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What van insurance do couriers need?

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With so many options to choose from, business van insurance can be confusing to navigate but getting it right is vital. Not only do you need appropriate van insurance by law, it can help cover financial losses if something unexpected happens. Here, we take a look at what to consider when it comes to courier insurance.

What is courier insurance?

Courier insurance is a type of policy designed for anyone making multiple deliveries throughout the day. It’s not quite the same as haulage insurance which is aimed at drivers travelling over much longer distances and stopping at just one or two pre-determined pick-up or drop-off points.

Do I need courier insurance?

Courier insurance is also known as Carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward. You must have this by law if you’re paid to use your van to collect or deliver goods that don’t belong to you. Read about the different classes of van insurance here.

If you need courier insurance but don’t have it, you could face the same penalties as someone driving without any insurance at all. This is because uninsured driving is a type of strict liability crime. Essentially, it means you’re guilty of an offence even if you didn’t do it on purpose. As a result, you could face a fixed penalty fine of £300 and have six points added to your licence. If you’re taken to court, you could be given an unlimited fine and even be disqualified from driving.

What does courier insurance cover?

Policies will insure you and your van for a range of incidents depending on what level of cover you choose. There are three options available:

  • Third Party Only (TPO)—compensates other people for injuries or damage you cause to either them or their property. It’s the minimum level of vehicle insurance you can have by law in the UK.
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT)—includes TPO and will also cover costs if your van is stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive—includes TPFT and also compensates you if your van is damaged or destroyed in an accident (even if you cause the accident). This is the highest level of cover you can buy.

Does courier insurance cover the items in my van?

Crucially, no, it doesn’t. Courier insurance policies only allow you to use your van for the purpose of delivering items. It does not automatically cover the items you transport.

If you also want to cover the goods you deliver, you’ll need another type of policy called Goods in Transit (GiT) insurance. This is usually available as an optional extra so you’ll be able to add it to your courier insurance for a small increase in price.

Unlike carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward, GiT insurance is not a legal requirement. That said, it is a sensible addition to your courier insurance policy. Without it, you could be held responsible for items that are stolen or damaged in transit.

What other courier insurance features should I consider?

As well as Goods in Transit, insurers will offer a number of other optional features that can be added on, including:

Public liability insurance

This compensates members of the public in case of injury, or damage to property caused by you because of work. For example, if you were unpacking and left boxes on the pavement that someone tripped over.

Employers’ liability insurance

If you own your own courier business and employ other drivers, you must have employers’ liability by law. This covers costs if employees are injured while working.

There are a few instances where you might not need employers’ liability, for instance if you only employ close family members. If you don’t have cover (but need it) you can be fined £2,500 for every day you’ve gone without it. Full guidance can be found at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Breakdown and recovery insurance

Provides roadside assistance in case your van breaks down.

If your van can’t be repaired at the side of the road, some insurers will also arrange an alternative vehicle for you, enabling you to carry on working.

Courtesy van insurance

Supplies you with another vehicle if your van is being repaired after an accident. This can be particularly beneficial if your van is suddenly out of action for a while.

Legal expenses insurance

This pays for professional advice if you want to take someone to court or if you need to defend yourself against a claim.

It usually costs around £30-£40 but could cover costs up to £100,000 so it’s well worth considering if it isn’t already included in your policy.

Personal possessions insurance

Insures your own belongings kept in your van—for example, sunglasses, a coat or your phone. Policies will cap the amount you can claim so check it’s enough to cover the cost of the items you usually carry around with you.

Does courier insurance come with any exclusions?

An exclusion is an event not covered by your insurance. Almost all policies have exclusions, as well as conditions that you’ll need to follow to avoid invalidating your policy.

Insurance providers are responsible for setting their own terms so don’t assume exclusions and conditions will all be the same. However, typical examples include:

  • Wear and tear—you’re unlikely to be compensated for parts that stop working because of age.
  • Negligence—you probably won’t be compensated if your van is stolen because doors were unlocked and the key was in the ignition.
  • Non-disclosure—this is when you don’t tell your insurer something they need to know about (such as points on your licence). If this happens, they can void your policy which means you won’t be covered.

How much does courier insurance cost?

The cost of your premium will be based on your circumstances and also what the chances of an accident are. To help them determine this, insurers will consider various factors such as:

  • Your age—younger drivers are at greater risk of an accident which can raise premiums.
  • The value of your van—expensive vans cost more to replace which is reflected in the cost of insurance.
  • The number of miles you cover—the chance of an accident increases the more miles you drive.
  • Where you park your van overnight—if you park your van on the street overnight, this increases the risk of theft and vandalism which will be reflected in your premium.

Compare courier insurance quotes

For many of us, price plays an important part in our decision making but when it comes to van insurance, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

Instead, consider all policies and weigh up overall value for money. Third Party Only cover might be the lowest level of cover you can have, but it isn’t necessarily the cheapest. Also, TPO policies might not give you the protection you need which means you might decide to add on extras. This can significantly increase premiums.

Surprisingly, comprehensive insurance often takes the top spot for cost as policyholders tend to make fewer claims. Comprehensive policies also often include a wider range of features compared to third party policies. With that in mind, the easiest and quickest way to find cover is to compare policies from different insurers—which you can do right here. To start your search, simply answer a few questions and our partners at QuoteZone will bring you a range of quotes that fit your needs.

Find van insurance today.
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  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on
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  • Buy online or by phone