Taxi drivers often wear several hats to run their businesses – often literally and metaphorically.
As well as being safe drivers, they have to be in charge of marketing and public relations, as well as customer services and complaints. And that’s in addition to being on top of the day-to-day needs such as finances. So for someone who earns their living as a taxi driver, it might be tempting to expand their business into similar areas, such as driving wedding cars or providing chauffeur services.
As well as having the right vehicle, it is just as important to make sure the right insurance is in place so that the driver, passengers and vehicle are all fully covered.
Cabbies who are hailed by passengers in the street or from the taxi rank must have public hire insurance in order to pick up fares.
They need a distinct vehicle – often a London black cab or family-sized car liveried according to the licensing authority – that can cope with a variety of passengers and their needs, from short trips to and from the shops, to longer journeys such as airport runs. Many public hire cabs – such as the iconic London black cabs – are also wheelchair accessible so disabled passengers are not turned away.
Drivers of minicabs or PHVs cannot be hailed in the street or wait at taxi ranks for passengers. They must have private hire insurance and are only covered when a fare is booked in advance by phone, via an app or through a taxi booking office. They can use whatever vehicle they feel is appropriate for the type of work they are doing, although family-sized cars are the most practical and flexible. Drivers who deliver food and groceries may need additional cover.
Drivers who use their skills and knowledge to cater for VIPs and more upmarket events will need chauffeur insurance. They will still need to have a Private Hire badge, issued by their local licensing authority and a plate – the difference with the plate on a Chauffeur Vehicle is that some authorities will provide what is known as a restricted plate which does not need to be displayed on the outside of their vehicle in the same way as a standard Private Hire taxi.
Another difference is a Chauffeur driver will usually have a luxury car specifically for that purpose, such as a Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series. These vehicles usually cost upwards of £25,000.
Each Licensing Authority has its own individual rules and regulations when it comes to Chauffeur Driving therefore, we’d advise speaking directly to them if you’re considering becoming a Chauffeur Driver.
Wedding hire insurance
In some cases, Chauffeur insurance can include the ability to offer your services for wedding hire too but never the other way around. Wedding Hire Insurance is solely for wedding Hire purposes only.
As with chauffeur insurance, Wedding Hire Insurance is not a typical taxi insurance policy and specific cover is needed. Dedicated cars are also required to help make the day special for the happy couple. As well as luxury cars, vintage and classic cars are often used for the big day. Wedding hire cover is again cheaper than taxi insurance because the vehicles aren’t being used every day. But, with so much at stake, it is worth considering public liability insurance. The last thing a driver wants is to finish off the day with a huge bill after driving over the wedding photographer’s carelessly discarded camera bag.
It might also be worth taking out breakdown cover as older, classic cars which look great in photographs aren’t so appealing if they’ve broken down at the side of the road.
Taxi insurance brokers
Because of the scope of taxi insurance, taxi insurance brokers will help drivers get the right cover for their needs. Having invested so much in their business or adding a new service, it would be a disaster if they had to make a claim and discovered that they would be out of pocket because their insurance didn’t properly cover them.
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.