Car insurance is one thing, but private hire and public hire insurance are different things altogether. Without these types of insurance, you simply cannot work in the private hire business – but the different terms and types of insurance can be confusing.

Which is why we’ve provided you with a short summary of what you need to know, and what steps you need to take to become a legitimate driver. You’ll be kick-starting your business in no time!

Firstly… what is Private Hire?

Just in case you’re still not sure what we mean by private hire, it’s when passengers book trips in advance; with the destination having been informed early, a simple solution to our busy lifestyles is now available.

Why do you need Private Hire Insurance?

It’s a legal requirement for starters! It’s an essential part of protecting your livelihood, helping you deal with insurance claims quickly and getting you back on the road as a result.
An extra word of advice: standard private car insurance, public hire insurance and private hire insurance are all different types, so you need to know which ones are crucial to your vehicle or fleet.

Private Hire Insurance or Minicab Insurance?

A minicab is how the Public Carriage Office – or PCO for short – refer to private hire vehicles in London/southern England. In that sense, there’s no real difference between a minicab and a private hire vehicle; they both require private hire insurance cover.

What are the Three Levels of Private Hire Insurance Cover?

You can break them down into the following:

Third Party Only (TPO)

The standard cover. Should you be in an accident, any damage caused or compensation due to another party (i.e. the third party) will be covered.
If you’re the policy holder, you’re responsible for any damage brought to your own vehicle, alongside any compensation your driver is due.

Third Party Fire and Theft (TPF&T)

Is like TPO but provides extra protection – as the name suggests, it covers any damage caused by fire or thieves!

Comprehensive Insurance

Covers the above, including any damage done to your vehicle.

Insurance for a Fleet

A fleet of vehicles can be insurance under a special private hire insurance policy, which not only saves you time and money, but gives you the freedom to use any driver.
The average amount of vehicles needed to become a fleet ranges around five; vehicles don’t have to the same type, and there can be different levels of cover for each vehicle.

What will my Insurer need to know?

Knowing the answers to the following will prove quite useful when applying for insurance:

  • Will you need TPO, TPF&T or Comprehensive?
  • Will you need specific policies, or an Any Driver policy?
  • Are there any local authority or contractual requirements which need considering (e.g. Public Liability Insurance)?
  • Are there any security features already fitted on your vehicle?
  • Have your drivers any relevant additional qualifications (e.g. Advanced Driving or DSA qualifications, NVQs)?
  • Do your drivers have any motoring convictions?
  • Do you know how much No Claims Discount (NCD) you have, or do you have your last 3 years’ Claims Experience summaries to hand?

We hope the above has been useful. Once you’ve got the right things in place, your work and business will be a lot less stressful and far more secure!

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