Business Fleet Insurance – FAQs

From time to time, we like to share our responses to some of the FAQs we encounter here at Alan Blunden Insurance Brokers.

This time, we’re looking at business fleet insurance.

Is it always best to have a single fleet policy?

We’re never entirely comfortable with the word “always”!

Broadly speaking, yes, an integrated fleet insurance policy may be typically advantageous for a number of reasons. There might though, in some cases, be exceptions.

What we’d prefer to do is to discuss the details of your fleet with you and then we’ll be better positioned to advise further.

Can I cover drivers who have motoring endorsements?

Today these are more commonly called “penalty points” but yes, you typically can cover such drivers.

Of course, in some cases that might increase your premium. In certain cases, an insurer may decline to cover drivers who have certain severe categories of conviction on their licence.

Will my insurance cover me for vehicles leaving the UK?

Such cover is usually available without problem and some fleet insurance policies might include it as standard.

That assumes that we’re speaking of EU countries or those Western European countries that although not members, are closely affiliated to the EU – such as Norway and Switzerland. If you’re planning to go further afield, such as the Middle East or Russia, special additional cover may be required.

Note that it may be more difficult to obtain cover for certain countries designed as being war zones or where the security situation is considered highly dangerous/unstable.

Is there a maximum number of vans I can insure?

No.

With vans accounting for more than a fifth of all traffic on UK roads, there is little doubt that many will be fleet vans and some fleets may run into hundreds of such vehicles.

This shouldn’t be a problem for you.

Can I get discounts?

Potentially yes.

Insurers like to see evidence that the policyholder is behaving responsibly and doing all they can to reduce the risks of theft and accidents etc. They might offer incentives, in the form of reduced premiums, for such behaviours.

Examples might include the use of additional security devices, secure and patrolled overnight parking arrangements etc.

In some cases, you might also be able to see reduced premiums if you opt for a higher excess.

What exactly is the “excess”?

This is an amount of money that you agree to pay as the first part of any future successful claim.

So, if you have a claim of £400 and there is a £100 excess, the amount you’d receive upon settlement would be £300.

Insurance providers use this to avoid lot of very small claims, thereby keeping their costs and premiums down.

A certain minimum excess is typically mandatory on an insurance policy of almost all types. Sometimes though, the policy provider might offer you the option to select a higher excess and in return, you’ll benefit from a lower premium.

In this case, you do need to make sure that any higher excess amount will be affordable to you in the event of a claim.

Do I have to insure leased vehicles?

Certainly a leased vehicle will need to be insured by someone – at least to the minimum legally required levels of third party liability.

It’s very difficult to generalise here because there are now so many different options and types of leasing available. In general terms, the leasing company’s price typically won’t include insurance though they may be keen to offer it to you as an optional extra.

It is possible to obtain fleet insurance if you your fleet consists in whole or in part of leased vehicles. You will though need to make sure that this is clearly highlighted to us in advance.

As you are looking for business fleet insurance?

Business fleet insurance might typically be a lot more cost-effective than insuring your vehicles individually.

Vans now account for more than a fifth of all traffic on UK roads, so it’s fairly likely that many of them will be fleet vans and that means there are lots of business fleet insurance policies out there.

We at Alan Blunden Insurance Brokers would like to suggest a few points you might want to consider if you’re looking around.

Price

True, there’s nothing we can say that’ll convince you that price isn’t important but we do recommend that you keep it in perspective.

Like many things in life, low-cost offerings aren’t always what they seem. You just can’t tell what a policy will offer you based upon its price alone.

As we’ve said many times before, in the event you need to make a claim, you won’t be the slightest bit interested in how much your policy cost you but only in what it covers. It is therefore advisable to think a little like that at the outset when searching for business fleet insurance.

Mileage

Estimating your annual mileage accurately in advance can be very difficult.

Suddenly “upping” your mileage estimates based on the year to date, can result in hefty premium increases. As a general rule, it might be sensible to look for policies that offer unlimited mileage provisions.

All vehicles

Needing to insure your cars under one business fleet insurance policy and your goods vehicles under another can be something of a nuisance.

We can typically provide an “all vehicle” policy.

Weight restrictions

Strange as it may seem, not all insurers necessarily mean the same thing when they’re talking about “HGVs”, “LGVs”, “Vans”, “Goods Carrying Vehicles”, “Trucks” and so on.

However, typically they do link their policy or segments of its cover, to specific maximum un-laden weights. That means you might see cover quoted as being applicable “up to vehicles of 7.5tonnes”.

This isn’t a problem in itself but it’s worth being sure that any such maximum weight restrictions will actually mean your fleet is entirely covered. Note that some policies might also differentiate by maximum vehicle length, detachable tractor/trailer units and so on.

You do need to read your policy carefully or seek the help of someone like us to do so for and with you.

Secure locations

Some policies may have very demanding overnight parking conditions you’ll need to comply with if your vehicles are to be covered when not in use.

Once again, this is perfectly legitimate but do be sure that the policy doesn’t stipulate things that you will have difficulty in complying with. An example might be the requirement for vehicles to be garaged overnight which might be fine if you have a large warehouse but a real challenge if you don’t.

On a related issue, do be very careful about making sure your evening and weekend use of your vehicles is covered. Some fleet insurance may cover use only if it’s strictly related to the conduct of your business.

That means letting a colleague use a van over the weekend to transport some material of their own to the local tip might be uncovered use – a serious risk for you and the user concerned. If you do wish such flexibility, be sure you have business and personal/recreational use included.