Taxi insurance regulations clearly distinguish between different types of taxi businesses being operated, with public hire insurance needed for black cabs and private hire insurance for PHVs.
For a self-employed driver who runs their own car, the differences are straightforward, and each driver must ensure their own vehicle is covered for the type of taxi work they will be doing.
But there are different options available to taxi operators that own several vehicles – which they are responsible for insuring – and the drivers they recruit.
Fleet Insurance cover
Operators that own several vehicles often choose to take out taxi fleet insurance in a bid to cut costs and reduce paperwork so that any of their licensed taxi drivers can drive any of their vehicles at any time.
Taxi fleet insurance is usually offered for operators with three or more vehicles used as public hire or private hire taxis. This saves time and money because as long as a taxi driver has the valid licenses in place and is within the insurers acceptance criteria, they are covered to drive any vehicle in the fleet without having to wait and pay to be added to a policy for a specific vehicle or for a specific period.
This helps operations run more smoothly, especially for taxi bases that provide a 24-hour service or operate a shift system, because all available drivers are free to drive any available vehicle.
Taxi fleet insurance also provides flexibility so that in the event of a car being off the road after an accident or for scheduled maintenance, taxi drivers are fully covered to take out another available car listed on the fleet policy without any hassle or delay.
Reduce Taxi Fleet Insurance costs
Another advantage of taxi fleet insurance is that it can reduce taxi insurance costs and save administrative time by insuring all vehicles and drivers together on a single policy.
In order to qualify for cover under a taxi fleet insurance policy, a driver must be recognised as an employee of a taxi operator. This means they can be a full-time employee or, more likely, are self-employed but are working for a particular base.
The level of fleet insurance premium a taxi operator will pay is largely determined by their claims history. As with public hire insurance and private hire insurance for individual taxi drivers, taxi insurers take into account previous claims and convictions, as well as a clean driving history, to determine the premiums.
When it comes to convictions, some insurers will only offer fleet cover for drivers with no more than six penalty points on their licence.
Other factors that are taken into account are the location the vehicles will be operated in, and the types of vehicles being used.
Many will also require that a driver has held a full UK licence for a minimum number of years, as well as a minimum requirement for the length of time they have held their taxi badge.
The age of the drivers is also taken into account and while different insurers have their own minimum age restrictions, an employee must usually be 21 or 25 to be covered on a taxi fleet insurance policy, and usually up to 70 or 74. The typical age brackets cover any employee aged 25 to 70, 25 to 74 or 30 to 74.
Anyone who falls outside the restrictions, either because of their age or driving record, would have to insured as a named driver.
As with other types of taxi insurance, when taking out taxi fleet insurance, it is worth using taxi insurance brokers who will be able to find the right cover for the best price.
Information correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.