Expanding a Self-Employed Taxi Business as a Courier Service

Courier insurance, Taxi insurance, fleet insuranceWith the rise of home delivery services such as Deliveroo and Ocado and the massive growth in online ordering via mobile phone applications, it’s no surprise that those working in the private hire taxi industry should wish to expand their offering.

The entrance of Uber into the landscape has led many private hire taxi firms to extend their services into the lucrative courier and delivery market. But what are the implications and rules regarding self-employed taxi insurance that can be affected when you decide to upgrade your service as a courier?

This year a new app for London cabbies called Envoy was launched. It works by letting users post a job to be picked up for delivery that will then be dispatched by a London Black Taxi driver in and around London. Once the user has posted a job, a driver can pick up the parcel and deliver to the requested location. Drivers can view all available jobs on the Envoy app and choose ones that are local.

With their knowledge of London’s streets and boroughs, Black Taxi drivers argue that they can move parcels/packages, important documents and goods around quicker and more safely than any courier company in London.

Although still in the development stage, it is a bellwether of how the taxi business is evolving to capture the opportunities provided within the courier sector. After all, with local knowledge and a great reputation, it seems only natural that the two should be a perfect fit in most UK locales and is a great way for drivers to supplement their income and use their skills to courier items around the British cities.

Taxi & Courier Insurance 

If you’re thinking of extending your offering into the courier sector, as a self-employed private taxi provider or taxi fleet, there are some vital insurance cover issues that you need to be aware of. Aside from your normal private & public hire taxi insurance or taxi fleet insurance, you will probably need cover for:

•          Public liability

•          Goods in transit

•          Legal cover 

Courier insurance is designed to protect you as a courier, as well as the vehicle you drive and the cargo you transport. Obtaining the right type of courier insurance for you depends on the type of business you run. 

There are particular risks associated with this type of work where your cargo could be lost, stolen or damaged in transit and you’re visiting multiple locations in a hurry, so accidents are more likely. Any policy should also protect you against the risks you pose to other road users as well as their vehicles, property and passengers.

Whether you work as a part-time courier with your own vehicle, run several vehicles or even own a courier fleet, you need to tailor your policies to cater for the cargo you carry. As a courier, it’s not just the vehicles you drive that have value. You may also transport important and expensive cargo, so it makes sense to have cover in place that protects you against the specific risks you face.

As well as protection for the road risks you face, your insurer should provide a policy that has goods in transit cover included as standard up to a value of £10,000. You can also add public and employers’ liability cover as well as other business insurances that may be required to create a single policy that meets all your needs.

Do I Need Courier Insurance?

If your vehicle and cargo play an essential part in your business, then you must have the right type of cover in place. If you operate as a taxi in your own personal car and deliver time-sensitive parcels, then courier insurance is necessary as standard private car, motorbike or van insurance will not provide adequate cover for this specific type of use. 

Courier insurance is designed to protect you against the unique risks you face. That includes:

•          Making multiple stops during a single trip

•          High levels of daily mileage

•          A range of cargo types of different values

If you have employees, then you are legally obliged to put employers’ liability insurance in place. Public liability cover can also be included as part of a cost-effective courier insurance policy that could protect your business from claims by members of the public who are injured or suffer a loss as a result of your work. 

When choosing the right level of cover for you, it’s important to consider that couriers spend most of their time on the road, which increases your chances of being involved in an accident or suffering loss. The levels of cover available include: 

• Third party only – This is the minimum cover required by law and will protect third party liabilities in the event of an accident.

• Third party fire and theft – Includes the same cover as third party only with the addition of protection for fire or the theft of your vehicle.

• Comprehensive – Provides the same cover as third party fire and theft but also protects you and your vehicle for any damage sustained as a result of an accident.

Other extras could include:

•          European cover

•          Breakdown and accident recovery

•          Excess protection

•          Protected no-claims discounts

While no one likes to spend extra for insurance, failing to put courier insurance in place could bring a premature end to your taxi business if your vehicle or goods were stolen.

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