Choosing Taxi Fleet Insurance

Choosing Taxi Fleet Insurance

If you are the owner of a taxi fleet or are thinking of expanding your taxi business, getting the right level of cover for all your vehicles can be a challenge, particularly if you renew individual policies annually.

Going through each policy is both time-consuming and can take a lot of effort. Having a policy that covers all of the taxis in your fleet can make life simpler when it comes to the policy renewal date, but many operators may find the initial steps for taking out taxi fleet insurance complex.

Tradex provides taxi fleet insurance throughout the UK including small fleets right up to large taxi organisations who hold contracts in specific areas.

Here is our guide to getting taxi fleet cover for your vehicles.

What is Taxi Fleet Insurance?

A fleet is classed as a group of vehicles that are operated by a single company or under the same ownership and are used in conjunction with its business. Taxi fleet insurance policies can consist of multiples of the same vehicle or a mixture of vehicle types, starting from two up to a limitless amount which will vary depending on the insurance broker.

A taxi fleet insurance policy can initially be more complicated to arrange than if you were just covering a single vehicle but once complete, a taxi fleet insurance policy will make the administration and ongoing management much easier with one renewal date.

A taxi fleet insurance policy could also help you save valuable time, resources and reduce costs as well as giving greater flexibility when it comes to adding or removing vehicles whether a fleet of black cabs, minicabs, private hire, minibuses, or a combination of vehicles.

Finding the right policy to match the volume and requirements of the vehicles in your fleet may mean some initial groundwork, which is why it’s important to find several quotes from experienced taxi insurance brokers.

It will also usually be set up as any driver policy, so you do not have to worry about adding individual named drivers. However, there will likely be certain requirements around the type of drivers that can be covered. This includes a minimum age, license type, the length of time the licence has been held and overall driving history.

Different Types of Taxi Vehicles

Many taxi fleet operators will invest in a variety of many different types of vehicles so they can offer a full service to meet the needs of their customers. Taxi fleet insurance policies can include saloon cars as well as people carriers, minibuses and even coaches and can often cover an unlimited number of vehicles.

If you only have a few taxis within your fleet, it may still be a better option to insure individually but this would be an area you should check with your taxi insurance broker.

Getting the Right Taxi Fleet Insurance

Nobody knows the challenges of running a taxi fleet better than yourself. As a taxi fleet, your vehicles are at greater risk of accidents and breakdowns due to the additional mileage in all-weather conditions, together with the likelihood of driving in urban locations.

As well as looking after the welfare of your drivers, ensuring they are medically fit to drive and have the right taxi permits and qualifications, you also need to ensure the safety of your passengers and their belongings with the right liability insurance.

In general, taxi fleet operators will need to find an insurance policy that provides cover for all of these elements, as well as any authorised driver policies and cover for taxi bases and offices.

Taxi fleet insurance usually provides cover for two or more vehicles, mixed fleet policy for public and private hire vehicles if necessary as well as individual driving cover which will vary depending on age and experience.

What does Taxi Fleet Insurance cover?

A taxi fleet insurance policy can cover both public and private hire vehicles. Insurers differentiate between these two categories because of the different levels of risks involved which can become a factor in calculating the insurance premium.

Private hire vehicles are more like minicabs and need to be pre-booked. They cannot be hailed at a taxi rank or on the street. Public hire vehicles include black cabs and hackney carriages. They are licensed by the council or Transport for London to pick up fares on the street and at taxi ranks.

The main areas of cover for taxi fleet insurance can include:

  • Road risks insurance including third-party, third-party fire and theft, fully comprehensive
  • Public liability insurance
  • Windscreen protection cover
  • Money cover 
  • Employers’ liability insurance
  • Any authorised driver cover
  • Taxi key cover

Similar to general insurance, fleet taxi Insurance will protect the vehicles against accidents, theft and vandalism. The level of cover will depend on the type of insurance you choose and which additional areas that are a requirement of your business or will give you greater security and peace of mind.

The three main levels of road risks cover include:

  • Third Party Only Fleet Taxi Insurance: This is the minimum level of cover by law that you will need as part of your taxi fleet business. It will only cover damage to other vehicles and not your own taxi when an accident is deemed your fault. This type of taxi fleet insurance does generally have the lowest cost but isn’t recommended for a full taxi fleet.
  • Third Party Fire and Theft Fleet Taxi Insurance: This is similar to third party only insurance but does have some additional benefits. For example, if your vehicle is stolen or suffers damage from a fire it will be covered under this policy.
  • Fully Comprehensive Fleet Taxi Insurance: This is the highest level of cover and usually the one that is recommended for owners of taxi fleets. It is also generally the most popular with the majority of taxi fleet operators choosing this level of insurance cover for their businesses. All the cover under a third party, fire & theft policy is included, as well as any accidental damage caused to your own vehicle as a result of a fault or a non-fault accident. Due to the increased level of protection, it is, of course, also generally the most expensive.

Taxi Fleet Insurance and No Claims

Unlike individual vehicle insurance, once a company taxi fleet Insurance policy is in place, the vehicles will no longer be able to collect individual no claims bonuses. Instead, the policy history will be collated in to one fleet claims experience document.

The main advantage of doing this is that any claim is registered on the entire policy rather than the specific vehicle itself, which can help to spread the risk across all the taxis, potentially leading to a lower overall premium or preventing increases when it comes to the annual renewal.

Taxi Fleet Insurance and Any Driver Policies

There are three main types of driver policies: a named driver, a policy-only option, or any driver option.

A named driver policy may suit individual drivers who only need cover for themselves and their vehicle. A policy-only option might be cost effective, but if you own a fleet or need to add several drivers, an all-driver policy could give better value.

An any driver policy on taxi fleet insurance will allow people to drive any one of the fleet cars without being specifically named. Any driver policies tend to be offered under certain circumstances and it is worthwhile keeping this in mind when employing new drivers. Remember that not all insurance brokers will offer the same criteria, so it is worthwhile getting a range of quotes if you have younger or older employees.

Additional Fleet Taxi Cover Options

Fleet Breakdown Assistance

Taxi breakdown cover is an essential service for all taxi fleets and can easily be incorporated into a taxi fleet insurance policy. As a fleet policy, cover is applied to each vehicle you select under one premium, protecting you against costly downtime and damage to your reputation should one of your vehicles break down.

There are some areas designed purely for taxis, including onwards assistance for your passengers. If you were to breakdown whilst out on the road, the breakdown recovery provider will try to fix the vehicle at the roadside. If your vehicle cannot be fixed, then they will take your vehicle to an approved mechanic and arrange onward travel for your passengers.

You can also opt to include home start at an additional cost to cover breakdown assistance at home or within a quarter mile of your home address.

Windscreen Cover

This is generally automatically included with fully comprehensive insurance policies.  For those drivers that choose a third-party fire and theft or third party only policy, windscreen cover is a necessary additional product. It gives extra peace of mind whilst out on the roads, knowing that if your windscreen was to smash, crack or chip, you won’t have to spend hours finding someone to fit a new one and hundreds of pounds in the process.  A small excess usually applies to each claim made.

Taxi Public liability Insurance

This will give you financial protection for any claims made against you by members of the public relating to personal injury or property damage caused by you or your business. This tends to focus specifically on events that happen outside of your vehicle that are not already covered by your motor insurance.

Although not a legal requirement of your business, it is advisable as third-party claims could seriously impact the financial stability of your company. Tradex taxi cover starts from £1 million up to £10 million in certain circumstances.

Some councils make it a requirement for their taxi drivers to have public liability cover and if you have, or are planning to gain a school contract, it is usually mandatory to have cover for £10 million.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

This is a legal requirement for all businesses with employees and a certificate must be prominently displayed in the workplace. Taxi operator employers’ liability insurance protects the policyholder in respect of your legal liability for personal injury or illness suffered by employees during the course of their employment.

Legislation requires that you have a minimum level of cover of £5 million but in practice insurers generally provide a limit of £10 million as standard and higher limits may also be available.

Taxi Office Buildings and Contents Insurance

If you operate a taxi business from an office (or taxi base), then you’ll need insurance for your business premises. Liability cover for the public and your employees will provide protection should anyone be injured on your premises, theft and damage to vehicles will be covered by road risks insurance, but you may also need to protect the building you operate from and the office contents, as well as tools and equipment if you maintain your vehicles on site.

If your building is leased or rented, check what insurance has already been put in place by your landlord to avoid duplicating cover.

Buildings insurance covers the costs of repairing damage to the structure of your property and generally includes walls, the roof and floor due to loss or damage caused by fire, explosion, storms, floods and earthquakes.

The contents insurance will cover items inside the property such as the furniture, electronic office equipment and tools and equipment if applicable.

Loss of Money or Cash on Premises

Even the most secure of businesses can find themselves out of pocket after money has been stolen from their premises. As a taxi operator, you will likely keep some cash on your premises either for driver’s use or end of the day’s takings.

Loss of money or cash on premises cover enables you to insure yourself against such losses, enabling financial stability and to prevent interruption of your daily business activities.

Levels of cover vary depending on the policy you choose, but if money were to be stolen, you will get it replaced quickly. Cover available includes loss of money during business hours and money in a locked safe or secure place when closed for business. It should also include loss of money in transit should money be stolen from a taxi.

Taxi Key Cover

This could be a vital fleet cover to protect any of your drivers and will insure them against the cost of lock and key replacement and onward transportation in the event that your keys are lost, damaged or stolen. This add-on policy also generally comes with 24 hour/365 days a year emergency helpline, so you or your passengers will never be left stranded.

Taxi Excess Protection

Unfortunately, accidents do happen and usually when one occurs, the insured has to pay the first part of any claim, also known as an ‘excess’. This can become quite hefty if you are running a large taxi fleet in built-up areas.

Excess Protection allows you to claim back the amount of your excess once the related claim has been settled. Using excess protection can also potentially be a way of getting a lower premium, allowing you to select a higher level of excess to reduce the overall cost of insurance.

How to Reduce Your Taxi Fleet Insurance Premiums

There is no way of getting away from the fact that taxi fleet insurance is going to be one of the most expensive parts of your business, but it is also going to be one of the most fundamental parts of its future success.

There are some ways in which you can keep your premiums lower, and they are worth keeping in mind when researching insurance quotes as each insurance broker has differing cover rules and regulations.

  • Increase the insurance excess on the policy: If you are willing to share the policy risk with a higher excess, this could help to reduce your overall premium with some insurance companies. This is worthwhile if you already have a low accident rate and ensure you employ careful and considerate drivers in your taxi fleet.
  • Storage of your vehicles: Think about where the taxis will be kept when not in use. Parking the vehicles overnight in a locked and secure compound is favourable with insurers. If drivers are parking their taxis at home, try to ensure they are kept on a residential driveway or in a locked garage. Avoid street parking, if possible, but if unavoidable, leave taxis in a well-lit area.
  • Be selective when choosing your drivers: Employers with drivers under 25 years of age, especially those with some claims or certain convictions, will see their insurance premiums higher than if they employ careful, more experienced taxi drivers. If possible, choose drivers with at least three years driving experience and a clean driving record. Some insurance companies are more lenient than others when it comes to younger drivers. Tradex also offers special support to younger drivers starting out in business with a no claims bonus booster scheme.
  • Managing risk: Taxis that have installed telematics, dashcams or trackers will automatically encourage safer driving and provide valuable evidence if an accident or claim is disputed. In addition, specialist locks for steering wheels and car alarms will deter would-be thieves and reduce risk of potential claims.
  • Paying your premium up front: This isn’t always easy when you are starting out in your business but could save you a significant amount on your premium than if you were to pay in monthly instalments.
  • Report all accidents that involve a third party immediately. Whilst you may believe no further action will be taken by a third party in the event of a minor accident, letting your insurance provider know straight away will help to protect against unforeseen costs later if a claim is made. Failure to do so could result in a higher claim and larger increase in your annual premium.

Can I Insure My Taxis for Personal Use?

If your drivers want to use their taxis when not working, you need to check your insurance covers personal as well as business use.

Most insurers will include cover to have a social, domestic and pleasure allowance too. This benefits employees, including directors, who use the car for business travel in the week and for private use at weekends.

Rules may differ for black or hackney cabs too, so as well as checking with your insurance provider, you should also know the rules of your local licencing authority in which you work, both for public and private hire.

Fleet Taxi Insurance to Fit Your Business

Tradex offers competitive taxi fleet insurance quotes for fleets of any size, from a minimum of two vehicles and upwards. We also cover mixed fleets, taking into account all types of road vehicle including saloons, hatchbacks, people carriers and minibuses.

As a supporter of small businesses and those fleet operators just starting out, we are also sympathetic to driver age, experience and credentials.

As providers of taxi fleet insurance, we will try to help those who have had a driving conviction and also offer a special bonus booster to benefit those with no bonus history. A six-month policy can be used to accrue a year’s no claims discount, which can then be used on a full-term taxi insurance policy.

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If you are thinking about setting up in the car valeting business, you could be investing in a lucrative new career, particularly if you have a passion for vehicles and great attention to detail.

As a hackney carriage or black cab taxi driver, finding insurance that suits all your needs can be demanding. Choosing the right insurance company at the right price for your business is important for your livelihood and the smooth running of your service.