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Guide to Cheap PCO Car Insurance

By Eamonn Turley
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Eamonn Turley Insurance Expert

Eamonn Turley has a wealth of experience within different insurance sectors. Through hard work and over time, he has gained expertise in digital marketing and user interface design. Elements that are crucial to any successful online business. The key aim is to develop websites that are intuitive, fast to load and provide insurance quotes tailored to your needs.


Expertise: Digital Marketing, Insurance, Home Insurance, Vehicle Insurance, UI Design
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July 2023

London taxi and people carrying insurance made through the public carriage office (PCO) covers metered cabs and taxis that have been licensed through the PCO, as well as gig economy private hire like Uber or Lyft. 

Most Uber and Lyft drivers will veer toward the standard private hire taxi insurance (PHV), which is cheaper and available to young adults at 23. 

Interestingly, a key difference between the two types of transport, is that the PCO drivers can be flagged down without booking, while a PHV must be pre-booked. This reflects in the increased cost of insurance for PCO vehicles. 

2022 Update on PCO Car Insurance Requirement

New TFL (Transport for London) have amended a regulation that gives a break to part time private hire drivers in London. Prior to the amendment, any PCO licence holder also needed hire and reward insurance for the whole period of their PCO licence. This was the case even if you were not using the car for private hire as you only worked part time or when you need extra earnings.  The TFL has now stated that private hire cars are no longer required to have insurance covering the passengers they transport for reward or hire for the whole term of their PCO licence.  At the moment and things could change, PCO  insurance is only required at the time of licencing and while the vehicle is being used as a PCO car.

Private hire Insurance London pay Monthly

Private hire Insurance London insurance can be bought monthly, quarterly, or annually and per month will cost you a little more than annually. Starting at around the region of £100 per month, compared to £1,000 per year, the difference is only slight and offers more flexibility. 

Average Private hire Insurance London Cost

An average comprehensive Private hire taxi Insurance London insurance policy for a standard vehicle will usually be between £1,500 and £3,000. 

To get a deal that’s less than the average, you’ll need to have lots of experience, a good no claims bonus, and no or few points on your licence. It’s also always worth checking out quotes from lots of different insurance companies to get the full picture and a fair price.

PCO Insurance Levels

Like taxi and private hire insurance, PCO insurance is available at three different levels, from basic third party to full comprehensive cover.

Third party

Third party cover provides the minimum level of cover required by law. This type of cover will only pay out to cover the repair or replacement of other peoples’ vehicles, damage to other people's property, including injury. This basic PCO cover does not even provide cover your own PCO taxi for fire or theft.

Third party Fire and Theft

This level of cover provides minimum third party cover, but will pay out for the repair of your own PCO vehicle if it’s damaged by fire or for the cost of replacement if it’s stolen.

Comprehensive

This level of cover includes all of the above but also, importantly, for any damage to your own taxi cab even if you were at fault. Fully comprehensive policies may also provide minimum third party coverage to a trailer or caravan being towed. 

London PCO taxi insurance: Ways to reduce your premiums

  • Regular Servicing : A vehicle that is looked after is less likely to develop issues that may lead to traffic ancient. Fewer accidents/claims against your PCO insurance policy will lead to lower insurance premiums
  • Switch insurance providers frequently: Gone are the days of loyalty, it is also advisable to check what new options are available in the marketplace a few weeks before renewal time. The list of specialist taxi insurance providers is growing with names like Acorn, Haven and Collingwood taxi insurance leading the way in providing cover for London cab drivers   
  • Taxi Vehicle Insurance Category : If you are currently driving a car in a high insurance category, consider swapping to a lower category
  • Get multiple taxi insurance quotes from specialist providers of taxi insurance
  • Increase your liability : Agree to a higher excess amount, but do remember this will be your responsibility should an accident occur, and you are found to be at fault.

How Many Passengers Can Travel In My Taxi If I Have PCO Insurance?

The insurance on a PCO cab doesn't restrict the number, but the number may affect the resulting premium.

A standard max capacity of passengers for a black cab in London is 8 not including the driver. This is the case with any private hire vehicle. Vehicles with 9 or more passenger seats are classed as public service vehicles (PSV), which require a different licence to drive. 

However, it’s noted that it is not illegal for a PCV driver to take a PSV to carry more passengers, so long as the party making the booking is made aware of the situation, the difference between a PSV and PCV driver and gives consent that the PCV driver will be adequate in lieu of a PSV driver. 

Accessibility

All black cabs in London must ensure that their vehicles have wheelchair access. If caught failing to give wheelchair users a ride, the fine can be £1,000 as well as a possible revoking of licence. 

The same attitude is shown toward those with assistance dogs; they must not be discriminated against and should be allowed to ride with no exception.

How Much Does a PCO Car Application Cost?

Getting a PCO licence can cost different amounts depending on the way that you go about it. The base cost of the application itself is £250 to TFL, however there are other boxes you have to tick, which always cost more. That includes a medical test, DBS check, a topographical test and an English test. 

All of this combined can cost up to £700, however if you have a recent DBS and an English GCSE, you should be able to get it sorted for considerably less. 

PCO Car Age Requirements

The restrictions on what cars can be put forward to be PCO licensed are surprisingly strict. The cars must be within 5 years of manufacture to be put forward initially, and after 10 years from manufacture the vehicle will lose its licence. 

As well as this, a vehicle has to meet EU standards for carbon emissions to be eligible. The current standard is Euro 6, which only accepts electric or the most fuel efficient petrol and diesel hybrid cars. The PCO standards will only be getting greener from this point. 

PCO Driver Meaning

As well as getting your car licenced with the PCO, a prospective cab driver will also need to get themselves a PCO licence. This makes them a PCO driver. They’ll be trained to navigate the roads, and certified as a minicab or taxi driver. 

This licence also allows them to work for various zero hour private hire companies such as Uber, Lyft, or Bolt. The majority of people paying the extra for PCO licences will be aiming to work independently or for a taxi or chauffeur company. 

If you live outside of London, you may be interested in private hire insurance for Uber drivers or Monthly taxi insurance to spread the cost of taxi insurance.

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