company delivering to the public. Most commercial vehicle insurance providers offer multiple cover options on a single policy for businesses which will lower the overall cost on premiums.
Another way to further reduce the cost is by reducing the level of potential risk within your fleet. Implementing measures such as, regular staff health and safety training will significantly reduce the risk of accident and injury within your business. Insurance providers reward businesses that take measures to reduce risk with lower premiums, reducing the overall cost to you.
Local authorities will usually advise the correct level of cover required for different businesses. Alternatively, trade bodies or associations for your industry sector will have guidelines in place for the level of cover your business is expected to have. Checking in with these sources will ensure you are keeping up with your industry standards for your peace of mind.
Before you commit to a policy, it is crucial to check with your insurance provider exactly what you are and are not covered for. Clarity is key in the event of needing to make a claim, and your policy can be tailored to the individual risks posed in your line of work. You want to ensure that you are sufficiently covered by considering all potential risks before you sign on the dotted line. If you feel that your policy is lacking cover in any particular areas, it is important to flag this up and make the necessary changes as soon as possible.
These nine considerations should serve as a quick guide to selecting an all-cover fleet insurance policy. If you’re looking for business insurance for your fleet, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. Give us a call on 0333 577 0331 or contact us.
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