Getting Insurance For your Taxi Business
Tradex, one of the UK’s leading motor trade and taxi insurance companies, alongside its sister company Westminster, recently attended the World Taxi Summit in July this year. Held in Cheshire, UK, the annual gathering brings together key industry professionals from around the world to encourage collaboration and thought leadership through a series of curated content and networking opportunities.
Delegates to the Summit included taxi operators from as far as Asia and Europe as well as companies associated with taxi fleets, of which taxi fleet insurance plays a crucial role.
The event also hosted the Taxi Summit Awards, celebrating the achievements of leading industry fleets and suppliers, recognising the hard work which continues to drive the industry forward.
As the sector continues to grow with the likes of Uber, Minicabit and Cabubble entering the market, insurance within the taxi sector remains the cornerstone of any taxi fleet business, be it public or private hire.
Here are some of the most common insurance options open to taxi and fleet owners and why you need it to ensure you comply with the stringent regulations and to protect your business.
What is Taxi Insurance?
Taxi insurance it a type of commercial insurance designed to cover cars used for private and public hire. Taxi insurance is designed to not only protect your car but your customers and yourself.
Added to that, it is also a legal requirement to have valid taxi insurance in place before you can drive a taxi for a living. The type of insurance you need will vary depending on whether you offer private or public hire services.
Why Do I Need Taxi Insurance?
Taxi insurance is designed to protect you and your taxi as well as your passengers and any personal possessions they may be transporting.
As a taxi driver, you are more at risk of accidents than a general road user due to long hours on the road which could also include built-up areas such as airports and cities.
The type of vehicle you choose may also carry extra risks and require more insurance cover. For example, if you are driving a larger people carrier or minibus, you are likely to be transporting more passengers and their luggage.
There are other areas of taxi insurance that you may need to consider depending on how often you are working, whether you are operating as a private or public taxi service, where you operate and how many taxis you own.
What Type of Taxi Insurance Do I Need?
The type of taxi insurance you need will depend on the whether you will be offering a private hire or a public hire ‘hackney’ cab.
· Private hire taxis or minicabs can only pick up passengers if the journey has been booked in advance. You are not allowed to use taxi ranks, cannot display a taxi sign and are not able to be flagged on the street.
· Public hire taxis, also known as black cabs or hackney carriages, are licenced to collect passengers at taxi ranks or can be hailed along the roadside. The cars or MPVs are allowed to display taxi signs.
· A black cab can also double as a private hire taxi, but a private hire vehicle cannot double as a black cab.
Being a private hire taxi has its advantages in that you can choose your hours, work more flexibly including late nights and weekends when fares may be more lucrative.
All taxi insurance should cover the vehicle, the driver, your passengers and their luggage or property. If anything were to go wrong, you need to be fully protected and be able to get back on the road as soon as possible.
Here is an overview of what you need to consider when looking at public or private hire taxi insurance. This isn’t an exhaustive list and there are also a number of additional extras that you may need to consider depending on the risks you may face during the course of your driving.
Legally, of course, you will need road risk as part of any taxi insurance policy. This includes:
Third party only: The legal minimum level of insurance you will need for your taxi. It covers you for the 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 in addition protects your own taxi against fire and theft.
Comprehensive: This offers the highest level of protection for your business. It includes all of the cover above but will also fully cover your vehicle against any damage as well as any injury to yourself.
A sole driver policy can be more cost-effective if only yourself will be driving the taxi. If you are looking to share the vehicle, choosing a named driver policy (where anyone named on the policy can drive the vehicle) may be preferable.
Additional Taxi Insurance Options
Together with your road risks insurance, there are some elements of taxi insurance that may be useful for you to consider when discussing your policy with an experienced motor trade insurance broker such as Tradex.
1. Public liability insurance: This is a feature that can be added to most taxi insurance policies and can help to protect you against any claims made by members of the public who may be injured or suffer a loss due to your actions whilst they are entering or exiting your vehicle. It isn’t a legal requirement but this can be a very important cover to help protect your business.
2. Taxi breakdown cover: This may already be part of your policy but if not, it can also be added to help make sure you are able to stay on the road as long and as quickly as possible. With any breakdown policy, home start as well as local roadside assistance and recovery is offered for full cover. This could also include windscreen cover, from minor chips to windscreen replacement should it be badly cracked.
3. Unlimited mileage: As a taxi driver it is expected you will be driving a lot of miles. An unlimited mileage policy means you will not be charged for driving too many miles over your stipulated amount that could leave you without cover should you need to make a claim.
4. Social, domestic and pleasure: If you own a private taxi and are registered, you should be able to use your vehicle for private use outside of work hours. However, you may want to check this with your local council to make sure this rule applies in your area. Your insurance broker will be able to notify you of this. This does not apply to public taxis such as black cabs.
5. Miss-fuelling: Putting the wrong fuel in your vehicle can be very costly and may damage your taxi if you were to start the engine before realising. Miss-fuelling cover should allow your vehicle to be drained and flushed at the forecourt, avoiding any lengthy trips to the garage.
6. Key cover: This can include cover for loss, theft or damage to your keys, as well as retrieving them from locked vehicles.
7. Loss of earnings and personal accident cover: This cover is designed to pay compensation should you suffer from injuries whilst working. If you unable to get back to work for any length of time, it will insure you against loss of income by covering any bills or expenses.
Taxi Insurance Exclusions
· Drivers under the age of 25: Some insurance brokers may not cover younger and inexperienced drivers, particularly those without sufficient no claims.
· Unauthorised or unsafe vehicle use: This can include driving without the required taxi licence, lying to get a licence, carrying too many passengers or heavy, unauthorised loads which can all invalidate your policy or leave you uninsured.
· Theft of vehicle when the keys are left inside: As a cab driver it is easy to leave keys inside your vehicle when you are in and out of the taxi often. However, this will make your vehicle prone to thieves and will leave you uninsured.
· Driving outside of the region as stipulated in the policy: It is important to be honest with your insurance broker about the areas in which you will be driving, otherwise you could find yourself without the necessary cover when you need it.
When looking out for a reasonable taxi insurance policy, you could contact an experienced broker who can assist you on achieving exactly the amount of insurance you need for your business with a view to increasing this cover as your business expands.