What is Minibus Insurance?

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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.

Minibus Insurance UK

Minibuses are a popular form of transport for many people across the UK. Businesses, schools, social clubs and sports teams are just a few of the groups that can benefit from the use of a minibus. However, as with any vehicle on the road, there are a number of risks you can face and the damages caused by an accident can be expensive. Our guide will cover everything you need to know about Minibus insurance.

We’re proud to partner with QuoteZone, one of the UK’s leading insurance comparison companies. If you might like to know what a quote could look like, fill out a quote form, and we’ll connect you with top minibus insurers.

Popular Types of Insurance for a Minibus

Driving without appropriate vehicle insurance is illegal, so make sure this is taken care of before driving anywhere. You should also consider Public Liability if you’re using your minibus for commercial purposes.

There’s a long list of insurances available to minibus owners and drivers (which can get confusing and complicated at times) so it’s important to understand what does and doesn’t apply. Like any vehicle on public roads, you will need a form of Vehicle insurance, and if you’re using your minibus to transport passengers in return for payment then you’ll need a Commercial Vehicle policy.

Most minibus businesses operate with a good Public Liability policy in place. While not mandatory, it can protect against damage claims from any third parties for damages, which may be against passengers, property or the general public/third parties. And if you do hire any staff members, the law requires you to have an Employers’ Liability policy before they begin work for you.

Common Types of Minibus Insurance & What They Cover
1.Public LiabilityIf a passenger or third party incurs property damage or injury as a result of your operation
2.Employers' LiabilityCovers you if an employee becomes unwell or is hurt due to their work for you
3.Vehicle insuranceComes in 3 different tiers (like traditional vehicle insurance) that protect yours/others vehicles while on the road
3.5.Commercial VehicleIf you use your minibus in return for payment (often referred to as hire & reward) then you’ll need a Commercial Vehicle policy.
4.Breakdown CoverProtects you if your minibus breaks down. Covers repairs and can offer a replacement vehicle (typically for an additional cost)
5.Fleet InsuranceAllows you to insure multiple vehicles on one policy

And a few examples of how these might apply to you practically:

Minibus Insurance Examples

  • Public Liability: You have to brake suddenly, and a passenger is hurt in the process. They can’t work for 2 weeks and so lose their wages. They sue you for the lost income
  • Employers’ Liability: A driver you employ is involved in an accident caused by a fault in the vehicle you provided. The driver sues you for damages
  • Vehicle Insurance: You’re at fault for a minor accident that causes damages to your minibus and somebody else’s car. Your Comprehensive insurance covers both sets of damage
  • Commercial Vehicle Insurance: Another minor accident occurs, but this time while you’re using your minibus to taxi passengers to an airport in return for payment Your insurer covers the damages as you’ve informed them you’re using your minibus for hire and reward
  • Breakdown Cover: You can’t get your vehicle started in the morning. Your insurer sends someone to take it to a garage, and covers the cost of repairing it


What do I need to know about licensing before looking at policies?

Minibus insurance and licensing is a complicated business. Minibuses are often used by non-commercial bodies such as schools, social clubs and churches to provide a service to the local community. Due to the social value of minibuses, the government doesn’t require you to obtain a special license if you’re only driving on a voluntary basis, and aren’t being rewarded financially for your work.

In some cases, the government will also grant you a permit if they believe the work you’re doing meets certain criteria (even if you’re being paid for it). These include driving for a non-profit organisation or only charging passengers to cover the costs of driving/maintaining the minibus. If you aren’t 100% sure, take a look at the government’s guide to permits.

If you are going to be using your minibus for hire and reward, then make sure to be clear with your insurer about your business and vehicle. They’ll want to know about the make and model, how many seats it has and what you intend the primary use of the vehicle to be. They're also likely to ask for confirmation that you're licensed to drive the vehicle before issuing a policy. As it’s a niche market, you may find it more difficult to get a quote online, so you may need to speak with a provider or broker to discuss your policy.

Temporary/short-term Minibus insurance is a specialist policy that’ll insure you to drive a minibus for a short period of time, typically between 1-14 days. It’s ideal for charities, day trips, school and adventure groups (such as the Scouts or a Duke of Edinburgh expedition) that need coverage for one trip but not the entire year.

It’s a fairly niche offering that has some fairly strict terms & conditions—you’re unlikely to find a policy offering more than 2 named drivers, and providers will often refuse coverage to anyone under the age of 25.

However, if you don’t intend to use the minibus throughout the year then it is a highly cost-effective way to make sure you’re still fully covered on any journeys you make.

No—you’ll need a minibus-specific policy to be able to take it on public roads. Your insurance for another vehicle, whether car, van, or otherwise won’t apply to a minibus you get behind the wheel of.

If you have a full UK license (and aren’t driving professionally or for hire & reward, in which case you’ll need a separate D1 minibus license) then you should be fine to drive a minibus (16 seats and under).

If you have any doubts/questions, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can complete this 1 minute questionnaire from the UK government to see if you are/aren’t covered.

And if you have any further issues, you can check your license online and see if it has D1 entitlement.

There shouldn’t be any issues with insuring your minibus through an insurer that offers Van insurance. Just make sure to be clear with the insurer about the type of vehicle you’re insuring (number of seats, make and model) and what you’ll be using it for (personal use, hire & reward etc.) and they’ll let you know whether they’re able to quote you or not.

What should I look for in a Minibus insurance provider?

Most of the big insurance providers will shy away from offering you a policy, due to the risks of insuring a large vehicle that can carry a lot of passengers in it. Therefore the market is occupied with smaller, more specialist insurers who know the minibus market extremely well.

There are a number of benefits to taking out a policy with a specialist provider:

  • They know the market (and the risks) much better than a generalist
  • Often offer dedicated agents, so you’ll always have a point of contact if you have a question or need to make a claim
  • Expert knowledge of Minibus insurance procedures and claims process

In terms of extras that might separate one provider from the next, consider policies which include an attractive combination of:

  • 24-hour support lines
  • Replacement vehicles and accident recovery
  • Windscreen cover (typically charged as extra)
  • Cover for EU/international travel (typically charged as extra)

Where can I get Minibus insurance quotes?

Fill out a quote here and our partners QuoteZone will connect you with some of the UK’s top Minibus insurance providers. You’ll have a chance to build a policy to fit your needs specifically, and ask any questions you might have before signing up.

How much does Minibus insurance cost?

The average cost of your Minibus insurance will vary depending on a number of key variables that insurers will assess. These may include:

  • Primary use of vehicle
  • Make and model
  • Engine size
  • Passenger capacity/number of seats
  • Where the minibus is kept
  • Approximate value

Minibus insurance is a fairly specialist coverage, unsurprising given the risks of carrying passengers and often driving on unfamiliar roads. You’re unlikely to receive quotes online, as policies will likely need to be run past an underwriter before being issued.

If you’re looking to get cheap Minibus insurance, ways of saving money on insurance for other vehicles still apply.

  • Pay annually
  • Gather multiple quotes
  • Smaller, less powerful vehicles that carry fewer passengers
  • Lower coverage values
  • Higher excess
  • No criminal convictions
  • No claims bonus (both on a minibus and other vehicles)

You may find your costs different to other minibus drivers—insurers put together a risk profile based on variables like your age, previous driving history and location to estimate the chances of you being in an accident. Variations in your final cost are simply a reflection of changes in these.

What are the different types of Minibus/Van insurance?

Minibuses are generally considered to be a form of van by insurers, so you’re likely to find the same vehicle coverage levels as you would with a traditional van.

  • Third Party Only: Covers only damages to affected third parties; no protections for you or your vehicle
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft: Covers damages to third parties, but includes cover for your vehicle if it’s damaged in a fire or stolen
  • Comprehensive: The highest level of cover, you’re insured for the cost of damages incurred by yourself and any third parties in the event of the accident
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
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Damage to other people’s property
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Common Minibus Insurance Exclusions

While every policy is different, our research indicated a few key themes that it’s worth being aware of

  • Unnamed Driver: If the minibus is in use by somebody not named on the insurance policy
  • Airports: If your vehicle is damaged in an area accessible by aircraft (such as runways)
  • Outside agreed region: You won’t be covered if you drive outside of the UK without informing your insurer beforehand
  • Deliberate damages: Your insurer is unlikely to pay out if they believe/can prove any damage was caused intentionally
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.


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.