A Guide To Taxi And Private Hire Insurance – How To Find The Best Policy
Driving a taxi in the UK is no mean feat. Besides having to put up with unruly passengers, endless traffic jams and several other traffic chaos, taxi drivers or owners also have to deal with insurance, which is pricier compared to regular motor insurance covers.
Though this difference in cost may seem unfair, it actually is not so since taxis run more kilometers than private cars on any given day. In other words, a taxi is a livelihood for the one who drives. In this article, we’ll discuss taxi insurance in some detail so that even taxi insurance noobs understand things better.
What is Taxi Insurance?
Taxi insurance is an insurance cover that protects you and your taxi. It’s a specialist policy and is comprehensive in nature, since standard car drivers do not cover as much distance every day as taxi drivers do. With such increased amount of time spent on the road, accident risks go up too, which is why proper and holistic coverage is so important. Not to mention, with a standard car insurance, you cannot drive a taxi.
What Does the Insurance Cover?
Taxi insurance comprises passenger liability insurance and motor insurance as standard. This means not just you and your car, even your passengers would be covered by insurance in case a mishap happens on the road. There are quite a few other elements you may add to your taxi insurance cover to make it even more comprehensive.
Those include breakdown cover, round-the-clock claims assistance, advice/assistance with regard to vehicle recovery from the accident spot, personal usage cover if the taxi is being used for non-commercial reasons, home start recovery for vehicles that won’t start, etc. There is also cover for damage to or loss of keys, which includes locksmith charges and replacement keys and locks.
Taxi Insurance Types
The kind of taxi insurance you would require depends on your scenarios – whether you require cover for a fleet or individual drivers, the kind of vehicle you’re seeking insurance for, etc. The two major categories in this regard are ‘public hire’ and ‘private hire’.
• Public Hire Insurance
A public hire taxi need not be pre-booked or booked in advance. It may seem that such taxis require a lot more insurance cover than private hire taxis, but that isn’t the case. A public hire taxi is usually newer compared to private hire cabs. The drivers are older, which some insurers consider a good thing. When you’re in the UK, every taxi with the taxi sign is a public hire cab. These are called hackney carriages and the best possible example for these taxis are London’s black cabs.
• Private Hire Insurance
A private hire cab requires pre-booking, like the Uber cabs. These cabs do not have a taxi sign on them and cannot be flagged down randomly on the road. This may look like lower insurance risks compared to public hire cabs. However, these private hires cabs are usually older than public hire taxis and their drivers are also fairly young, who are (quite understandably) notorious for unsafe or rash driving.
• MPV Taxis and Minibus
Bigger taxis with increased seat capacity compared to regular five-seater taxis fall in a much higher insurance category, and the premiums are relatively expensive too. This category of taxis includes people carriers, multipurpose vehicles (MPVs), and also minibus taxis that carry a lot more passengers at once.
Taxi Insurance – Public Liability
When insuring your taxi, you are not just insuring the vehicle but also the people within, as aforementioned. In other words, you would require public liability insurance too. This aspect comes as a default feature with many taxi insurance covers. That said, no taxi insurance policy would offer cover on claims made by passengers if they’ve been injured or have incurred other losses while travelling.
While buying a taxi insurance cover, it is vital you religiously go through the policy’s terms and conditions. You would most likely require a separate policy for public liability coverage.
Taxi Insurance – Location
Another key aspect of taxi insurance is their region-based coverage. These covers are usually territorial, which means they could exclude or include specific areas – cities, towns, etc.
Many insurers usually do not provide cover to taxis that function in high-traffic areas. For example, taxis running in London and Northern Ireland are usually not covered for the congested nature of the roads in these places. This is usually the approach adopted by national-level insurers.
People driving taxis in places like London need not worry much though as there are numerous local service providers offering covers. When looking up their policy details and prices, make sure you go through the offerings of multiple service providers and compare them before inking the contract.
Tips for Cheap Taxi Insurance Quotes
To make sure you get the best taxi quote, make sure you compare various insurance covers online. This should be the approach when you’re looking to buy a new taxi insurance cover and also when your existing insurance policy is up for renewal.
There are many insurance service providers such as MoneySuperMarket Insurance who specialize in taxi insurance, cheap taxi insurance, minibus insurance, etc. Another cheap insurance quote tip is paying premiums annually instead of monthly, and also making sure your vehicle has the right security.
You can begin your quest for a lower taxi quote even at the time of buying the vehicle. In other words, pick a vehicle that falls under the lower insurance category. There are multiple insurance groups and the cars falling in the higher groups have to pay more as premium.
The group your vehicle gets relegated to is determined by the Group Rating Panel. The panel comprises representatives from the insurance industry and from some other associations. The cars get categorized based on their safety features, repairs, spare parts costs, and buying price.
When on the road, it’s important to drive safely and conform to traffic rules. Even minor convictions could lead to higher insurance premiums or no cover at all. Needless to say, the best way to bring down your insurance costs is having a clean record – both off and on road.