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Private Hire Insurance

The private hire insurance is a specialty type of cover to financially protect those that take third party clients to their destination as a hire for reward type of service. This hire for reward taxi service is not for operators of the black cabs or others that can be called over from the curb, but for operators that have pre-booked clients or part of a shuttle service where clients can call for their services online or over the phone.

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Who is required to have private hire insurance?

Those operators of any hire for reward vehicles that can’t be called from the curb are required by law to have private hire insurance(or PHV insurance). This includes operators of private chauffeur companies and on call taxis along with Uber and other rideshare services. Because Uber was instrumental in starting this disruptive private hire booking service the cover is often referred to as taxi insurance for Uber drivers.

What is different from regular vehicle insurance and private hire insurance?

It is true that all of the content in the standard vehicle insurance is also present in a private hire insurance policy, but it is the classification that differs were private hire insurance is a commercial vehicle insurance policy.

Since every private hire operator is different than the next one, each private hire insurance is tailored made to meet their specific needs, budget and requirements.

What is required by law for private hire insurance to contain?

Commercial vehicle comprehensive or third party only vehicle cover is required by UK law.

This area of cover is called road risk. This is cover when the vehicle is involved in an accident. When you are at fault only the other vehicle is covered with third party. With comprehensive, both vehicles are covered along with the passenger's possessions independent of who is at fault.

What is optional for a PHV insurance policy?

There are three main areas of additional cover a private hire operator can have to help ensure their business can remain operational independent of the obstacles that are encountered. These three items of optional cover include breakdown assistance, public liability and fleet covers. Each of them has multiple layers of cover so the private hire operator can have the coverage they need that fits their budget.

  • Breakdown cover for all levels of coverage will include having a mechanic attend to your vehicle on the road when it can no longer move forward. The towing of the vehicle has several different levels of cover to choose from as does the onward travel for the operator and their passengers.
  • Public liability is the cover to add if you were only going to add one of the optional covers to your private hire insurance policy. This is protection against a lawsuit by a member of the public who files a claim against you or your service. Without this cover, you will be personally responsible for all legal fees and settlement if the claim against you is found to be valid.
  • Fleet insurance is a very good way to lower the costs of the vehicles a business operates when they have 2 or more being used as private hire for reward service. Nearly all insurance firms provide a discount for adding vehicles to a policy once one is covered by them with vehicle insurance.

What determines the cost of private hire insurance?

The determination of the cost for PHV insurance is similar to all other forms of vehicle insurance. The main focus is the operator and their history of driving on the road and how they use their insurance policies in the past.

The driving records include involvement with accidents, both the drivers fault and when just a victim. Also included are the number of road violation summons issued to the driver. The more activity in these areas, the higher the insurance premiums will be.

The criminal record of the operator also influences the cost of the insurance premium. This includes both drink driving offenses and felonies. When they are present the cost of the premiums goes way up.

The vehicle value and its maintenance records also play a part in determining the cost of the insurance premium. The vehicles with the highest risks are new vehicles and old vehicles that have been maintained poorly.

While there is no ideal vehicle, one that is about 5 years of age with a good maintenance record is a good choice to help control the cost of the policy.

How can the cost of private hire insurance be lowered?

  • An easy way to lower the cost of your private hire insurance premium is to pay it annually. When payments are made, there is interest that is incurred on the unpaid balance each month.
  • Having a black box and or a dashcam installed in the vehicle is a positive way to prove the operator is driving safely and within the law.
  • The security of the location where the vehicle is parked when not in use is also a factor in the cost of the premium. When this location is in a locked facility like a shed or garage, the insurance firms will look at it favorably.

Should you get multiple quotes?

The only possible way to compare the different private hire insurance is to request multiple quotes. The quotes can be to several different insurance brokers or you can submit different criteria to the same broker. The difference in the criteria can be the focus on price for one, coverage for the next and a balance of the two for the third one.

With multiple quotes you will be able to look at all three and see which one offers the best value for the costs you will be paying for in the policy.

Optional coverage that should be highly considered is public liability. This is protection that pays for itself when the first claim is made against you or your service whether the claim is factual or false.

The breakdown cover is another one that pays for itself even if only used once a year. Not only will aid be sent to assist you with the problem, but your clients can be taken to their destination which will keep your reputation as a reliable driver intact.

PHV insurance is a requirement by the UK government for anyone that can be called to take a client to their destination as a hire for reward service. Having the correct level of cover can be a determining factor in how long your business may be profitable.

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