What is Coach Insurance?

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Coach Insurance UK

Coach owners and drivers have to be aware of the risks of carrying passengers at all times, and the costs of not being appropriately insured can be severe. This guide will explain everything you need to know about the different types of insurance available, and offer some examples of how these might apply.

If you’d like to know more about the potential cost of a policy, fill out a quote form and we’ll connect you with some of the UK’s leading specialist coach insurance providers.

Popular Types of Insurance for a Coach

You’re unlikely to be able to drive without Vehicle Insurance and Public Liability at a minimum. You’ll need Employers’ Liability if you hire any staff too.

There are a number of insurance policies available to coach businesses. At a bare minimum, you’ll need Public Liability and Commercial Vehicle insurance to be able to carry passengers, and if you have any employees (even if they’re only part-time or contracted) you’re legally required to hold a form of Employers’ Liability. However, there are other options available that you’ll want to be aware of.

Common Types of Coach Insurance & What They Cover
1.Public LiabilityIf a passenger is injured or has their property damaged as a result of your coach service.
2.Employers' LiabilityIf an employee is hurt or becomes unwell as a result of driving for you
3.Vehicle InsuranceCovers your vehicle in the event of an accident. Comes in 3 levels of cover explained below
4.Breakdown CoverOften sold as an optional extra with Vehicle coverage, breakdowns can be expensive. Covers you for repairs and may even offer a temporary replacement
5.Tour Operators LiabilityIf you run a tour, protect yourself against compensation claims (for example, if a tour is cancelled due to reasons out of your control)
6.Personal InsurancesCovers lost income if you or an employee are unable to work due to becoming unwell or being injured
7.Fleet InsuranceIf you want to insure multiple vehicles under a single policy

Here’s a few examples of how these coverages can help protect you and your coach business.

Coach Insurance Examples

  • Public Liability: A passenger falls over on your coach while it’s moving and believes your driving is at fault. They’re unable to work for 4 weeks due to the injuries from the fall, and sue you for the damages.
  • Employers’ Liability: One of your drivers has an accident and his lawyers claim the vehicle he drove was poorly maintained by your company. They sue you for damages.
  • Vehicle Insurance: You’re involved in a minor accident that causes cosmetic damages to your coach. Your Vehicle insurance covers the repair.
  • Breakdown Cover: After finishing a journey, your coach breaks down and is stuck in a parking lot. Your breakdown cover comes and collects it for you, and quickly arranges a replacement vehicle while yours is in the garage.
  • Tour Operators Liability:A snowstorm makes driving conditions unsafe and you have to cancel a tour. Your Tour Operators Liability covers the refund to your customers.
  • Personal Insurance: You become unwell and can’t work for a week. Your Personal Accident insurance covers your income for the week off.

FAQs

Yes—coaches in the UK absolutely need insurance. If you’re a business owner or sole trader, make sure you’ve got a sufficient Public Liability policy before taking passengers, and consider a form of Vehicle coverage if it’s your main source of income.

If you drive for another business, they should provide you with coverage. However, be aware that most businesses ask contracted drivers to have their own Public Liability before they’ll let you fulfill a trip for them.

Coach drivers face the same risks as any other driver on the roads, however their vehicles are considerably larger than most and they often carry large numbers of passengers, so the cost of something going wrong is much higher than for a smaller vehicle or personal car.

Coaches also often make long haul journeys, and drive on roads they aren’t familiar with, increasing the chances of an accident happening. Insurers take all of this into account, and it naturally pushes the price of a policy upwards.

Traditional methods of saving money on your car insurance still apply here. These include:
  • Paying upfront (as opposed to monthly)
  • Compare multiple quotes
  • Less powerful/smaller vehicles
  • Lower levels of coverage
  • Higher voluntary excess
  • Long history of no claims

Most insurers will ask specifically how many passengers your coach can carry—a lower amount reduces risk, and will save you money on your Coach insurance.

Different insurers will naturally ask for different information, but it’s likely to include a combination of the following:

  • Primary use (e.g. airport transfer, social club, private hire, school/education)
  • Types of Cover (e.g. motor insurance, employers' liability, public liability, breakdown)
  • Estimated value
  • How many passengers can it carry?
  • Drivers insured (e.g. you only, you + a named driver, any driver over 25)
  • Make and model
  • (If looking for a Fleet policy) how many vehicles are insured?

Who can drive a coach I own?

Your insurance policy will define who is and isn’t covered to drive your vehicle. It generally comes in 3 main categories:

  • Insured Driver: The person who holds the policy
  • Insured and Named Driver: Declare specific named drivers who are also covered to drive your vehicle
  • Any Driver: Anybody over a certain age (typically 21, 25 and 30) can drive

Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re self employed and are the only one driving your vehicle, Insured will certainly be best. If you operate a small business or tour company, Insured and Named is the most cost effective way to insure yourself and others to drive your vehicle, allowing insurers to background check everyone who is going to be behind the wheel.

If you operate a larger business, however, and your drivers often switch between different vehicles for different journeys then an Any Driver policy might be best. While more expensive, due to insurers inability to conduct background checks on everyone getting behind the wheel, it is considerably easier from an admin perspective, as you won’t have to worry about informing your insurer every time a new driver needs to be added to your Certificate of Insurance.

Where can I get Coach insurance quotes?

If you fill out a quote here you’ll be able to compare specialist Coach insurance quotes from a number of the UK’s leading Coach insurers. You’ll also have a chance to ask any questions you’ve got to one of their specialist advisors and create a policy that works best for you.

What to look for in a Coach insurance provider?

Coach insurance is quite a specialist product. Like other forms of specialist insurance (such as Courier insurance) larger UK insurers like Direct Line and Hastings tend to avoid offering coverage. You’ll likely be best served looking at more specialist providers, who will be able to more accurately assess you, your vehicle and your business and put together the best possible policy.

Specialist providers have a number of unique attributes that allow them to exist and thrive in niche markets like Coach insurance. Look out for a provider that offers a dedicated agent—someone you can get in touch with at any point to ask questions, discuss issues or make a claim to. Because they spend their days talking to other Coach owners, they’ll have expert knowledge in the market, and can offer advice and guidance to keep you safe on the roads.

Potential Policy Exclusions and Key Facts

Insurers may refuse you a policy (or refuse to pay out a claim) if they discover something that breaches these clauses, which our research indicated regularly come up in Coach insurance policy wordings.

  • Vintage Bus/Coach: if your vehicle meets certain age criteria it may need a more specialist policy to account for additional risks
  • EU/International: some insurers won’t cover you for journeys into Europe/further afield if you haven’t informed them beforehand
  • Deliberate Act: if your insurer feels that the claimant was deliberately exposed to risk then they’re unlikely to cover you
  • Sub-contractors: some insurers won’t cover sub-contractors, so they’ll need their own policy before you employ them. It’s your responsibility to check this.

Things to Look Out For When Buying Coach Insurance

There's a few things you should look out for when you're buying your insurance. Some providers will offer these as standard, some will charge extra for them, and some won't offer them at all. Keep an eye out for what is and isn't offered, and make sure your policy has everything you're looking for included, but keep in mind you have to pay a little extra for the additional security.

  • 24 hour support: An all-hours helpline if something goes wrong out of the usual 9-5
  • Accident Recovery: Pick-up if your vehicle is immobilized and needs to get to a garage
  • EU/International Cover: Coverage when driving in Europe (and further afield)
  • Replacement Vehicle: If your vehicle is out of action for an extended period (and your business risks losing revenue) then your insurer will provide another while yours is repaired
  • Windscreen Cover: Repair or replacement if your windscreen is chipped

Additional Coach Insurance Information

Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance for Coach owners and drivers will help keep you covered in the event that somebody incurs damages or is injured as a result of your work. It’ll cover you for any legal costs you expend while defending yourself, and any compensation a court might award against you.

Your policy value is the maximum limit that your insurer will pay out (usually £1M, £2M, £5M or £10M), so consider how much you’d like to be protected for.

Employers Liability Insurance

Employers' Liability Insurance is legally required if you hire any staff. The penalties for not holding a valid policy are severe—£2,500 per day that you don’t hold a valid coverage.

It’ll cover compensation for any current or former employees who feel they were injured or became ill while working for you. Like Public Liability, it’ll also cover any legal fees associated with your defense.

Vehicle Insurance for Coaches

You’ll need a specialist form of Commercial Vehicle Insurance to cover your vehicle for transporting paid passengers. It generally comes in three main categories: Third Party Only (TPO), Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT), and Comprehensive.

Types of Vehicle InsuranceTPO (most basic)TPFTComprehensive (most robust)
Repair if your vehicle is damaged in an accident
red x
red x
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Repairs if your vehicle is damaged in a fire or stolen
red x
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Compensation if other people are injured in an accident
thumbs up
thumbs up
thumbs up
Damage to other people’s property
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If you have multiple vehicles, you should also consider a form of Fleet Insurance, which can help cover multiple vehicles that you own, saving you admin time (by keeping all your vehicles under one provider) and encouraging insurers to offer you a discount for taking out a larger overall policy.

Specialist Coach Insurance Providers

NimbleFins has partnered with QuoteZone’s specialist Coach insurance providers—if you want to know more about Coach insurance, or want to see what a quote might look like fill out a form here and we’ll get in touch.

  • JSW Insurance: A specialist insurance broker founded in 2003 with locations in Newcastle, Crewe, Melton Mowbray and Halifax
  • Gauntlet Group: Over 25 years of experience in the market, based out of Leeds
  • Patons Insurance: Specialist in Taxi, Coach and Fleet insurance across 6 nationwide locations
  • Brady Insurance: Northern Irish insurer specialising in all things vehicle
Luke Masters

Prior to NimbleFins, Luke studied economics at Brunel University and worked at FreshMinds, Investigo and BMW. His work in data analytics, pricing, strategy and business development helped him write business insurance content to support SMEs at NimbleFins. He now works at DataPOWA, a sports & entertainment data analytics company. Read more on LinkedIn.

Comments

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.