What you need when buying fleet insurance – FAQs

If you’re considering buying or getting a quote for fleet insurance, then the following FAQs and answers might prove to be useful.

Will I need full details on all vehicles and drivers to get a quotation?

Yes and no.

Most professional providers of fleet insurance solutions should be able to give you a broad-brush estimate for the cost of your fleet cover based upon a high-level overview from you. That might need to include how many vehicles and of what type.

Of course, they will require a certain minimum level of information to work with but it should be of the ‘in your head’ type.

However, in order to provide an exact policy proposition with final precise costings in due course, they will typically require more detailed information from you.

Do I need to offer details of previous claims?

Although your insurance provider may have access to their own sources for claim statistics, typically yes, you will be asked for the details of any claims made on your fleet policy within a specified period of time in the past.

Please don’t be tempted to ‘water-down’ any required declarations here. It may put your cover at risk and might be, in some circumstances, a reportable offence.

Is it possible to cover drivers with a history of motoring convictions?

Broadly speaking, yes, although you might have to accept the reality that such convictions would need to be declared and that might result in a higher premium.

Some insurance providers might decline to offer cover in cases where a given individual’s driving history was particularly bad. It’s difficult to generalise on this one – so please talk about the specifics to your fleet insurance provider.

When would I need to declare vehicle changes to the insurance provider?

Again, this is a very difficult one to give a specific answer to because in reality it just ‘depends’.

Clearly, some vehicle changes are so trivial and routine as to be of no direct interest to your insurance provider. For example, they probably won’t thank you for calling and notifying them every time you change a lucky charm in a cab or a phone number on the side of a van!

However, for example, if you’re changing an engine over or having major structural changes to the carrying capacity of a van then it will be worth informing your insurance provider.

On balance, it’s better to check with them anyway if in doubt – at least within reason!

I might or might not operate my vehicles in Europe. What do I do?

This should typically be no problem at all.

Some policies might automatically include cover for EU destinations (this is unlikely to change much post-BREXIT). On the other hand, many might not on the basis that there’s no point paying for cover you don’t need.

If you have a policy that is restricted to UK only and that’s fine by you today, then don’t worry if things change in the future. All you should need to do is to call your insurance provider and ask them to adjust the policy’s cover.

Make sure though this is done in advance. Calls to insurance companies along the lines of “I’ve just had a shunt in Rome – should I have taken out EU cover?” might cause alarm!

Is it possible to insure any type of car or goods vehicle on a fleet insurance policy?

Typically, yes but there might be some exceptions.

There may be very large variations here by policy and insurer but special arrangements might be required for:

  • low-loaders and other specialist outsize vehicles or those designed for carrying high-volume or overweight loads under ‘Convoi Exceptionnel’ auspices;
  • ex-military or vintage vehicles (e.g. steam-powered lorries);
  • certain types of public transport vehicles;
  • very high performance cars;
  • goods vehicles designed for the carriage of dangerous goods (and assuming they’re being used for that purpose) including radioactive materials, explosives, inflammables, bio-hazard and corrosives etc.

It is still typically possible to obtain cover for these types of vehicles but they may, in some cases, not come under a standard fleet car or truck policy. Your insurance provider should be able to advise further.

Commercial fleet insurance – FAQs

As all fleet managers know, running a commercial fleet can’t be described as being “easy”!

Here are some of the FAQs we regularly receive on this subject.

Do you offer fleet management insurance?

That’s easy – ‘yes’! Whether you have a large fleet or just three vehicles, we can find you cost-effective, comprehensive cover for your business cars and vans.

Can you find us cheap fleet insurance?

We’d strongly recommend that you approach this from the viewpoint of looking for suitable cover for your business fleet needs rather than just the cheapest policy on the market.

While we really do understand the cost-containment pressures associated with fleet management today, we can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to have suitable and cost-effective cover rather than just ‘cheap’.

Surely all fleet insurance only varies in terms of the price?

No, that’s typically not the case.

Policies can vary hugely and some may be far more suitable for one type of fleet operation than another. There isn’t space here to go into huge amounts of detail but suffice it to say, this is where Alan Blunden Insurance Brokers operate.

You don’t need to turn yourself into an insurance expert. Equally, you won’t want to start exploring those things your policy doesn’t cover only once you’re trying to make a claim!

We will analyse and match your business and commercial fleet insurance requirements against a range of options and then make recommendations relating to suitable policies. That’s our core business.

Isn’t it cheaper to do things vehicle by vehicle?

Typically, no, it isn’t and you might be missing opportunities in trying to do so.

There are two main areas you might benefit via savings if thinking about fleet versus individual vehicle policies:

  • economies of scale. It’s often more cost-effective to insure several vehicles on a fleet policy rather than individually because you’re maximising your purchasing power with a single insurer;
  • the administration overhead for you is likely to be easier. You have one policy to pay attention to and one insurance provider to manage a relationship with. It’s a lot easier than have a filing cabinet full of policy details and different renewal dates/insurers’ details!

What is the ‘excess’ mentioned on some policy advertisements? 

Almost all insurance policies, irrespective of their nature, carry what’s called ‘excess’. Sometimes that’s also described by some as the “first part of any claim”. This isn’t just an issue for fleet insurance – you’ll typically see the same thing on say household policies.

What it means is that it’s a sum of money that the policyholder will be expected to pay towards the cost of any future claim. This is sometimes best illustrated with some figures by way of example.

Let’s assume the excess is mandatory and set at £500:

  • if your claim value is £450, you’ll have to pay it all and the insurer will contribute nothing;
  • if your claim value is say £900, you will pay £500 of it and the insurer will pay £400.

Why does the excess exist?

Typically, most vehicle accidents are very minor and result in what might be called low-value damage. The excess is the insurance industry’s way of trying to keep a multitude of small claims ‘off the books’ for three reasons:

  • to reduce the overall claims values per annum, thereby helping them to keep premiums down;
  • to avoid hugely increasing their administrative overhead with tiny claims (thereby also keeping their costs and your premiums down);

In fact, you may be able to reduce your premium further by electing to accept a higher excess on your policy!