A beginner’s guide to fleet insurance

If you have three or more vehicles held in the name of your company, you might benefit from fleet insurance.

Let’s have a quick look at what that entails and why it might make sense in your context.

Individual vehicle versus fleet cover

You’re probably facing three options:

  • to insure each vehicle separately;
  • to cover them as sub-groups – i.e. having a collective policy for say the cars and a separate one for the goods vehicles;
  • to insure them as a collective whole on a single policy.

Whilst the first two options are perfectly feasible in a mechanical sense, the attractions of the third might seem intuitively obvious. Apart from anything else, it provides you with a single policy, a single annual renewal date and a single insurance provider to deal with.

That alone should provide a significant interest and motivation towards finding out more about fleet insurance.

Added advantages

There is another potentially very powerful incentive to look at fleet insurance policies – cost.

It’s always important not to get too obsessed with cost in terms of selecting insurance solutions because purchasing the cheapest policy you can possibly find doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about its suitability for your needs. Yet, most fleet managers or owners are under huge pressure to manage their costs downwards so the issue can’t be ignored.

Typically, you might anticipate fleet insurance policies to be cost-attractive and perhaps more so than individual policies. That’s because just as is the case in almost every business domain, the more you purchase from a single provider, the more you’d expect to see that volume rewarded by attractive and aggressive pricing.

Flexibility

You might be able to find fleet cover of this type that is available for mixed vehicle fleets and mixed usages. For example:

  • cars and goods vehicles covered;
  • cars covered for both business and private use purposes;
  • unlimited mileages;
  • cover for drivers of any age – providing, of course, that they hold a suitable licence qualification for the vehicle or vehicles concerned.

Special cases

If you find the right provider, fleet insurance can be very flexible as outlined above. However, there may be some exceptions where special cover may be required. They might include:

  • taxis and fleet vehicles operated for hire and reward (e.g. luxury limousine hire, coach transport and minicabs);
  • buses;
  • very high risk hazardous cargos;
  • international transport which leaves the European Union for final destinations like North Africa, the Middle East or Russia etc. An insurance provider will normally clarify which countries their standard international cover is valid for;
  • stunt vehicle fleets used for display and entertainment purposes.

In such situations and others like them, it may be possible to extend the standard cover or to take out a special policy for the risks concerned.

Reviews

Attractive as fleet insurance might be, you should always evaluate it against your specific needs – just as you would do with an individual vehicle policy.

An experienced provider of such cover such as ourselves at Alan Blunden Fleet Insurance will be happy to discuss your individual and unique business fleet position and provide further advice and guidance.

If you haven’t looked at this type of cover previously, now might be a good time to do so!

7 ways to save on your motor fleet insurance

At Alan Blunden Insurance Brokers, we know only too well how stressful the job of a fleet manager can be.

If you’re “in that chair” then you’re under pressure on a day to day basis. What we know from experience is that one of those pressures is the ever-increasing emphasis today on cost containment – including in the domain of motor fleet insurance.

We’re here to help! That’s why we’ve put together below, a few basic tips on how you might be able to save money on the same.

  1. Opt for an integrated fleet insurance policy

It may sound obvious to some but perhaps surprisingly, there remain fleets that are still insured on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. Some others are segmented and insured, such as having separate policies for the car, van and haulage fleets.

In practice, it’s typically more cost-effective to have a single integrated policy if an insurer offers such. It also simplifies your administrative life in areas such as renewals – and time wasted on unnecessary admin is money wasted.

  1. Examine any driver versus named driver policies

There isn’t necessarily a universal best approach here because a lot might depend upon how big your fleet is. In some situations, it might be more cost-effective to opt for a named driver approach but in others selecting an “any driver” option may be the most cost-effective solution.

In either scenario, remember that some categories of driver may push your costs up:

  • younger drivers (some policies might actually decline to cover them even if they have the appropriate licence qualifications);
  • inexperienced drivers – this is not always the same thing as a young driver;
  • drivers with serious motoring offence convictions.
  1. Revise overnight parking of your vehicles

Some fleet vehicles are simply left at the depot overnight. In other instances, vans, trucks and cars are left parked on nearby streets.

These practices are typically seen as higher risk by motor fleet insurance providers. If you can show that your vehicles are parked overnight in secure and supervised locations, you may see a commensurate reduction in your premium.

  1. Avoid hazardous cargos and goods

This is self-explanatory because typically, such carriage may require additional cover and that will typically push your costs up. In passing, carrying such goods will also subject your vehicles to additional regulations.

  1. Eliminate private use

Some companies allow their employees to use their company cars, vans and sometimes even trucks, for private purposes over weekends or at night.

While some motor fleet insurance policies might cover that as standard, others may increase their premium accordingly.

  1. Use security devices

Some policies might welcome, via incentives, the use of the latest security and anti-theft devices on your vehicles.

Examples might include tracking systems, alarms and immobilisers etc.

  1. Question outside UK cover

Some policies might include EU cover as standard though others won’t.

Having (and therefore paying for) cover for your vehicles outside of the UK might be fine but perhaps not if you never actually use them like that and have no plans to do so.

Summary

These are just a very few ideas we could discuss with you for saving money on your motor fleet insurance.

Why not contact us for a more in-depth discussion that’s relevant to your particular fleet insurance situation?

What is Fleet Insurance?

The question “what is fleet insurance?” is regularly heard by the team here at Alan Blunden & Co. It’s one we can easily deal with.

It is insurance designed to cover a “fleet” of vehicles, all under one policy.

What makes a fleet?

In theory, it’s possible to make a case for saying any number of vehicles greater than one is a fleet!

However, we typically consider that the term really starts with a minimum of three vehicles. There really isn’t any specific definition of what type of vehicles either – they might be cars, vans, trucks, HGVs and so on. The fleet can even be of mixed types.

It’s worth keeping in mind though that not all insurance providers work to the same definitions. Some might consider that a fleet only starts with five or more vehicles. Others may have conceptual troubles with mixed fleets of trucks and cars etc.

We’re very flexible in terms of such definitions and can typically provide a fleet insurance policy to match.

Some exceptions

There are some types of fleet that are typically regarded as being in a separate category. We can’t offer fleet insurance for fleets comprising:

  • taxis;
  • courier services bikes and vehicles;
  • chauffeur-driven cars for hire;
  • family vehicles (i.e. several vehicles used by a single family).

If you’d like to know more about these exclusions, we’ll gladly supply further information upon request.

Why fleet insurance typically makes sense

If you wish, it’s perfectly possible to take out individual driver and vehicle cover for each vehicle in your fleet.

Of course, that’s going to mean that in a fleet of say 10 vehicles, you’ll have 10 different policies. Each may well have its own renewal date and if they’re spread across several different insurance providers, your admin overhead is likely to be significant.

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 it’s difficult to imagine the extra paperwork and administrative overhead if each one had its own individual and unique insurance policy!

Administrative convenience isn’t the only issue though.

In typical circumstances, there are also good financial reasons why this type of policy makes sense. These can be explained in a lot of accounting and commercial detail but the bottom line is simple – it’s often possible, in almost any aspect of life, to secure a more advantageous unit price if you’re buying in bulk. That’s typically as true within the domain of commercial fleet insurance as it would be elsewhere.

So, given the financial pressures applying to many fleet managers at the present time, this type of consolidated fleet policy will typically make a lot of financial sense.

What’s included in the policy

Almost inevitably, policies will differ in terms of the things that are or perhaps are not, included in the price. You should be considering variables such as:

  • windscreen damage/breakage;
  • accidental damage;
  • replacement vehicles; etc.

We will work with you to discuss all of your requirements in those areas but there are some important things we include as standard:

  • unlimited mileage;
  • cover for younger drivers (provided they have the appropriate licence qualifications of course).

Hopefully this has given you a flavour of our fleet insurance cover. Why not contact us to find out more?

Small Business Fleet Insurance Tips

Over our many years’ experience of offering fleet cover, we’ve given countless individual tips to our clients.

From time to time, we at Alan Blunden Insurance Brokers like to share these with a wider audience. So, here goes!

Think “fleet” – however small your business is

It’s surprising how often we encounter companies who think that fleet insurance won’t apply to them because they’re not big enough.

Well, you don’t need a cast of thousands to qualify for the benefits of fleet cover! In fact, our fleet insurance policies can start with as few as three vehicles. That might prove to be a significant financial advantage for you over taking out an individual policy for each of your three vehicles.

The bottom line is very simple here – just contact us and we’ll talk you through why this type of policy might be advantageous.

Don’t doze off at annual renewal time

We’ve all done it – just letting an insurance auto-renewal drift through because it doesn’t seem worthwhile thinking about it. It’s easy to start believing that you’ve got other things that are more pressing.

Now this is one of our most frequently offered tips but it remains valid – talk to us in the runup to your fleet cover renewal. We might well be able to bring to your attention that new products and deals are available on the market and that can only be beneficial to you.

Of course, if you’re already with us then we’ll do all this automatically for you.

Look closely at mileage allowances on policies

Some people have been unpleasantly surprised by the fact that their fleet cover imposes strict annual mileage limits.

This is unnecessary because our policies offer unlimited mileage as well as mixed cover for vans, trucks and cars etc.

So, read your policy carefully on this subject if you’d like to avoid future shocks – or better still, talk to us.

Manage your cost drivers

A few things can drive up your premiums, subject to the nature of your fleet policy.

Typically, they might include:

There are some other things in this domain too. We can highlight those to you and if you can address them or even just some of them, you may see your premiums fall.

Cover personal and business use in your policy – if appropriate

This is important because for some companies, it’s not always possible to clearly distinguish between commercial and personal use.

It’s worth being clear that if, for example, you allow your colleagues the use of a vehicle at weekends then that will typically constitute personal not business use. If they then have an accident and your policy stipulates commercial use only, then you may have a problem with your claim.

To avoid such issues arising, look for a policy that can provide integrated cover for both.

Talk to someone who knows fleet insurance inside-out

Fleet insurance cover isn’t something that an insurance provider can do “a bit of now and then” whilst still offering rounded and appropriate in-depth advice.

It’s highly advisable to seek an insurance provider who really knows the domain and has worked in it for many years.

OK, that sounds like us – and it is!

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!