What is fleet van insurance?

Whether you run a courier service, haulage company or a business where you transport your tools to work, one of your main priorities is to organise insurance for your vehicles and their drivers. If you …

Whether you run a courier service, haulage company or a business where you transport your tools to work, one of your main priorities is to organise insurance for your vehicles and their drivers.

If you use vans as part of your business, fleet van insurance may be the best way to provide cover for them. Fleet cover tends to be cheaper and simpler than insuring multiple vans under different policies.

You can also get fleet insurance for other vehicles, for example, if your company owns and uses lorries, motorcycles or taxis to carry out its business activities.

In this article, we’re going to explore fleet van insurance and how it can protect you and your business.

What is fleet van insurance?

Fleet van insurance is cover for two or more vans belonging to the same company, which are all placed under one policy, with one renewal date and similar levels of cover for each vehicle.

Fleet van insurance takes away the complexity of having to deal with different policies and providers for each of your vehicles. You can get a wide range of cover for your vans, depending on your requirements as a business and the insurer you choose.

Let’s dive right in, and look more closely at fleet van insurance and how it works.

What do you need to get fleet insurance?

While the minimum amount of vans you’ll need for fleet insurance is two, the maximum you can insure on a single policy will depend on your provider, but it can often be hundreds and even thousands of vehicles.

To get fleet insurance for your company’s vans, the vehicles need to be registered in the name of your company or its director.

As fleet insurance is designed for businesses, you can’t get cover for vans already insured under a private policy. Similarly, you can’t insure private or domestic vehicles under a fleet policy.

However, if you’re a company director, you can usually get your vehicle insured as part of the company’s fleet, as long as it is registered to you.

To access fleet cover, your vans must be registered in the UK. Fleet van insurance does not cover you to drive anything not listed on your policy, so make sure that you and your employees don’t drive vehicles outside the fleet, unless you’re covered elsewhere.

What does fleet van insurance cover?

Fleet van insurance usually offers three standard forms of cover: third-party, third-party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive insurance.

You can then choose from a range of add-ons (some insurers won’t offer all of these under a fleet policy), depending on your legal requirements as a business.

For example, if you own a business delivering fresh produce from local farm shops to their customers, and you’re expanding your delivery services, you’ll need a fleet policy which includes courier insurance.

If your company delivers bags of sand across the UK on long-haul trips, you’ll need haulage insurance as part of your fleet policy.

Third party

Third-party fleet van insurance only covers you for damage to another driver or their vehicle. It is the minimum amount of legal cover you need to operate your business and fleet of vans.

While third-party cover is the cheapest form of insurance for your fleet, it could end up costing you more in the long run.

If your drivers get into any accidents or your van(s) are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll have to pay for repairs and replacements out of your own pocket.

Third party, fire and theft

Third party, fire and theft insurance not only covers you for damage to a third party in an accident, it also allows you to claim for replacements or repairs if one of your vans is stolen, or damaged in a fire.

While it’s not a legal requirement to get third party, fire and theft insurance, it does offer a higher level of protection and peace of mind if one of your vans does require expensive repairs after a fire, for example.

You’ll also be covered for injuries or damage to another person, their vehicle or their property, for instance, if your van slides off the road and wrecks someone’s front garden or wall.

Fully comprehensive

Fully comprehensive fleet van insurance gives you cover for all of the above: damage and injury to a third party, their property or their vehicle, as well as fire and theft.

It also covers you for damage to your own vehicles, as well as injury to drivers, even if they were in an accident that was their fault.

Carriage of own goods

If you regularly use your fleet of vans to transport goods for work purposes, you’ll need an insurance policy called ‘carriage of own goods’.

This covers you if you’re carrying your own tools to and from work, or if you’re carrying goods or materials from suppliers to your workplace. For example, if you own a floristry business and you need to regularly pick up oases for flower arrangements, a carriage of own goods policy would insure your vans and drivers if they ever got in an accident, or damaged or injured someone else or their vehicle.

Carriage of own goods doesn’t insure you to carry finished products to clients, however. For this, you’ll need either courier insurance or haulage insurance for your fleet of vans.

Courier van insurance

If you use your fleet of vans to deliver customers’ finished goods for payment, you’ll need to get courier van insurance as part of your fleet policy.

Courier insurance covers your vehicles and drivers when they are using your vans to deliver finished products.

However, courier insurance doesn’t protect the actual goods that they carry, so if you want this extra level of cover, you’ll need a goods in transit policy.

Haulage insurance

While courier insurance is for companies who make multiple, unspecified deliveries to different locations every day, haulage insurance is for businesses whose job it is to make long trips, carrying goods which they will usually just deliver to one destination.

So, if you own a fleet of vans that transports flat-pack furniture to storerooms in the UK, you’ll need a policy that includes haulage cover.

Breakdowns

There’s nothing worse than breaking down on the road, just as you’re trying to keep a business flourishing.

Adding breakdown cover to your fleet van insurance gives you the assurance that someone will come and assist you at the roadside, or tow your van to a repair shop or another destination (depending on the level of cover you choose), with your insurance covering the cost.

Replacement van

While one or more of your vehicles is out of action, you’ll still need the van power to run your business.

Having a replacement van policy on your fleet insurance covers the cost of a hire van while you’re waiting for your own to be repaired.

Employer’s Liability

Not all insurers will allow you to add employers’ liability insurance to your fleet policy, but it’s a legal requirement, so make sure you organise this one way or another.

As a business owner, you’ll likely employ a number of drivers to transport tools to work, or perform pick-ups and deliveries.

Employers’ liability insurance covers you for compensation or legal fees you may have to pay if, for example, one of your drivers gets long-term injury from doing too much heavy lifting, or one of your employees sues you.

You won’t need employers’ liability insurance if you only employ immediate family members to work in your business.

Public Liability

If you operate any kind of business using a fleet of vans, it’s a good idea to insure yourself against claims from your customers or members of the public.

For example, your company could face legal fees if one of your vehicles causes damage to one of your clients’ homes, or if you get in an accident and a member of the public is sadly injured or killed.

While Public Liability Insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the UK, it’s definitely important to consider, as accidents do happen, and your business may not be able to float the cost of the legal fees and compensation alone.

Like with Employers’ Liability Insurance, not all insurers can add Public Liability cover to a fleet policy, so you may have to organise this separately.

Goods in transit

Along with your employees, the goods you sell, or the tools you require to carry out your jobs, are the main asset of your business.

While the insurance we’ve mentioned previously can cover you for damage to your own vehicles and other people’s, a Goods in Transit add-on will protect the contents of your vans from theft, loss or damage.

However, this policy only protects goods when your van is on the move, so you may need a separate form of insurance if you want to include anything left in your van while it’s idle at a depot, or parked somewhere overnight.

How to get cheaper fleet insurance

There are a number of ways you can get cheaper fleet insurance for your vans. These include:

Employing drivers with clean records

It’s no surprise that drivers with speeding records or a high claims history will increase your premiums, as insurers see them as a bigger risk.

To keep your insurance costs low, go for drivers with a clean record, who are over 25, as their age combined with evidence of safe driving will keep your premiums reasonable.

Limited mileage

Making sure your drivers use the most efficient routes possible for transport and delivery is a useful way of reducing your premiums.

You can use apps like MapQuest and Google Maps to find the routes with the least mileage, and get drivers to team up for deliveries if they’re on similar routes, so that you can report lower annual mileage, and potentially reap the benefits of lower insurance.

Ramp up van security

If your insurer knows that your fleet is fitted with Thatcham-approved alarms and immobilisers, this can help bring down the cost of your insurance, as you’re less likely to have your vans stolen.

Make sure you store your fleet somewhere secure at night, such as locked garages, and ask your insurer if you qualify for a cheaper quote as a result.

Encourage safe driving

Incentivise your drivers to operate your fleet as safely as possible.

For example, you could create a bonus scheme to reward drivers who don’t make insurance claims because they’ve driven safely.

Not only will this keep your costs down, because you won’t have to pay an excess for any accidents or incidents, but your insurance company may reward you with a discount for not needing to make claims over a certain period of time.

Only pay for the cover you need

While it’s important to get the right cover for your fleet, there will be some insurance add-ons which you can live without in your situation.

It’s a good idea to enlist the free, expert help of an insurance broker. They can assess what cover your fleet requires and make sure you’re protected against the risks which are relevant to you, while saving you money on unnecessary insurance.

Is fleet van insurance cheaper than individual insurance?

Insuring your vans as a fleet usually works out cheaper than organising separate cover for each vehicle.

As well as saving you money, fleet insurance will reduce the amount of time you have to spend worrying about insurance, as it streamlines what would have been separate policies for each van into one source of cover, with one renewal date.

Time is money, and organising fleet insurance will free up some of your hours to do what you do best: running your business.

Now that we’ve covered fleet van insurance, what it includes and how you can save money on your insurance premiums, we hope you’ve found this a useful read. Always consult an insurance broker if you want to get the most specific advice on fleet van insurance, as quotes from comparison websites may not give you the level of detail you need.