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Courier insurance is a form of Hire and Reward you’ll need if you use a car, van, motorcycle or bike to carry other people’s goods and items in return for payment. If you use your vehicle to move something from A to B as a job, you’ll need Courier insurance to ensure you’re protected—and driving legally.
This article will help you understand Courier insurance costs (which are noticeably higher than regular vehicle insurance premiums!), compare different types of Courier insurance (Courier Van insurance vs Courier Car insurance, for example) and help you get the best quote possible for courier driver insurance.
Do you need Courier Insurance?
Simply put, if you’re moving goods, materials or passengers from A to B then you’ll need special courier vehicle insurance to protect yourself. The type of insurance you need, and the amount you require, will depend on what you’re using your vehicle for. This is one of the first questions people ask when they're thinking about becoming a courier.
If you’re working as an independent courier then it’ll be very important to confirm you’re covered to protect yourself against unexpected costs. At an absolute minimum, you're legally required to be covered by third party single vehicle courier insurance—regular vehicle insurance won't provide this, so if you're going to be working independently then make sure you've purchased courier delivery insurance before undertaking any work.
However, if you’ll be working through another company (think Deliveroo, Uber, or perhaps even a local furniture moving service), then it’s important to work out what you’re covered for and what you’re not.
These firms might provide a form of free coverage for "off-vehicle" accidents causing injury or damage to third parties while you're at work (in the form of public liability), but sometimes not for the courier themselves, and rarely for your vehicle, so if you want to ensure you/your vehicle are fully protected you’ll need a separate courier insurance policy. Each individual firm will have its own coverages, so make sure you know what you’re protected for—and which insurance you need to buy yourself.
Types of Coverage
Similar to what you might find with car insurance, there are three levels of cover you can buy to protect the vehicle you use for courier services.
Third-party-only is the minimum level of coverage required legally to drive your vehicle. It will cover damages to another driver’s vehicle or property, but will not cover your vehicle at all.
- Example: An accident occurs involving you and another vehicle that you're at fault for—TPO covers damages to the other vehicle but not for yours.
Third-party, fire and theft
TPFT provides all the benefits of T-P-O, but with added protection for damages caused by fire or theft. You still are not covered for damages to your own vehicle caused by an on-road accident, whether yourself or another driver was at fault.
- Example: Your car is stolen from the street at night.
Provides all of the benefits of the above, but with the additional benefit of covering you and your vehicle as well as any involved third parties.
- Example: Your car is damaged when you slide off the road in slippery conditions.
In the table below, you can see what coverage each policy offers you through insurance provider AXA. Our research indicated this was fairly standard across a number of courier insurance companies. When you compare courier insurance quotes, be on the lookout for the features in the list that you might need.
|What's covered?||Third Party||Third Party, Fire and Theft||Comprehensive|
|Injury to other people or damage to their vehicles or property||✓||✓||✓|
|Accident recovery cover||✓||✓||✓|
|93 days’ EU travel||✓||✓||✓|
|Continued cover while your van is getting serviced or repaired||✓||✓||✓|
|Minimum cover to legally tow a trailer||✓||✓||✓|
|Loss or damage to your van caused by fire or theft||✓||✓|
|Built-in music, navigation and entertainment equipment||✓||✓|
|Loss or theft of your keys (up to £500)||✓||✓|
|Guaranteed courtesy van if your van is stolen or damaged||✓||✓|
|Loss or damage to your van||✓|
|Broken windows and windscreens||✓|
|Personal injury to the driver of your van (up to £5000)||✓|
|Medical expenses (up to £250)||✓|
|Personal belongings (up to £250)||✓|
|Cover if you put the wrong fuel in your van||✓|
Types of Courier Insurance
Courier Van Insurance
You’ll need courier van insurance if you use a van to carry goods or materials in return for payment. Courier van insurances are, generally, designed to protect most types of light haulage work, from couriers to furniture removal. Most policies offer the three levels of cover mentioned above: TPO, TPFT and comprehensive. And interestingly, comprehensive courier van insurance can be cheaper than TPO or TPFT, despite offering the highest level of protection. Courier van insurance costs typically start from around £1,700 per year.
Courier Car Insurance
Similarly to courier van insurance, cars used for courier services (now a more popular prospect than ever with the rise of tech companies offering paid courier work for small, easy-to-carry deliveries such as food/takeaway or individual packages) require a specific insurance policy. Your standard car insurance policy is unlikely to cover you sufficiently to conduct courier activities, and many service providers will require proof of insurance before allowing you to take jobs.
Bicycle and Motorbike Insurance
Those wishing to use a bicycle/motorbike for work purposes will also want to consider policies to help protect themselves against any damages. Most courier ‘app’ companies will provide you with basic on-the-job coverage for injury/public liability (with some even offering sick pay or a one-off payment for paternity/maternity!) but won’t cover your vehicle at all.
Food Courier Insurance
Different food delivery services offer different levels of protection when you sign-up to work for them. As a minimum standard, most will provide third-party-only vehicle insurance and a level of public liability insurance. You can find out more about popular food courier services, and the food delivery driver insurance offered, here:
(Optional) Goods in Transit Insurance
The insurances mentioned above will cover your vehicle while it is in use for paid courier services, however some courier van insurances won’t cover the value of your goods in transit, so it’s worth making sure that you’re fully covered. There can be specific exclusions on high value goods such as fine art or jewellery, so check before you buy if you know you’ll be working with these types of goods.
- Example: you’re carrying a set of expensive mirrors, some of which are damaged while driving. Your client wants you to pay for their replacement.
(Non-courier specific) Public Liability Insurance
Public liability insurance is one of the most common types of business insurance, bought to protect a business financially from the litigation costs and compensation payments that can follow certain types of accidents.
- Example: while carrying a large item, your vision is impaired and you walk into a member of the public, knocking them over and causing a minor injury.
(Non-courier specific) Employers Liability Insurance
Employers liability insurance covers compensation payments to your current and former employees if they are injured at work or become ill due to their work for your business. In addition, employers liability insurance would cover legal fees associated with defending an employee liability claim.
- Example: one of your employees trips and falls while making a delivery, and believes insufficient equipment was at fault.
When carrying out your courier insurance comparison, be sure to check for those features, which may be sold as optional extras.
Some providers offer this as an optional extra, some offer it within comprehensive packages, so make sure to double check before buying. Provides you either with the help you need to get your van back on the road, or with a back-up vehicle in case yours is taken out of action longer term.
More relevant for haulage couriers, but if you’re transporting goods across the UK border and into Europe/internationally, you’ll need special insurance to ensure you’re covered while you’re outside of the UK.
Fleet (More than one van)
As with other types of commercial fleet vehicle insurance, courier motor fleet insurance coverage is laid out similarly to those designed for individual couriers (comprehensive, TP, TPFT) but covers multiple vehicles. Primary benefits include discounts and keeping all policies from the same provider (equal levels of coverage, single renewal date).
Haulage (or Hauliers Insurance)
Haulage insurance covers you for the movement of goods across long-distances. You’re likely to be interested in haulage insurance if your work typically takes a number of hours to complete, and generally involves one starting and finishing point.
How much does courier insurance usually cost?
NimbleFins research shows that courier van insurance typically ranges from around £1,450 to £2,150 for comprehensive cover, while courier car insurance can cost even more. The cost for insurance packages varies depending on which type of insurance you choose. Prices vary depending on which additional extras you do/don’t require, and which provider you choose to go with.
During our research we found that many providers consider courier insurance a more “specialist” product than personal car/van insurance, so there may be extra steps before you’re set-up properly and covered.
Our guide to the cost of Courier insurance goes into a lot more detail, so if you'd like to know more about the specifics (as well as some tips to save!) then have a read.
Below is a visual summary of 3 quotes we received for comprehensive, TPFT and TPO van insurances for a 5 year old Ford Transit. There are some interesting points to note.
|How Much is Van Courier Insurance in the UK?||TPO||TPFT||Comprehensive|
Some providers offer TPFT as their minimum courier insurance coverage, and won’t offer a TPO policy.
Fully comprehensive coverage can, in some cases, be cheaper than less extensive policies, especially for older and historically safer drivers. A key reason for this is because young (and riskier) drivers typically search for TPO (minimum required) insurance and providers can afford to reward safer drivers for their business.
Compare Courier Insurance
It can take some legwork to find a cheap courier insurance policy, so using a search engine can be a time-efficient way to find the best courier insurance companies, whether you're looking for cheap delivery car insurance, cheap van insurance companies or other forms of cheap hire and reward insurance.
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Also remember that pay-as-you-go courier insurance (like that offered by Zego) can be another option if you're only working as a courier part time or temporarily. But those working full-time as a courier might find an annual policy to work out cheaper in the long run.
You will, at minimum, require a form of Commercial or Hire and Reward coverage in order to be a courier. The definitions of these vary from provider to provider, so make sure to be clear with your provider what type of work you'll be doing, and they'll be able to put together an appropriate policy for you. As courier work has become more popular, many policies will specify whether you are/aren't covered for delivery work, so look out for this as you research.
If you're working for somebody else's business (perhaps a local takeaway, an app like Deliveroo or a company like Amazon) then no, you shouldn't require business insurance. You'll still need to insure your vehicle as mentioned above, but as long as you have appropriate Commercial/Hire and Reward cover then you should be appropriately insured.
No—Goods in Transit coverage is not a legal requirement for couriers or delivery drivers. That being said, it can be a great way to protect yourself if you regularly carry high value goods, whether they're your own or somebody else's.
Hire and Reward insurance refers to a form of vehicle insurance that allows you to use your vehicle in return for payment. This, naturally, includes work such as food or parcel delivery.
You'll want to check with your provider for an exact definition, as each insurer defines Hire and Reward slightly differently, but as long as you're clear with your insurer about the type of work you'll be doing, and they agree to cover you, you'll be properly insured.
It can be easier to find cheap courier van insurance if you drive a vehicle that insurers are most familiar, such as:
- Ford Transit
- Citroen Belingo
- Mercedes Sprinter
- Vauxhall Vivaro
Many methods of reducing your personal car insurance still apply to creating the cheapest courier insurance policy possible (no claims history, clean driving license, paying annually). Paying a larger policy excess (the amount you’ll pay in the event of a claim), fitting an enhanced security/monitoring system (black box, dashboard cam) and parking your vehicle closer to home/in a secure garage will all help to reduce the cost of your courier policy.
If you’re part of a larger courier company with more than one vehicle, you may also be able to sign up to a Fleet Insurance package, which will cover all vehicles under one policy at a lower rate than if you were to insure them with the same provider individually.
What to look out for in a courier insurance policy
As with most insurance policies, it’s worth making sure you know what you’re covered and not covered for. Our research found that most providers would charge extra for replacement vehicles, breakdown cover and legal cover in the case of a lawsuit, so keep these things in mind when creating a policy that works for you.
Also make sure to inform your social, domestic & leisure insurance provider (if they’re two separate policies) as soon as possible that you’ve started working as a courier, and the details of your new policy and provider, to avoid any unnecessary risk of them nullifying your policy in the case of an accident. Remember many insurers will happily add on courier/goods in transit insurance, so check with them if you’d like to keep the policy under one provider for convenience sake (but you could get a cheaper deal shopping around elsewhere!)
Common exclusions or conditions
There are many exclusions and conditions that apply to personal vehicle insurance that cross-over with courier insurance regarding security, accidents where you’re not at fault and the value of insurance that will be paid. There are some more courier specific insurance conditions to be aware of, such as trailer coverage (most policies will not cover you for damages or theft incurred to a separate trailer attached to your car or van, so you’ll need to purchase this separately).
If it’s your first time owning and driving a van, your no claims bonus/discount from your car driving history also doesn’t typically carry across, so be prepared to start a fresh no claims for your van driving.
All vehicle quotes were gathered for a 30-year-old male driver living in North West London, who had been driving for 5+ years with no claims or convictions against his name. In both cases, the driver had never worked as a courier previously (0 months self-employed) with no additional forms of employment.
The van used was a 1.6L 2014 Ford Transit Connect with 71,000 miles. The car used was a 1.8L 2012 Toyota Prius with 48,000 miles. Our research indicated both vehicles were popular choices for van/car couriers.
You may be finding that the insurance you require as a courier is significantly higher than your personal vehicle insurance. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, courier drivers tend to drive for long hours, and regularly operate on roads they’re unfamiliar with. If you’re using a van for courier services, larger vehicles also typically fall into higher insurance brackets.
Given that courier insurance is also a business insurance (as opposed to social, domestic & pleasure policies you might be used to for your personal travel), coverages like goods in transit or public liability must also be factored into potential costs.
Yes—a few insurers offer policies targeted at couriers only intending to work on a short-term basis, however be aware that many insurers will invalidate your social, domestic & pleasure policy if you’re working as a courier—even if you’ve got temporary courier insurance.
Some providers and comparison websites will take into account your no claims bonus from other/previously registered vehicles, however you can only transfer no claims gained through the same type of vehicle (as an example, 5 years of no claims on a car wouldn’t apply to your first van).
The policies can be seperate, however be aware that some personal vehicle insurance providers will invalidate your policy if you haven’t clearly stated you’ll be using your vehicle for both personal and business purposes, irrespective of whether or not you were working at the time of an accident. Some providers will also not consider your insurance valid if you were being protected by a temporary insurance provider (Zego, MCE).
Absolutely, and most personal insurance providers will offer haulage/courier protection that it’s easy to add-on to your existing policy, but it’s worth shopping around too to find the best deal if you don’t mind dealing with two separate policies. As mentioned above, stay wary that some providers won’t cover you if you choose to use a temporary courier insurer like Zego or MCE, irrespective of when your accident occurs, as your policy will become invalid.
- The market for vans has been popular for much longer, allowing insurers and underwriters to more accurately evaluate risks, costs and driver profiles
- Van couriers are considerably more likely to collect and offload goods at designated depots, that have appropriate safety measures in place, compared to car couriers who are more likely to park outside a store/restaurant to collect food/goods
- Van couriers are less likely to drive unsociable, late-night hours to collect goods or make deliveries
Find Courier insurance today.
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NimbleFins aims to provide a full guide to anyone in the world of Courier or Delivery Drivers. Here's some of our additional guides and research to courier service insurance that may interest you.