The competition for taxi customers is fierce in most parts of the UK these days, mostly due to the rise of on-demand ride hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft.
For those involved in the private hire taxi business, or those considering entering this lucrative market, it’s worth understanding the rules and regulations before you start, especially those concerning private hire taxi insurance coverage. Misinterpreting them can lead to fines or even temporary suspension of your business licence, so it’s easy to make mistakes when you have just started out. Here are a few suggestions to bear in mind.
What is a Private Hire Taxi?
- Taxis and black cabs, called hackney carriages, are licensed to pick up passengers at taxi ranks or to be hailed on the road
- Private hire vehicles (PHV or minicabs) are only allowed to pick up passengers if they have been booked in advance. They cannot make use of taxi ranks and cannot be flagged down on the road or display a taxi sign.
- A hackney carriage can double as a PHV as well, but a PHV cannot double as a hackney carriage.
Private Hire insurance is different from a standard car policy because it protects you against the risks you face. As a private hire driver, you spend much more of your time on the road than the average driver, often at unsociable hours and in inner-city areas, which can increase the risk of an accident. The vehicles taxi drivers use, such as black cabs, MPVs and minibuses, are often larger and carry more passengers than normal cars, which also brings additional risks.
Private Hire Taxi insurance should cover the vehicle, the driver, your passengers, members of the public and their property to protect your livelihood so you can get back on the road as quickly as possible.
Private Hire Insurance Options
Here are some choices worth considering when looking at Private Hire Taxi Insurance. The number of extras you can add to your taxi insurance policy is almost limitless, so take some time to think about the risks you face and the cover you need. This may also vary depending on whether you own just one taxi or are looking at a fleet insurance policy.
While some elements of the policy will be fee-free, there are also some features that will increase the cost of your premium, so it’s well worth checking you do not already have relevant cover from another source.
- Third-party only – This is the minimum level of Private hire taxi insurance you must have by law. It covers you for any damage caused to someone else’s vehicle, property or person, but doesn’t provide any cover for you or your taxi.
- Third-party fire and theft – This covers all third parties but also will protect your own vehicle against damage caused by fire or theft.
- Comprehensive – This is the most extensive level of protection you can buy. It includes all of the cover listed above but also protects you and your vehicle against injury or damage.
Added Insurance Extras
- Named driver policies – If you own a single taxi car and you’re the only driver, then a named driver policy is likely to be the best fit for you.
- All-driver policies – This type of policy covers all drivers up to a certain age. If you run a taxi firm then as a fleet owner, you should weigh up the convenience an all-driver policy can provide against the potential costs.
- Public liability insurance – Public liability comes as a feature on many policies and covers you against claims made by members of the public who may be injured or suffer a loss as a result of travelling in your taxi. Though not a legal requirement, it is strongly advised that drivers take out the policy.
- Taxi breakdown cover – Taxi breakdown cover can often be added to taxi insurance policies. It makes sense to try and keep you on the road as much as possible.
- Modified vehicles – During the quote process, you’ll also be asked to declare modifications your taxi might have, such as wheelchair clamps, straps and ramps.
- Where you operate – You need to ensure your policy is tailored to the particular regions you drive in. The premium you pay will differ depending on whether you operate predominantly in urban or rural areas.
- Vehicle type – If your taxi has more than the standard five seats then you may need a policy that’s specifically designed for larger vehicles. This can include MPV or minibus insurance.
- The number of vehicles – If you operate a taxi business then you might find a fleet insurance policy is the most cost-effective way to cover your vehicles.
Whether you are looking for individual Private Hire Taxi Insurance or you have an entire fleet, comparing taxi insurance is essential for saving your business from unnecessary expenses. If you have a fleet, you could very well be saving a small fortune every year just by reducing your insurance payments on each of those cars.
If you need more information on the options available to your private hire taxi business, please call Tradex on 0333 313 1111.