If your business is reliant on multiple vehicles, arranging insurance can be a challenge. Fleet insurance could be the answer.
What is fleet insurance?
It’s a legal requirement to insure your vehicle. This can be a nightmare if you’re a business owner with multiple vehicles as you may have to juggle different insurance policies.
There is an easier way of insuring though.
Fleet insurance covers a fleet of vehicles. These can be registered in the name of a company, a partner or director of the company, allowing one policy to cover your whole business.
In the long run this will save the headache when trying to renew, and could end up saving you money on your van insurance.
How many vehicles count as a fleet?
The amount of vehicles that insurers class as a fleet varies between companies. But most will set out a minimum and maximum.
Generally the minimum amount is two, although only specialists tend to cover this amount. The maximum can be in the thousands.
What vehicles will be covered by fleet insurance?
Again, this is set out by your insurer as not all fleet insurance policies are the same. But many will be flexible with the sorts of vehicle they cover.
A variety of business uses are covered, including haulage, private hire, courier and other transportation purposes.
You can also cover a mixture of vehicles although, if an insurer has an 'any vehicle' policy, it’s worth checking what specific vehicles are covered. Occasionally vehicles like motorbikes, forklift trucks and excavators can be excluded.
Taxi firms are a little different, as they would need either public or private cover.
What are the pros of fleet insurance?
With only one renewal date, one of the main pros is that you’ll save time on admin. A business may also get a discount as you’re bulk buying from a single supplier.
There’s also the opportunity to insure all drivers on every vehicle with what’s known as an 'any driver' policy. This means that drivers will have access to all vehicles, which saves them waiting around for a certain vehicle to be free.
What are the cons of fleet insurance?
The premiums of all vehicles could be affected if one driver is particularly accident-prone. But the odd bump shouldn’t affect your premium too much.
If you do have a particularly accident-prone driver however, it’s probably worth putting them on a separate policy.
Often with fleets, vehicles come and go. If you don’t update your policy and you need to make a claim, it could be invalid.
Types of cover
In terms of types of cover, the options are similar to standard car insurance.
Third party is the legal minimum amount of cover. This policy helps to protect other people if an accident was yours or one of your driver’s fault.
What isn’t covered is damage to your own vehicles or any injuries you may suffer.
Comprehensive will cover any damage to your own vehicles.
Cutting the cost
When it comes to cutting the cost of premiums and getting cheaper van insurance, it’s all about reducing risk.
Electric or hybrid vehicles may reduce premiums. The engines on these vehicles generally have less power than regular vehicles which can mean they’re considered safer by insurers. Their CO2 emissions are lower too.
Employ drivers with clean records that are over the age of 25 as premiums are lower. Having a younger driver is sometimes unavoidable. Limiting their mileage, only allowing them to drive in the day time or accompanied could help to reduce costs.
Sending your drivers on a training course will make them aware of hazards and will iron out any potentially unsafe habits. These courses will help improve aspects of driving like fuel efficiency, driving in bad weather conditions and hazard perception.
Regular maintenance is important for any vehicle. Encouraging daily checks on tyre pressures, oil, brake pads and keeping a regular service record will keep your vehicles in good condition.
Another option is making drivers responsible for paying their own excess. This would encourage safe driving. You could also incentivise this by introducing a bonus for your staff if they don’t make a claim.
Providing security options for your vehicles overnight, like a CCTV monitored car park, or locked garages could decrease your insurance costs. Immobilizers inside the vehicle will also help, even if the initial outlay is expensive.
Technology in the vehicle could be beneficial when it comes to reducing your premiums. A telematics device, also known as a black box, can assess each individual driver to see how safely they drive and adjust their premiums accordingly.
Dashboard cameras (dashcams) are also a useful tool, as they record everything that happens on the road. These can be fitted in the front and back of the vehicle, and are great for providing evidence if there is an accident.