What to look for when insuring your courier van

There are plenty of risks when out on the road as a courier driver. Your insurance is your safety net, to make sure that you can carry out your schedule safe in the knowledge that, should any accidents happen, you’ll be covered. But what exactly are you looking for, and how can you be sure that you’ve got all the insurance cover that you need?

Van insurance

To put your van on the road, you have a legal need to insure it.

As is the case with private vehicle insurance, the minimum level of cover is third-party only, which covers you in the event of damage to other people, their property or other vehicles as a result of an accident you are involved in while driving when your van.

Third-party fire and theft adds cover for your own van if it is damaged by fire or stolen, while comprehensive cover also offers protection for damage to your van following an accident.

Don’t assume that third-party insurance will be massively cheaper than comprehensive cover; this isn’t always the case, and paying a little extra up-front could prove a lot cheaper than repairing or replacing your van out of your own pocket.

Other things that can affect your van insurance:

  1. The radius you travel from where the van is kept.  Being honest about this ensures that you are offered the right insurance for your needs.  You’ll find some insurers will also cover journeys to the EU for up to 90 days as part of your policy, too.
  2. How many drivers are on the policy.  Like any other motor insurance, inexperienced drivers might attract higher premiums. The more drivers on the one policy, the more risk is likely to be involved for an insurer.
  3. Have you had any motoring convictions?  If so, there are certain insurers who can cover you.
  4. How big is your van?  Some insurers will specify a limit of 3.5 tonnes; others accommodate up to 7.5 tonnes.
  5. Can you pay in instalments?  Even with the cheapest insurance, spreading the cost can lighten the financial load.
  6. How much excess will you have to pay?  The higher the excess on the policy, the more money has to come out of your pocket if a claim is made, before the insurer steps in to cover the rest.
  7. What happens if you break down?  There’s nothing worse than being stranded when you rely on your van to earn a living.  You should seriously consider adding breakdown cover to your policy, to get you up and running again ASAP when this happens.

What if I have a fleet of vehicles?

If you run a larger company with a number of vans, then you should be considering courier fleet insurance, which allows you to combine all of the vehicles within your business on one policy, making it easier and cheaper to manage your drivers and your vehicles.

Goods In Transit cover

If you’re moving goods from A to B, what happens if they are damaged, lost or stolen in the process?  Goods in Transit cover helps to protect the cost of the items you are transporting.

Goods in Transit insurance can sometimes be overlooked by couriers, yet it is something of a necessity.  Simply buying van insurance doesn’t give you all the cover you need. Obtaining cover for the right level of indemnity for the goods you carry is important; some companies will refuse to deal with you if you don’t have this cover in place.

You could save money by combining van insurance and goods in transit cover in one policy, which is possible with certain insurers.

Public and Employers’ liability

Do you employ staff?  Then it’s highly likely that you will have a legal requirement for employers’ liability insurance, to ensure your business is covered should your employee have a need to make a claim for illness or injury in their work, or if their family make a claim if the employee dies while carrying out their work.

Coming into contact with members of the public also means there is the potential for them to make insurance claims against your business, so public liability insurance covers this eventuality, too.

Still need advice?

It’s easy to get a quote online, but there are grey areas, too – e.g. do you need courier insurance, or a haulage policy?  Where do you draw the line?

It makes sense to speak to a specialist insurance broker who knows your industry well and offers everything listed above, keeping costs down and ensuring you have the right level of cover, whatever your circumstances.


Author: Paul Hughes
Director of Courier Insurance at Bollington.

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