Insuring A Modified Car

Modified cars are popular with enthusiasts who like to beef up the performance of and change the design of their cars to impress or to improve performance on the track. Popular with boy racers as well as track day enthusiasts, modified hot hatches and Japanese vehicles can be exhilarating to drive, but expensive to insure.

What Is Considered A Modification?

A modification is a change made to a vehicle from its original factory settings to improve the performance or make the vehicle look sportier and pleasing to the eye, often for their fellow enthusiasts.

There are many types of modifications that can be added to vehicles, and these can be split into two sections; Performance and Functional, and both of which will have an effect on your insurance premium if you’re not careful.

What Is A Performance Mod?

A performance modification will change the way your car initially operates, either under the bonnet or on the bodywork of your vehicle.  Common performance modifications can include:

  • Alloy wheels – this can involve increasing the size of your wheels and adding new designs
  • Sound systems – some will make changes to their audio systems within the car, adding extra speakers and fitting a different model of radio system
  • Engine tuning – usually used to improve the performance of a hot hatch car
  • Body Kits – including spoilers and body kits
  • Paintworks – including decals, respraying, badges and specialised paintwork
  • Brake kits – used to improve performance, usually by those who own Japanese cars, which might have different specifications and need to be modified for UK roads
  • Suspension kits – used to stiffen up suspension to improve cornering
  • Tinted windows
  • Neon lighting – used for aesthetic purposes, usually installed on the underside of a car

Tuning kits are popular amongst enthusiasts who want to add a little more power to their rides, either for racing or merely to show off, and are a common addition to Japanese cars and those known as hot hatchbacks.

What Is A Functional Mod?

Functional modifications are those which are used to aid drivers in some way, either to assist with driving, navigation or to allow for better access. Useful modifications can include features such as:

  • Sat navs
  • In-car phones
  • Parking sensors
  • Roof racks
  • Towbars
  • Air conditioning
  • Sunroof

Features that help to improve access for users of wheelchairs; such as wheelchair clamps, lifting equipment, ramps and hand controls can also be classed as functional modifications and will need to be declared to your insurance company upon fitting.

What Should I Tell My Insurance Company?

You must let your car insurance provider know of any changes that you make to the vehicle immediately after making them, especially if they are those which change the specifications from those of the original factory model.

Depending on what changes you make you might find yourself having to pay a little extra on your car insurance as a result, so it could be worth thinking about whether you really can afford to fit that body kit or invest in some larger rims.

Mods that increase engine power and even change the paintwork can be seen as high-risk, as can the addition of technologies including sat navs and stereo systems. Insurers will not look kindly on some modifications as they are perceived to be at greater risk of theft due to the cost of some of the equipment, and so could lead to a higher insurance premium.

How Can I Bring Down My Premiums?

As with regular car insurance, experience can count when it comes to lowering your insurance premium. By driving carefully and accumulating some No Claims Discount, you can help reduce the cost of your premium as you’re showing yourself to be a safe driver.

It is usually the younger drivers who make a hobby out of modifying their vehicles to show off to their mates and at motor shows. Combined with a perception that they are a greater risk of having an accident as a result of their inexperience, many will find their high-performance car premiums to be sky-high as a result of the modifications to their vehicles. If you have a high-performance car, you may check our detailed guide on Powerful Cars and How to Insure Them.

While it may be more expensive to add modifications to your car, there are also some which can be seen as aiding driving, including parking sensors and tow bars. If you’re driving slower than the average driver, you could be looked upon more kindly by your insurer.

How Best To Save Money?

When searching for a hot hatch insurance quote for your modified car, it can be worth looking into several options when it comes to insurance, run searches on some providers and be as honest as you can when it comes to describing what work you have done to the vehicle.

Powerful Cars And How To Insure Them

Sports cars have long been a symbol of wealth and status, particularly in the world of celebrity, but you don’t necessarily have to be a celebrity to enjoy driving a more powerful motor.

High-performance cars are usually classified as being higher-end models of traditional makes of car, often with added features for extra power and torque, or a sports mode with differing braking systems and suspension to enhance the driving experience.

Manufacturers are always trying to one-up each other when it comes to attracting buyers, combining sleek looks with power under the bonnet. Enthusiasts of high-performance cars will use these vehicles for everyday use as well as modifying them further to increase speed or handling, electing to drive them occasionally on track days.

Whatever your reasons for owning a performance car, be it an everyday runaround or occasional track car, insurance is an essential part of owning such a vehicle, and it can be an expensive business if you’re not too careful.

Ownership And Insurance

Because of the increased specifications of vehicles such as performance cars and those with built-in ‘sports’ features, high-performance cars will have more powerful engines and higher spec brakes to cope with an increase in speed.

Because of the powerful nature of these vehicles, insurers may look upon them as a high risk to other road users, and as a result, you could find yourself paying a sky-high premium. But there are a few things you can do to ensure that you can keep your premiums low and allow you to enjoy your motor.

To save on premium costs, see our detailed guide on How to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance.

Age Matters

Younger drivers who want to drive more powerful vehicles will find it more difficult to get a decently-priced high-performance car insurance quote.

Depending on the type of driver you are can help to reduce your premiums in the future. By ensuring that you drive carefully and accumulate some No Claims Discount over many years, you can help to reduce your premium price.

Older drivers are usually seen as more trustworthy drivers, remember though that offences such as speeding can also add to the cost of your premium if you’re not careful. So while you might have more power at your pedals, be careful how you use it for it might end up costing you more on insurance in future.

ALSO SEE: Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

Reduced Use For Lower Prices

If you intend to only use the vehicle for track days or occasional trips, speak with your insurance broker about the possibility of setting up what is known as an approved mileage limit on your policy.

An approved mileage limit essentially allows you to set a maximum mileage for the year, and providing you don’t exceed this limit you could find yourself saving on your premiums as a result. Every broker is different when it comes to offering this feature, so it can be worth double checking not just with your current broker but with others when it comes to your renewal.

Don’t Overly Modify!

High-performance cars are usually very powerful vehicles, designed for increased horsepower and handling to boot. Some enthusiasts like to make modifications to their cars – including body kits, tuning kits and new alloy wheels.

You will have to declare all modifications to your vehicle to your insurance company as you apply them, and applying too many aesthetic extras to your car could have an effect on your insurance policy, so bear this in mind if you’re thinking of adding to your already powerful vehicle.

Be Wary Of Being Tech Savvy

Be wary when buying gadgets for your vehicle as well, as electronic devices such as sat navs and stereo systems are usually a prime and easy target for thieves, so be sure to bear this in mind if you’re thinking of adding them to your vehicle.

However, some gadgets may also help you to reduce the cost of your premiums, especially when it comes to alarms, security devices or even parking sensors. By showing that you’ve taken steps to increase the safety of yourself and other road users you could stand a chance at reducing your premiums.

Watch Where You Park It

Locations can affect the price of your insurance premium, particularly when it comes to storing the car at night, and keeping it covered could be the best way of saving yourself some money.

Those kept on roads outside at night could be seen as being at a higher risk of theft, whereas those stored in secure parking spaces or secured compound, such as private parking at apartment complexes are seen as being of a lower risk.

If you commute using the vehicle every day and your workplace has a secure car park you may find yourself with further savings as your vehicle would be well protected during daylight hours.

Be Part Of A Club

It can be worth hooking up with fellow enthusiasts by finding a car club for your vehicle type in your local area. Not only could you chew the fat over your vehicles and pick up hints and tips for better performance, but some may even offer the chance to reduce your high-performance car insurance premiums.

High-performance cars may be expensive to buy, but by ensuring that you drive safely and are sensible with your ownership, you can help reduce your insurance premiums.

Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

When it comes to car insurance, first-time and young drivers can find it particularly challenging to find an affordable car insurance policy. Because they are seen as a high risk due to their driving experience and their age, their insurance premiums will usually be much higher than those of an experienced driver.

So what can you do to help reduce the cost of your young driver’s car insurance policy and save yourself as much as you are able early on in your driving career?

Further Your Knowledge

Early on in your driving career, gaining additional knowledge can help to reduce your premium, so look into courses such as Pass Plus – which helps to teach more advanced driving techniques, such as driving on a motorway or at night time. Pass Plus courses can help to take a little off your premium, and investing in it early on could prove worthwhile in the long term.

While you’re learning to drive, you’ll be driving your instructors’ car, but after passing your test, you’ll have the responsibility of car ownership to worry about yourself. When starting off as a new driver, it can certainly be worth thinking about what you’re going to be wanting to drive.

Consider Your Car Model At First

When you’re first starting out on the road, consider the car you’re starting off with. Cars with smaller engines and that haven’t had any modifications put on them are going to be cheaper to insure, so consider starting a little more modest to start.

Ok, so it might not be your first choice or ideal car to start with, but by starting small, you can help yourself to save big on your young driver’s car insurance.

Consider adding extra security features such as steering wheel locks and alarm systems to help deter thieves and prove to your insurer that you have taken steps to protect your vehicle by making it less attractive to wannabe thieves.

ALSO SEE: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance

Accumulate Some No Claims Discount

As your driving experience increases, your risk level will gradually drop, and you will find your premium reducing. By ensuring that you drive carefully and safely, you can begin to accumulate No Claims Discount which could help to reduce your premiums over time. But with the advent of technology, there are also other options for proving you’re a good driver, so why not try…

Tracking Yourself With Telematics

Telematic technology allows insurance providers to monitor drivers and, more importantly, their driving habits in order to determine the kind of driver that they are. While it might seem a bit Big Brother-ish, driving a car with a black box fitted in it could be useful for proving you’re a good driver.

Telematic black boxes are used by insurance companies to record certain aspects of your journey – including acceleration, braking, overall speed and cornering position – before feeding back the details using wireless technology.

Some policies will even allow you to view your current progress using a smartphone app, giving you the chance to check your progress while giving your insurer an idea of the type of driver you are, calculating your next policy price using the data you provide.

If you’re still not sure about using technology, turning to other people can help in the meantime, especially if you consider adding…

Second Drivers

While it may seem a little ‘uncool’ to add one of your parents to your insurance policy, this may help to reduce your premiums in the long term. By adding a more experienced driver with a good driving record as a second driver on your policy can help to reduce your costs by adding them as an ‘occasional driver’ – just make sure to not add them as the primary driver, or you may find yourself facing a fraud charge.

It can also be worth seeing about adding your car to a multi-car policy, especially if you still live at home with the folks. Multi-car policies can help reduce your costs by insuring them under the same household rather than as individual policies, and speaking of yourself as an individual it can be worth looking into a few details about yourself to try and bring down your premiums, so why not try…

Checking Your Job Title

If you are currently in work, have a think about your job title, and try running a quote through with several job titles that apply to you, you may find it cheaper for one than the other, but be sure to be honest as you can when applying.

Also think about how much cover you want to take out, so during the application process think about…

Checking Your Cover Level

Don’t just assume that getting a third party-only insurance policy is going to be the cheapest option, be sure to research into as many policies as possible before deciding on the one that’s right for you.

For some, taking out a fully comprehensive policy can be a cheaper option than just limiting yourself to a third party-only policy, but by taking steps to ensure you drive safely and are honest with your insurance company about your details you can save yourself a small fortune on your young driver’s car insurance policy.

Young drivers and first-time drivers can have a pretty raw deal at first when it comes to finding an affordable car insurance quote, but by taking action early on you can help yourself going forward.

By taking the time to make a few changes to driving habits, ensuring you drive safely, and taking the time to have a look at your policy options, young drivers could save themselves some money which could set them up for a long and happy driving career.

Deciding What Classic Car To Buy

Classic cars are popular among enthusiasts who like to while away the hours tinkering with an older motor and getting it running again.

And with many more restoration programmes on television these days, the world of car rebuilding remains a popular hobby for those who love restoring vehicles to their former glory.

We all have a favourite vehicle, either old or new, and for a lot of people, restoration and renovation projects can be a great way of revisiting the past, practising mechanical and engineering techniques and sprucing up the vehicle to as close to its’ original form.

Enthusiasts usually invest time and money into bringing an old favourite back to scratch and then break it out every so often to attend car shows, attend meets with fellow enthusiasts, and even use them for rallies and drives along iconic routes.

If you’re interested in joining enthusiasts and getting your hands dirty by working on an older car, what should you consider before you take the plunge and make what can be, in some cases, an expensive hobby?

What Model Of Car Do I Want?

Many enthusiasts will have a favourite make or model of car, particularly if it reminds them of their past, or just interested in renovating an older car to practice their engineering skills.

With hundreds of manufacturers to choose from, both from bygone years and more modern motors, the options are vast and diverse.

Sourcing your chosen vehicle can be varied and, in some places, tricky too, but by doing some thorough research before embarking on such a venture, you can help ensure that your hobby can be a good pastime, rather than an expensive lemon.

And it’s not just cars either; there are enthusiasts out there who renovate anything from old buses and trucks to motorbikes, scooters, and even golf carts.

You may also check our article about Mini: A British Classic Vehicle.

What Vehicle Age Do I Want?

Age can make a real difference to your project, so depending on the make and model of the vehicle, it’s worth looking into what era of car you wish to buy.

Older vehicles will require a lot more time and money, and while you might get a sense of pride from your work, you may find yourself out of pocket if you’re not careful.

Older vehicles may also be more expensive to insure, but there are plenty of classic car insurance brokers out there who will be able to help determine the cost of securing your investment.

Where Can I Source It?

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle you’re after, sourcing could be as easy as finding one at a specialist classic car seller, or as tricky as finding private sellers. Try looking in the following places:

  • Classic car magazines – these will not only provide useful information on your chosen vehicle and tips for sourcing parts and materials but will also have a classified section, where enthusiasts will sell anything from individual parts to fully-restored vehicles.
  • Breakers yards – these can be a goldmine for finding replacement parts, particularly if you find vehicles which may be beyond repair from a bodywork point of view, but could still have useful replacement parts still intact.
  • Internet – Googling the make and model of the vehicle you are looking for is a useful way of finding sellers, advice on renovating vehicles, finding parts suppliers, and joining enthusiasts clubs.
  • Auction sites such as eBay and Gumtree can also be a way of finding parts for sale, and you may end up finding what you need more locally than you thought. Bear in mind that some vehicle sellers may insist on a ‘collection only’ stipulation, so be sure to check the advert carefully.
  • Classic car shows – these can be particularly useful for finding not only merchandise and fellow enthusiasts, but also seeing your chosen vehicles in use if the event happens to have a parade lap.

How Easy Is It To Source Parts?

Now comes the tricky bit, the rarer the car, the more difficult it’s going to be to find parts. Owning and renovating classic vehicles can be an expensive business, and you might see yourself having to source parts from further afield than you think.

Parts have to be sourced depending on where the vehicle is from.  If you can find parts providers within the UK, it’d be ideal. But don’t be too surprised if you have to source some parts from your vehicles’ country of origin – which could add to the costs through postage.

Parts providers exist online, though there are some that have physical shop fronts and allow you to check the condition of their stock before you buy.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance

How Expensive Will It Be To Insure?

While the vehicle itself can be quite a costly investment, insuring a classic car can be equally expensive if you don’t know where to look. Because of the age and risk of breakdown, older vehicles will usually cost more to insure than most modern cars.

Consider the following points before embarking on such an investment, as being wary of these could help decrease your premium prices:

  • How often will you use the car?
  • Where will you store the car?
  • Will joining an enthusiast’s club get you a discount?

There are specialist classic car insurance brokers on the market, including those who will deal in insuring specific makes and models, so depending on what you want to buy, it can be worth seeing if specifics might lead to savings.

ALSO SEE: Insuring A Business Car vs Your Regular Car

Research

The most important thing to remember when buying a classic car is researching. It’s important to not only find out as much as you can about your vehicle but also put yourself in touch with your fellow enthusiasts to ensure you have a wide pool of knowledge.

Classic vehicle ownership can be an expensive hobby but worthwhile, and by making sure that all your bases are covered before you embark on your potentially costly purchase, your ownership of a classic vehicle can be a rewarding pursuit.

What Is Green Laning?

If you drive a 4×4 vehicle, you will be behind the wheel of a vehicle that is large and able to drive on tough terrain. Off-roading is a popular pastime for 4×4 owners, giving them the opportunity to escape the tarmac and put their vehicle to the test on unpaved and uneven roads, putting the normally chunkier tyres to good use.

There are many types of recreational off-road driving on various terrain, including dune bashing on dunes, mud-plugging through very wet areas and rock crawling over mountainous areas. For those who like to enjoy the countryside at a leisurely pace and from a different perspective, green laning is a popular pastime for off-road enthusiasts.

So What Can I Drive On?

A ‘green lane’ is defined as a road that is rural and unpaved, usually including country lanes and those which run through fields.

There are four classifications of public road according to English law:

  • Footpath – these have pedestrian-only access and are commonly used by ramblers
  • Bridleway – these paths were traditionally used by those on horses, but pedestrians and cyclists also make use of them
  • Byway Open To All Traffic (BOAT) – these unsurfaced roads are open to being used by all kinds of traffic; including both pedestrians and horse riders, but also by vehicles such as trail motorcycles and 4x4s
  • Restricted byway (RB) – these offer the same access to pedestrians and horse riders, as well as any vehicle other than a car or motorbike – including bicycles or horse-drawn carriages

What Is Green Laning?

Green laning is a form of recreational off-roading, usually undertaken by those with 4x4s. Many of the roads travelled on by off-roaders will be those off the beaten track, but not the most beaten of tracks.

Green lanes and byways can be found all around the UK and can be a good way of exploring national parks and hidden roads around the country. Different places such as national parks will have a Code of Conduct for drivers within their boundaries to protect fellow path users and drivers.

Code Of Conduct

It pays to take care when driving on unfamiliar and uneven roads even if your wheels are chunky enough to handle the terrain. If you remember a few things as you go, you can help protect yourself and other road users while you’re exploring:

  • Respect fellow road users – be sure to drive carefully and to give way to other users, such as horse riders, cyclists, and walkers, slowing down or stopping to let them pass where necessary to give way.
  • Keep to the track – ensure that the road you’re driving on can actually be driven on, it can also be important to report hazards that you spot along the way to the park authorities – including fallen trees and very soft grounds.
  • Travel quietly and unobtrusively – be considerate not only to other road users but also to all nearby residents en-route.
  • Ensure your vehicle is road-legal – while green roads are seen as off-road, the rules of the road still apply. It is important that you ensure that your vehicle is safe to travel on such roads and that you have 4×4 insurance in place to protect your vehicle in the event of an accident.
  • Use only vehicular rights of way – not all green roads will have vehicular access, so it’s important to check before you travel to ensure you won’t be breaking the law.
  • Don’t use the trails after dark – even if you are familiar with the route already, night time can bring additional hazards.
  • Respect the local wildlife – be wary that some areas may have high concentrations of wildlife, especially deer, so it’s best to drive very carefully to avoid spooking the animals and potentially causing damage to your vehicle.

Aside from the guidelines set out by each national park or local authority, there are also a few ‘common sense’ factors you should ensure you follow when green laning, these are known as the ‘Four W’s’.

The Four W’s

These are essential to bear in mind when green laning:

  • Weight – ensure that the road you wish to travel on will not get damaged or loosened by the weight of your vehicle.
  • Width – don’t attempt to travel down any road which your vehicle will not fit down. And if navigating narrower roads, ensure that you don’t cause damage to hedgerows, trees, and walls outside properties.
  • Winch – while many 4x4s will have a winch at the front, these should only be used as an absolute last resort. You should never place your vehicle in a situation where a winch may be required.
  • Weather – the weather can change the landscape very quickly, especially when it comes to flooding and damage during the winter months, so pick your moments carefully and try not to green lane after periods of heavy rainfall.

Green laning can be a great way of exploring the hidden paths around the UK and the vast expanses of national parks. By ensuring that your vehicle is adequately equipped to deal with the terrain, keep to the rules of the various roads so you can ensure that you get the best from your experience.

Starting A Mobile Catering Business: All You Need To Know

In recent years there has been a bit of a revolution when it comes to street food. Entrepreneurs are pitching up in town centres and using local ingredients to create delicious meals and snacks we can grab on the go, and have a bit of fun doing what they enjoy while they’re at it.

Many who enter the world of street food will have a story to tell about why they do it, from those who chose to leave busy kitchens to ply their trade in a more public setting, to young and enthusiastic chefs with a passion for what they’re cooking and serving

If you have a passion for food and fancy trying your hand in the world of mobile catering, well there’s a lot to think about:

  • What do you want to serve?
  • How are you going to cook it?
  • Where are you going to source your ingredients from?
  • What are you going to serve it from?
  • How much can you afford to charge?

The street food scene may be bustling, but it’s also very competitive. Budding entrepreneurs are always looking for more exciting flavours and quirky pitches – anything from bizarre fusion foods that somehow come together, to food being served out of pitches ranging from simple gazebos to converted vehicles that catch the eye and draw you in.

What is the best way to start if you want to take the plunge into the world of street food?

Get Educated

Caterers’ courses can be a great resource for those wanting to start out in the world of mobile catering. Whether you want to open a pop-up shop or street food stall for your wares, you’ll find everything you need to know through organisations such as the Nationwide Caterers’ Association (NCASS). They can help provide advice on all aspects of your business – everything from health and safety to tips on establishing a pitch.

Get Equipped

Just like a mechanic is no good without his tools, a chef is nothing without his oven, and so finding out about what you’ll need to prepare your delicious creations is kind of important.

There is a multitude of options to choose from when deciding where to serve your food from, whether you’re looking to hit a festival or just set up a pitch in your local town centre:

  • Gazebo
  • Pop-up stall
  • Trailer
  • Van
  • Cart
  • Bicycle

These are just the basic options, but there have been all kinds of quirky vendors selling from converted VW Beetles and campervans. Consider your options depending on what you want to sell.

You’ll also need to shell out for the cooking equipment itself; this can be anything from a gas-powered oven, electric hot plate, barbeque or even a pizza oven crafted from an old oil drum.

Utensils are essential too, so you’ll need to price those up as well, so when you’ve got your tools it’s now time to…

Get Stocked!

Because what good is going to market if you have nothing to sell? Look into where you want to source your ingredients and try and negotiate the best deal you can. Speak with local farmers to see about sourcing good quality produce, for local produce can be an appealing draw for consumers.

Also look into where to source your packaging from – whether you want to serve your food in paper cartons or simple clamshells – catering and retail warehouses can be good resources for items like these.

Costing

After this stage, it’s time to establish your pricing, work out your overheads and the cost of ingredients once you’ve found them to determine how much you want to sell a portion for.

Remember that the world of street food can be quite competitive, so do your research into how much similar vendors are charging, as well as those around them.

And keep your audience in mind as well, think of how much you’d be likely to pay for what you are offering, keep it competitive but be careful not to sell your wares short!

Insurance And Safety

Once you’ve decided on your choice of pitch and have the equipment to cook it with, it’s time to protect it against accidental damage. Mobile catering insurance policies are available to help cover your vehicle, any equipment you use, your stock (Product Liability), and most importantly your customers (Public Liability) against any claims you might have brought against you. If you employ anyone to assist, you’ll also need to protect them against injury during work (Employers’ Liability).

You’ll also have to go through rigorous health & safety checks to make sure what you are selling is safe for consumption, so keep an eye on things like the cleanliness of your cooking area and any refrigeration units you may have to keep ingredients chilled.

RELATED: What is a Business Insurance?

Get Your Name Out There

So you have the pitch, the know-how and the kickass recipe, so you should be all set to go, right? But, no-one knows who you are yet, so…

It’s time to make some noise! Marketing is an integral part of the process when setting up a new business, so look into ways you can get yourself out there with flyers and business cards.

If you want to create a buzz for free to start with, establish a presence on social media and get yourself a website to show off your products – don’t be afraid to be quirky when coming up with a name and pitch!

Don’t be afraid to network either, by getting out there to trade shows, street food festivals and by speaking to and befriending vendors just like you on social media; you can pick up useful tips as to how to start out, what makes a good pitch and even find new and exciting taste inspirations.

Perfecting Your Recipe

With so many vendors out there vying for business, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd with something that’ll draw customers in and tantalize their taste buds! Experiment with recipes, tweak things and put your own spin on familiar combinations, even make these the basis of your business with eye-catching names on the menu.

By doing your research thoroughly beforehand and ensuring you have everything in place before you set up, you can then pitch up and start dishing up delicious dishes to punters, wherever you choose to set up.

Insuring A Business Car vs Your Regular Car

When searching for or renewing your car insurance, you may notice a choice of three types of cover on the online form:

  • Social only (otherwise known as Social, Domestic and Pleasure)

SDP covers you as a named driver for those journeys you make that are not work-related. This type of covers you on your day-to-day drive, including trips to the shops and commutes to see friends.

  • Social and commuting

With this level of cover, you are covered for all aspects of SDP cover, with additional cover for your daily commute, ending either with you parking the car at a place of work or other secure car parks from which to commute further by train or bus.

So whether you pick up and drop off a work colleague en-route to the office or commute to a train station from which you continue on to your place of work, social and commuting cover will help to cover your vehicle during the commute itself and while it is parked up during your working hours.

  • Business use

Business use is taken out to cover your vehicle if you use it as part of your work, either to commute from different work locations, travelling to liaise with or delivering goods to customers. Business use can also extend to another driver on the policy, including your spouse, handy if you both work together.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance

Which Should I Choose?

Your choice of cover can affect the price of your premium, particularly if you use your vehicle as part of your profession – such as a travelling salesman or delivery driver – and you may need specialist business car insurance as a result.

What Is Business Car Insurance?

Business car insurance differs from a regular car insurance policy because it is designed to cover work-related journeys only, these can include tasks such as:

  • Driving to visit customers
  • Driving to another of your company premises
  • Driving to attend a training day or an away day
  • Driving to the bank or post office in order to make payments

In the case of a travelling salesman or delivery driver, the level of cover may have to be extended to include commercial travel in order to insure the vehicle and the contents of it during transit.

Does This Cover Company Cars?

If you drive a company car, your company should be covering it with an insurance policy. It can be worth asking what level of cover you have on the car, if not just for your own peace of mind.

If you are covered on the vehicle by your company’s insurance policy you may not need to take out additional insurance on the vehicle. If you use your own vehicle as part of your everyday business use, then business car insurance is essential to ensure you are covered correctly while on the job.

What About If I Drive A Taxi?

Taxis and other ride-sharing services won’t be covered under a business insurance policy because they have a completely different set of risks as a result, and as such need a completely different type of insurance policy.

If you drive a taxi for a living, either for a fleet or as an independent through ridesharing apps such as Uber then you’ll need specific taxi insurance on your vehicle.

SEE ALSO: How Can I Become a Taxi Driver?

What Can Affect My Premium Price?

When applying for a business car insurance policy, your broker will want to know several important details, which may affect the price of your policy:

  • What work do you do?

Depending on what type of work you do can affect the price of your insurance policy, especially if it means you’ll be clocking up the miles by visiting customers or commuting between multiple sites.

Speaking of which, you may also have to answer:

  • How many miles a year will you cover?

If you clock up many miles during the year as a result of your work, it could mean a difference in your premium price. Long journeys throughout the year can lead to a higher premium, so it can be worth working out your average mileage throughout the year and ensuring as close to that as you can.

Be careful not to overinsure yourself, as while you may think you’re being careful by giving yourself a bit of extra leeway, you may be increasing the cost of your premium as a result. Be as accurate as you can in predicting your yearly mileage, even if the journeys change throughout the year as a result of having to travel to different locations – including to meet customers.

If you work between sites, try and work out the mileage between the sites and estimate how often you will travel between them in order to work out a predicted yearly mileage, which you could then let your insurer know.

  • Do you carry any goods?

If you are a delivery driver or a travelling salesman for a company and carry goods as part of your work, whether using a small van or a car, you may need to add a commercial aspect to your business car insurance.

Check with your broker what is covered as you may need to add this additional cover to protect not only your vehicle but the goods you are carrying too.

What About No Claims Discount?

You are able to accumulate No Claims Discount (NCB) on a business car insurance policy but you may find yourself having to start from scratch. If you use your personal vehicle for work purposes and have accumulated some NCB, this may help to count towards a cheaper premium in future.

As always, it is best to ask your broker during the application process if this is possible.

When it comes to insuring a business car, research is key, so by making sure you are as honest as possible when it comes to setting up a policy, you can help yourself to secure a cheaper premium.

Individual Insurance or Fleet Insurance: Which is Cheaper?

If you are a business owner with a lot of vehicles in your fleet, one of the important aspects of ownership is ensuring that each of your vehicles is adequately insured against damage and theft, much like with your regular car insurance policy.

But how best to insure your fleet? Insuring each vehicle individually is not only going to be expensive but also generate a lot of additional paperwork, which could not only lead to clutter but also to confusion when it comes to sorting out an insurance claim against one of your vehicles.

What Is Fleet Insurance?

Fleet insurance essentially allows you to insure all of your vehicles under a single policy, so whether your fleet involves cars, vans, trucks or a mixture of all three, putting all of your vehicles on one policy could work out cheaper for you in the long run.

How Does Fleet Insurance Work?

Fleet insurance insures multiple vehicles at one time, usually over five, although some brokers may allow you to insure three or fewer vehicles under them, this can vary so be sure to ask in order to be sure.

By taking the time to put all your vehicles onto one collective policy, not only can you save you on administrative tasks, but you may also save yourself some money in the process, especially if your drivers have good driving records.

What Level Of Cover Can I Get?

Fleet insurance can involve different levels of cover, including:

  • Third Party Only
  • Third Party Fire and Theft
  • Fully Comprehensive

Much like with a regular car insurance policy, the higher the level of cover the higher the price, so bear this in mind when choosing a policy. Fleet insurance will allow you the opportunity to place the same level of cover onto all of your vehicles, ensuring that all are covered against the same dangers.

What About No Claims Discount?

No Claims Bonus (NCB) can be built upon your fleet insurance policy, and each driver will have an individual NCB which will count towards the policy. So provided of course your drivers have good, clean records you could find yourself saving on your fleet insurance.

By accumulating a combined NCB for all your vehicles, and by keeping track of your drivers driving habits individually you can help to lower your premiums in future.

Any Additional Extras?

Depending on the nature of your business, there are a few additional extras that you may wish to add to your policy in order to add some extra protection for your fleet, including:

  • Goods In Transit cover – helps to cover your cargo against loss or damage en route to the customer site.
  • Breakdown cover – helps to get you back on the road in the event of your vehicle breaking down, either by repairing it by the side of the road or by towing you to a nearby garage for repairs.
  • Courtesy vehicle – helps to get you back on the road quickly if one of your vehicles break down on the road by providing a like-for-like replacement to allow you to continue on your journey.
  • European cover – if your orders take you across the Channel and into Europe, you’ll want to make sure you are covered while over in the EU, helping to cover against breakdowns and accidents caused by third parties.
  • Personal belongings cover – helps to protect a drivers’ possessions in the cab of his truck against damage or theft.
  • Windscreen cover – helps to cover damage to windscreens as a result of dangerous chipping, impacting wildlife or as a result of an accident.
  • Equipment cover – helps to cover any equipment that is used during the delivery, including tarpaulin, strapping and security ties.

As well as extras which cover the equipment and goods, you’ll also need to ensure that your driver is also covered, and the following extras are essential to ensure safety for them and your business:

  • Public liability cover – helps to protect you against claims made by third parties for injuries caused by your vehicle or equipment.
  • Employers’ liability cover – helps to ensure that you are covered should one of your employees is injured on your premises (eg. One of your drivers sustaining an injury while loading their van because of a faulty piece of equipment).

Check with your broker as to what comes as standard on your policy, and which of these extras may need to be added to your policy in order to cover your vehicles.

What Documents Do I Need To Insure?

Insuring a fleet may seem like a lot of work to set up at first, you’ll have to find the documents for each of your vehicles and register each one on the policy, which could take a good amount of time depending on your fleet size.

However, when it comes to renewal time, this process can be shortened if your fleet has not changed, and a new premium can be worked out from this previous detail.

Be sure to let your insurer know if you add vehicles to your fleet, replace vehicles and drivers or make any modifications to any of your vehicles, as this could affect the price of your premium going forward.

Insuring Fleets: Haulage

Photo By: Texas Federal State Property Office

Haulage firms specialise in the transit and delivery of larger products, or larger quantities of products to and from factories, manufacturing plants and even supermarket warehouses.

Haulage firms are made up almost exclusively of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs); vehicles which are over 3.5 tonnes in weight, although some businesses may also make use of vans for smaller deliveries, known as Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs).

What Vehicles Can I Cover On My Policy?

Haulage fleet insurance will help you to cover a number of HGVs in your fleet under a single policy, as opposed to insuring each truck individually, which could prove to be quite expensive in the long run.

Haulage insurance can be used to cover a wide range of different lorry types; including articulated, refrigerated, flatbed and tipper. So whether you have a mixed fleet or only use a single type of truck to deliver goods, insuring them all under one policy can help save you money in the long term.

If you have a fleet which is comprised of a mixture of vehicles, it can be worth looking into grouping these onto their own fleet policies, such as courier fleet insurance and van fleet insurance in order to save yourself some money by insuring them all under one policy rather than individually.

What Will Be Covered By A Haulage Policy?

Haulage policies will help cover you against damages as a result of an accident caused by a third party, as well as protection from theft – both for the vehicle and for your customers’ goods.

Much like a regular car insurance policy, there will be differing levels of cover on HGV insurance – from third-party only to fully comprehensive. Third-party covers the driver only whilst fully comprehensive gives a more balanced cover, and is recommended for fleets as it covers all bases.

There are a wide variety of insurers out there who offer haulage fleet insurance, it can be worth comparing prices to see what suits your business needs.

What Extras Can I Get?

Insurers will offer additional extras as part of your policy, which depending on your line of work and the goods you carry can be handy to have in addition to your basic cover, here are a few things you should look out for when searching for a policy:

  • Goods In Transit cover

Goods In Transit cover is an essential part of your cover, as this covers your customers’ goods against theft, loss or damage sustained in an accident while in transit.

However, depending on the type of load you are carrying you might find this cover difficult to get, as products such as hazardous materials may not be covered by your insurer, ask your broker if you are unsure and be as honest as you can about the goods you carry.

  • Public Liability cover

Public liability cover helps to protect members of the public against damage to property or injury sustained because of a mistake by one of your drivers, which can include anything from property damage from scraping as a result of tight cornering to personal injury.

  • Employers’ liability cover

Employers’ liability cover helps in the payment of compensation should a worker sustain injury or illness while working for you, with many policies allowing you to insure up to a certain amount to cover all the vehicles in your fleet.

  • Windscreen cover

Windscreen cover, much like on a standard car insurance policy, will help to cover the cost of replacement windows on your HGVs in the event of damage – from involvement in an accident, chipping over time or even as a result of damage from wildlife such as flying birds.

  • Equipment cover

Equipment cover helps to cover the contents of your HGV which are involved with the security of your cargo or help to keep it secure during transit – including strapping, ropes, secure latches and security ties – and help to protect these against theft and damage.

  • Drivers’ belongings cover

On the other side of the coin is drivers’ belongings cover. HGV drivers usually spend a lot of time in their cabs and may have personal possessions contained within. Drivers’ belongings cover helps to protect these against theft or damage as a result of an accident, think of it as contents cover but on the road.

  • Breakdown cover

Breakdown cover is also available as an added extra and can prove handy for getting back on the road as quickly as possible following a breakdown, allowing your drivers to continue on with their journey with minimal time loss.

  • Courtesy vehicle

If the breakdown company are unable to fix the cab by the side of the road, some policies will include cover for a courtesy truck to help get you back on the road as quickly as possible following an incident.

Delivering Abroad

If your business takes you across the Channel and into Europe, you will need to get some European cover on your haulage insurance policy, as well as ensuring that your drivers have the correct paperwork and licences to drive their HGVs abroad.

Hazardous Goods

The type of goods you carry may affect your level of cover, especially if you carry hazardous materials such as chemicals. Depending on your cargo, some insurers may initially refuse you cover because of the risk factor, so it can be worth talking to several brokers when you are looking for cover as some may be more specialised and accommodating to your cargo.

Driver Diversity

When it comes to your staff force, age and experience can help to keep your premiums low. So while it might be difficult to insure younger drivers and new starters against your fleet insurance policy, providing your drivers have clean driving records and have accumulated some No Claims Bonus on your policy already you could find your haulage fleet insurance policy becoming cheaper.

Whichever business you are, haulier or courier, your vehicles will need insuring against third party damage and theft, that’s where a haulage fleet insurance policy comes in, and it is valuable to have.

Beginner’s Guide To Van Insurance

Vans are rather versatile vehicles; they can aid in anything from transporting goods in between locations, delivering equipment to events, and acting as a mobile place of business for tradesmen like electricians, plumbers, and delivery drivers.

What constitutes a van?

Vans come in a variety of sizes; from smaller vehicles just a little bigger than a saloon car to larger vehicles that may come with built-in tail lifts and hoists to help with the transportation of products.

The maximum size for a van is usually one which has a gross weight of 7.5 tonnes, anything heavier than this is considered a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV), and for these vehicles, you’ll need specialist HGV insurance policies in place.

Do I need a specialist van insurance?

Van insurance is legally required in the UK, so unless you have declared your vehicle as off-road by sending a SORN notice to the DVLA, you will be liable for a fine if you are caught driving a vehicle without insurance.

Whether you’re using the vehicle for social, domestic, and pleasure (SDP) or commercial use, van drivers and their fleet owners need to be insured while on the road.

There are four main types of cover available on a van insurance policy:

  • Third Party Only

Third Party Only (TPO) insurance cover is the minimum requirement required by UK law and covers the bare minimum when it comes to protection.

This level of cover helps to cover not only passengers but also those who are injured as a result of you causing an accident. Damage to property is also covered in TPO cover, but any damage to your vehicle and the costs of repairing it will ultimately be down to you.

  • Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT)

In comparison, Third Party Fire & Theft cover helps to protect your vehicle against damage sustained by fire and if your van is stolen – whether it’s parked up during a job or from your driveway of a night time.

TPFO cover helps to cover you in the event of an accident of which you were at fault, paying out any damages for medical expenses or vehicular damage of the person you injured as a result of the accident.

If your van is stolen, the insurer will expect you to pay the excess on your policy, so make sure you can afford the payment on your policy before arranging a cover. Depending on the value of your van at the time, you may not have to pay in the event of an accident, so it could be worth thinking about how much you want to secure against your van when you come to insure it.

  • Fully Comprehensive

Fully comprehensive van insurance, while being the most expensive level of cover, is also the one that gives the most cover. Covering everything on a TPFT policy, including any damage suffered by your vehicle as the result of an accident, fully comprehensive cover is recommended if you can afford it.

It doesn’t cover everything though, and you may need to arrange additional extras on your policy – including breakdown cover to insure you in the event of engine failure or other incidents that renders your vehicle undrivable.

  • Telematics

Some insurers will offer you the chance to track your driving using an onboard black box. This type of cover is becoming more popular because it allows companies to save money on their fleet insurance policies by keeping track of how their drivers are driving.

Not all insurers offer this type of cover yet, but the technology has grown in popularity, so you may see more companies offering this type of cover in future.

RELATED: No Claims Bonus: Save on Your Insurance

I work from my van, can I cover my equipment?

Commercial van insurance is different from regular van insurance and is available for business users of varying sizes. Whether you’re a self-employed painter and decorator or run a small fleet of delivery vans, your vans will require a specific type of van insurance for commercial use.

The price of your premium will be dependent on factors such as annual mileage, where you park the vehicle during jobs and even any additional named drivers – including co-workers and even apprentices.

A fully comprehensive van insurance policy is usually better for insuring vans which are always on the road throughout the day, and such policies help to cover any equipment contained within the vehicle – including tools and other equipment needed to do your job.

I’m a courier, do I need any extra cover?

Couriers will usually need to have some additional cover to protect their vehicles and the contents they carry:

  • Goods In Transit protection – used by those in the haulage and courier industries, Goods In Transit cover helps to protect those who regularly use their vans to deliver goods, materials and services for a living.
  • Employer’s Liability Insurance – if you employ staff to drive your vehicles, this level of protection helps to protect you against any claims brought against you by your drivers as a result of incidents which occurred as a result of your negligence.

It may be worth looking into specific courier van insurance to ensure all aspects are covered before you deploy the fleet.

So whether you use your van for transporting goods or just taking rubbish to the local tip, having the right level of van insurance cover can be beneficial, so it’s something worth looking into to ensure you are appropriately covered.