If your business is reliant on the transportation or delivery of goods, or you manage a fleet of vehicles, having adequate and reliable breakdown cover as part of your motor trade insurance policy is essential for the efficiency of your business.
Commercial breakdown cover could be the make or break of your company, particularly during the winter months when roads are busy and the weather changeable and deadlines get ever more squeezed.
Here are a few pointers of how to get the best commercial breakdown cover to suit your business and keep your fleet on the road.
Getting the Best Value for Your Fleet
As with other types of insurance, the more vehicles you need to include on the fleet policy, the better the per-vehicle value. Emergency help should be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and only a single phone call away. With some policies you pay a year up-front, others may offer a pay-as-you go arrangement with a standard admin fee and then payment as and when you need to use the breakdown service.
Here are some of the questions you need to consider when looking at the right policy for your fleet business.
- Do you need breakdown cover for ‘light vans’ (3.5 tonnes), bikes or heavier trucks, or a combination?
- How much cover do you think you will need? Roadside cover is the most basic policy, but you may need nationwide or European protection.
- Consider if you need specialist cover which may vary depending on your business such as taxi or minibuses, coaches, or delivery drivers.
- Will you need replacement vehicle cover?
- Can you afford to pay annually or monthly?
What are the Levels of Fleet Cover?
Breakdown cover offers varying levels of cover depending on the needs of your business and vehicles.
All breakdown cover policies include roadside assistance as standard. This is the most basic level of cover and ensures that if you break down more than a quarter of a mile from your registered business address, someone can assist you roadside.
If your fleet vehicle is unable to be repaired roadside, it will be towed to your nearest garage, business premises or home. Vehicle recovery is often added to a roadside assistance policy and different breakdown companies will offer different levels of cover so it’s best to check. Some have a limit on miles that your vehicle can be transported, number of passengers or the destination.
Fleet Vehicle Replacement with Onward Travel
For fleet drivers, this can save time and disappointed customers. If the vehicle can’t be fixed roadside, some motor trade insurance companies will offer a replacement vehicle. Alternatively, they may provide onward travel or hotel accommodation costs.
Remember that as from December 31st, 2020 the UK leaves the European single market and so new restrictions will apply. If your business travels regularly to Europe, breakdown cover abroad is highly recommended. If you break down, your vehicle can be fixed at the roadside, towed to the nearest garage for repair or returned to your home country. When it comes to business breakdown, getting the right level of cover is key to keeping your fleet on the road; the cheapest cover may not be the best choice for your needs.
Most fleet breakdown cover should provide cover from two vehicles upwards. With the help of your insurer, you should tailor-make your breakdown cover policy to your current fleet and should be able to cover a variety of commercial vehicles under one overarching policy.
European Breakdown cover
Remember, it’s down to you to make sure staff know breakdown protocols so they get the support they need with a minimum of stress. They need to know where the breakdown card is in the vehicle and how it’s authorised by the breakdown provider. If they can’t reliably produce a card, then the breakdown company can legally refuse to provide a service. And if a vehicle that has been involved in an accident needs lifting or winching this will be covered, depending on the chosen tariff.
There might be times when your company needs to hire a car after a breakdown. The vehicle is usually offered for a minimum 48 hours from time of collection but check the details and terms as they may vary from policy to policy. The driver will need to show a copy of their driving licence and a personal or company credit card as a fuel deposit before a car is authorised.
In summary: Just like car breakdown protection there’s potential for policy upgrades. Just be beware of unnecessary policy duplication that could be a waste of money.