When it comes to getting the best possible coverage for your private hire vehicle, Fully Comprehensive should be the #1 choice. It provides you with far more protection than Third Party and Third Party Fire & Theft. Not only does it cover your liability for personal injury and damages sustained by other people in an accident, it also insures you and your vehicle too.
This cover extends to fire, theft and accidental damage and many policies cover added extras such as essential equipment (your sat nav would be a prime example). Additionally, you should have at least Third Party cover when it comes to driving another car with the owner’s permission. Such a feature is essential for private hire firms as it ensures businesses run smoothly since they are not restricted by having certain drivers only being allowed to operate certain vehicles.
Is It Really Comprehensive?
You might expect fierce competition in the car insurance market to improve the standard of coverage but the opposite is the case. In order to offer the lowest initial premiums, insurance companies shave off certain things and deem them to be ‘extras’. As a result, benefits that used to be included in standard Fully Comprehensive private hire insurance policies will now cost you extra.
Small Print Tricks
It is a mistake to assume you are ‘fully covered’ when you choose a Fully Comprehensive policy. The details of these policies vary significantly depending on the insurer. For example, many policies no longer include a courtesy car which has long since been a major selling point for drivers. Now, you could pay up to £50 extra per annum for this ‘benefit’. If you operate a major private hire firm with dozens of vehicles, this could really put a dent in your profit margin.
We recommend that you carefully go through the small print to find out what you are actually entitled to and what you have to pay extra for. This can be a long and laborious process but its well worth it to prevent you making a big mistake.
What Should You Be Covered For?
Here is a quick look at what should be in a Fully Comprehensive private hire insurance policy. Bear in mind there are insurers that charge extra for some of these features:
- Damage To Vehicles: Both your vehicle and the vehicles of others involved in the accident will be covered. You should also be covered for damage to accessories; it is worth noting that insurers always have their own ‘preferred’ garages. If you use someone else and the cost of repairs goes above what the insurer expects, you will be forced to pay the difference.
- Fire & Theft: If your vehicle is damaged accidentally or maliciously or if it has been stolen or damaged by fire, you should be covered. This includes damage to certain accessories but if the insurer proves your vehicle was stolen due to your negligence, you may not receive a penny.
- Personal Injury: This should cover you/your passengers in the event injuries are sustained either travelling in the vehicle or through the process of getting in/out of the vehicle. Should the injury result in serious physical damage such as loss of limbs or sight within three months of the accident, you may also receive a payment.
- Personal Possessions: This covers you if fire or an accident causes damage to personal possessions contained in the car. Typically, insurers will not cover cash, stamps or vouchers. Additionally, insurers always consider the age and depreciation of items before making any payment.
- Damage To Windscreen/Windows/Sunroof: You might receive compensation if the glass of your windscreen, sunroof or windows is broken or damaged because of vandalism or an accident. You should be able to make these claims without having your No Claims Discount affected.
- Medical Bills: Being covered for medical bills and costs associated with dentistry and physiotherapy is becoming an increasingly rare practice. These costs are now being lumped under the ‘extras’ bracket more than ever.
These are features hardly ever covered under a standard Fully Comprehensive private hire insurance policy. As you need to pay more money for all of the following, be sure you need these extras before making a decision:
- Courtesy Car: This is probably a good extra for private hire drivers since it gives you another car while yours is off the road. This only applies to occasions when your vehicle has been stolen or damaged in an accident. Typically, you receive this courtesy vehicle for up to 21 days.
- Legal Protection: This is an expensive add-on but it may be worth the cost because it provides protection against legal fees. If passengers, other drivers or pedestrians are injured due to your negligent driving, you could be taken to court and legal costs are excessive.
- Breakdown Cover: If your vehicle breaks down on the road, you can get roadside assistance to either fix the vehicle immediately or have it towed to a garage.
- Protected No Claims Bonus: It is well worth protecting an NCB as drivers with five years of no claims can receive up to 75% off their annual insurance premium.
- Named Drivers & Driving Other Cars: Most policies only allow you to drive other vehicles with Third Party cover and only during emergency situations. If you operate a private hire firm, it is essential that your team of drivers are legally allowed to operate multiple vehicles within your fleet.
It’s clear that ‘Fully Comprehensive’ is not a guarantee of full coverage. If you are a private hire driver, you may need extras not found on standard policies. Adding all the ‘extras’ available from a typical insurer could cost you £300+ per annum on top of your standard premium. Multiply this by several vehicles and you could have a real headache.
Fortunately, you can use the comparison tool here on PrivateHireInsurance.net to not only find out the cheapest Fully Comprehensive policies, you can also determine whether or not the additional extras are worth the cost.