With the increase of online vehicle purchasing either from dealers or auction sites, there is a growing demand for longer distance vehicle transportation. If you are transporting vehicles for a living, or thinking of investing in this area, what special licences and motor trade insurance do you need? How does this differ from breakdown and recovery?
The combination of online retailing and the global pandemic has transformed the way car buyers are purchasing second hand or classic vehicles. In October this year, the UK’s leading auctioneers BCA reported a record number of online buyers in the second lockdown, with more than 5,000 bidders logging in on most sale days in that one month alone.
Rather than travelling the length and breadth of the country in search of a new car, purchasers are opting to buy from the comfort of their own home and the motor trade is responding to demand offering deals such as free delivery built into the purchase price. It’s great news for those in the car transporting industry or for those courier businesses which want to supplement their current activities with vehicle pick up and delivery.
For vehicle deliveries within the UK, the cheapest and most convenient option is to have the vehicle driven to its destination by a transportation company. Vehicle transportation specialists have the necessary experience, motor trade insurance and relevant trade plates to complete the operation.
If you are considering a move into car transportation, you will need a goods vehicle operator’s licence. You need a licence to carry cars in a lorry, van, or other vehicle with either:
- a gross plated weight (the maximum weight that the vehicle can have at any one time) of over 3,500 kilograms (kg)
- an unladen weight of more than 1,525 kg (where there is no plated weight)
You must also make sure that all your drivers have the correct licence and training.
If you want to tow heavier car transporting trailers, you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence for a medium-sized lorry and trailer (category C1+E). You also have to pass the lorry theory test, plus the C1+E driving test and take extra Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests if driving the medium-sized van or truck is the main part of your job. Once you’ve done this you can drive vans and trailers with a combined weight of up to 12,000kg.
Your operating centre (depot or garage) is where your car transporter is normally kept when not in use. When you apply for an operator’s licence, you’ll be asked to give the address of your proposed centre and information about the numbers of trailers and vehicles you will keep there.
You’ll need to show that your operating centre is large enough to house a car transporter, has safe access and is in an environmentally acceptable location. You’ll also have to carry out your own inspections and maintenance and keep records that include the transporter vehicle details, a list of all items to be inspected, when and by whom the inspection is carried out, the result of the inspection, details of any work carried out and a declaration that any defects have been properly fixed
The principles of load security also apply. Older, second-hand cars are notorious for parts falling from them, so measures to reduce this risk should always be an important consideration. A load is deemed to be insecure if, in legislation terms, it can be said to be ‘likely to cause danger or nuisance to any person’, or, more seriously ‘is such that it involves a danger of injury to any person’.
Operating a car transport business also requires specific vehicle transport insurance protection tailored to meet your needs and should include flexible customers’ vehicle indemnity limits, public and employers’ liability and office, contents and equipment cover.
Adding goods in transit insurance will cover items from theft, loss or damage while they are being transported by your vehicle from one place to another, while breakdown and recovery insurance will make sure your transporters stay moving.
Your motor trade insurance broker will be able to tailor make a bespoke policy keeping you safe within all aspects of your business.