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A Guide To Recovery Truck 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
from the MultiQuoteTime Editorial Team - Fact checked

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March 2024

Recovery Truck Insurance is a motor trade insurance policy geared primarily in providing financial protection for those who provide a roadside recovery service. This can include vehicles that have broken down or have been involved in a road accident.  To operate this type of service, you need a form of motor trade insurance. This type of cover is aimed at covering both the recovery vehicle and the vehicles that you will be recovering.

This type of service will often employ a fleet of recovery vehicles that can include trucks, vans, 3.5 tonne plus trucks and tow trucks. If you have a fleet of recovery vehicles, then the vehicles can be insured as a fleet, which should work out cheaper.

The first step in researching the cost is to get multiple quotes from a range of brokers. MultiQuoteTime works in partnership with Quotezone who provide a simple form which once completed is submitted to a specialist panel of brokers. Members of the select panel will be in contact via the telephone to provide you with tailored quotes.

Recovery Vehicles

Several definitions are used to classify vehicles that are used for recovery, as detailed below.

  • Breakdown vehicles
  • Recovery vehicles
  • Specialised recovery vehicles
  • Road recovery vehicles
  • Sliding Platform Recovery Truck or slide on truck

What licence Type Do You Need To Operate A Recovery Truck?

A  licence with category "C" is sufficient to drive a recovery truck under 3,500 kg, for vehicles above this weight a "C+E" will be required

Recovery Trucks Provide A Breakdown Recovery Service 

Recovery truck drivers provide a breakdown recovery service to motorists that have a breakdown whilst in transit. Depending on the type of road risk insurance, it may even cover a roadside flat tire. If you have a road assist policy, please refer directly to it for details of inclusions and exclusions. For example, some policies limit the number of callouts over a fixed time period. For those that have multiple cars registered at the one address, then multi car breakdown cover may be better suited to your requirements. 

What Is Recovery Truck Insurance?

Recovery truck insurance is a cover that is required by UK law to legally operate on public roads. Just like all other motorised vehicle insurance, there are three different levels of cover that can be obtained. This includes;

Comprehensive insurance cover provides the most cover, protecting you, your car, and others in the event of an accident.

  • Third Party : The minimum coverage allowed by UK law is Third Party insurance. This covers the cost of the other vehicle and medical bills when you are at fault in an accident.
  • Third party fire and theft : has the same coverage as the standard Third Party plus protection if your vehicle is damaged by a fire or is stolen through no fault of your own.
  • Comprehensive insurance This policy provides the most cover, providing protection for you, your car and other third parties in an event of an accident. 

Typical Insurance Exclusions Include:

  • Wear and Tear : No insurance policy will cover normal wear and tear that occurs over time and usage.
  • Keys : Lost keys are normally not covered, but you can take out a key protection cover to cover the costs of being locked out and the cost of new keys.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs  This will not only invalidate your cover, but make it difficult to get cover in the future.
  • Driver not on policy: The driver must be named on the policy, unless you operate under an any driver van policy. Again, under any driver terms, all drivers must adhere to any given limitations. A typical limitation is all drivers must be over 25.

What Is Vehicle Transporter Insurance?

If you are not in the motor trade, but transport vehicles, then you will need vehicle transporter insurance along with goods in transit cover. The goods in transit will cover the vehicles that you are transporting. The quote system will provide quotes for both the motor trade and those that simply transport vehicles.

Do You Have More Than One Recovery Truck?

Many businesses have a primary focus of recovering cars that have been involved in accidents or are broken down on the road. For many of these businesses, they have more than one recovery truck.  If your business falls into this category you can also choose a fleet van insurance policy, a fleet policy will enable you to manage your insurance under one policy instead of multiple individual polices.

The businesses with multiple recovery trucks might also want the policy written so that any authorised employee can operate the transporter instead of designating one primary driver. This allows for multiple operators to use the same towing truck and still be covered.

What Additional Options Can Be Added In A Motor Trade Recovery Policy?

To keep a car transporter operational, the equipment in the back that makes it possible to attach and lift the disabled vehicles must be in proper working order. To protect this equipment there is an add-on to a recovery truck insurance policy called ‘tools, machinery and equipment’. This add-on will provide cover the cost of repairs and replacement if this equipment is damaged.

How Much Is Vehicle Recovery Business Insurance?

Every recovery business will have a different set of requirements based on types and numbers of tow trucks in the recovery fleet. As a result, giving an average costs for recovery operator insurance is not possible. The key factors that will determine the final premium include:

  • The size of your business in terms of number of towing trucks and drivers
  • Business location, some locations attract a higher premium if deemed to be in a higher crime risk location
  • The number of staff, drivers and admin staff
  • The type and level of cover that you choose.
  • Additional add-ons, example legal cover

How To Save On Recovery Insurance

Recovery truck insurance is more expensive than standard truck insurance, but you can lower the premium by taking some simple steps, as detailed below. Some policies will provide a replacement van if your van needs to be repaired. If this is not included then you will need to hire a  replacement truck for the period, if the accident was not your fault this can be claimed back. Please note, if you do hire a van, the van rental excess amount can be excessive. This can be covered by taking out separate van excess insurance. This cover will provide protection for damaged and theft and some polices will include van key cover and even using the wrong fuel. 

  • Some brokers will offer discounts for operators of a recovery truck that have a low number of annual miles .
  • No claim discounts (NCB). Keep a good history and only employee drivers with a good history. 
  • The presence of dash cams that create evidence when an accident occurs.
  • Paying for the entire policy on an annual basis instead of monthly payments.
  • Make sure drivers are 25 or over and hold a clean driving history and if possible select named drivers only. 
  • Increasing the excess amount. This is the amount that you would be liable for if you caused an accident. If you speak with your broker about accepting more risk (increasing the excess) they will normally adjust your premium accordingly. 
  • Security: Invest in improving security. Examples include installation of CCTV,  secure gates, tracking and immobilizer devices. 
  • With some brokers, it is possible to transfer your personal no claim's bonus to your traders policy. This can apply to both full time and part time motor trader insurance.

Yes, the building and its contents can be included in the motor trade recovery truck insurance policy. This type of cover can help protect the business if there is a fire or other event that would cause damage to the property that might hinder the business’s ability to operate.

Start Comparing The Cost Of UK Recovery Truck Insurance Today

Finding the right policy can take time and normally involves checking multiple options over a range of brokers. We work in partnership with Quotezone who will forward your details onto specialist recovery vehicle insurance brokers, who in turn will provide you with multiple quote options. To get started, selecting the Get A Quote button below

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Recovery Truck FAQ's


do i need an operators licence for a recovery truck?

If you transport vehicles outside the scope or definition of recovery, then you will need an operator's licence. The next question is what is the definition of recovery, for an answer to that question we would like to refer you to the guidance provided by gov.uk. If the vehicle is within the scope of a recovery vehicle, you will be exempt from requiring an operator's licence.

what insurance do i need for recovery truck?

This will depend on intended usage. If you are working in the motor trade, then a motor trade  insurance policy will cover the transporter and the vehicle that you are recovering. If you are a transporter of vehicles only, then you will need insurance to cover your own vehicle transporter insurance policy and a separate good in transit policy to cover the vehicles being transported. 

Does My Car Insurance Provide Cover Vehicle Recovery?

Car insurance does not include cover for vehicle recovery, you will need a separate breakdown coverage.

Can the building, that the recovery trucks operate out of, be included in the policy?

Yes, the building and its contents can be included in the motor trade recovery truck insurance policy. This type of cover can help protect the business if there is a fire or other event that would cause damage to the property that might hinder the business’s ability to operate.

What Is A Cover Note

cover note can be issued to provide immediate cover whilst the full documentation is being processed. A cover note will only last for 30 days, but by that time you should be in receipt of the full copy of your policy. 

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