Why cheapest isn’t always best when it comes to private hire insurance

When paying for any type of product or service, everyone wants to get a great deal. Although, it is common knowledge that if you want a higher quality product or service, you will be expected to pay extra for it. This is no different when it comes to insurance for private hire taxis. Drivers will ideally want a fully comprehensive policy to cover them for as many potential incidents as possible. Afterall, as a private hire taxi driver, the last thing you want is a long and strenuous claims process.

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Getting back on the road with the right reassurances will be your top priority. For this reason, the cheapest private hire cover won’t necessarily be your best option. We explain why in the following guide.

The highest level of private hire insurance

If you want the highest level of cover available, you will need to choose a fully comprehensive private hire insurance policy. In comparison to a standard third party only policy, this will cover you for a lot more. Often, taxi drivers will find that these are the best value for money too.

You will have cover for any damage caused to another person, their vehicle or property. If your taxi is stolen or damaged by fire, this will also be covered. Furthermore, fully comprehensive private hire insurance also covers damage caused to your own taxi, even if you were at fault for the accident.

What sort of cover should I expect?

A fully comprehensive policy will include all of the accident and third party-liability cover that you can expect from any standard policy. Additionally, your whole taxi will be covered. This type of cover typically provides the following:

  • Personal injury caused by a road accident
  • Any damage caused to a third party, their vehicle or property
  • Any damage caused to your own taxi by a fire or accident
  • Theft or vandalism of your taxi

Normally, the following benefits will be included within a fully comprehensive private hire insurance policy. Although, in some instances these will need to be purchased as optional extras depending on the insurer:

Breakdown cover

Roadside assistance should your taxi break down before or during your journey. Many insurance companies will provide you with a temporary replacement vehicle while your taxi undergoes repairs.

Legal protection

This covers the costs of any legal expenses that arise from making a private hire insurance claim, or if a claim is pursued against you. As you will be transporting passengers on a regular basis, this will be of utmost importance. It is essentially a form of public liability cover.

Medical expenses

Covers the costs for any required medical treatment as a result of being involved in an accident. Another useful addition for any private hire driver.

What is not covered?

Although this insurance offers the highest level of cover, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is included. There are a number of exclusions you must be aware of before buying. These include the following:

  • Invalid driving license
  • Driving other taxis
  • Driving under the influence
  • Poor security
  • Wear and tear of the taxi
  • Wrong fuel cover

Similar to any other type of insurance policy, the specific inclusions, limitations and exclusions will ultimately depend on the provider. For this reason, it is really important that you read the terms and conditions before proceeding to ensure that you have sufficient cover in place before taking any passenger bookings.

Do I need fully comprehensive insurance?

Although it is a legal requirement to have cover before driving on UK roads, you don’t actually need a comprehensive level of cover. For some, a standard third party only policy will suffice. Even though this will be cheaper, the price doesn’t differ all that much. As a matter of fact, many private hire taxi drivers opt for the highest level of protection as they are spending countless hours on the road and travelling tens of thousands of miles each and every year.

A third party only policy will not cover the cost of repairing your own taxi should you be involved in an accident. Having a fully comprehensive policy in place gives taxi professionals the peace of mind that their valuable asset will be protect should the unexpected happen. The number of legal claims private hire drivers face from third parties is also much higher compared to that of a typical motorist.

Is it a lot more expensive?

This may seem unusual, but fully comprehensive cover doesn’t always cost that much more than a usual third party only policy. Figures show that drivers who are most at risk of being involved in an accident tend to opt for third party only policies. As they pursue more claims, this increases the base price.

Private hire drivers for this reason alone should compare comprehensive insurance and not automatically assume that extra cover will be more costly.

In conclusion, fully comprehensive private hire insurance shouldn’t cost much more than standard third party only cover. Taxi drivers will want adequate protection that meets their needs. Price is just one factor but professionals will find that customer service and the claims handling process are equally as important, if not more so.

Interesting related article: “How are car insurance rates calculated?”

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