Vehicle insurance is a legal requirement for all motorists in the UK, but many small and medium sized enterprises do not realise the value of van cover. Read on to learn why transport businesses need to think carefully about how they insure their vans and other fleet vehicles.
Under Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, all motorists, in fact, all vehicle owners or operators, are required to purchase motor insurance. Driving without sufficient insurance is illegal. Equally, driving without valid insurance may be illegal; for example, if fraudulent or inaccurate details were submitted to the insurer upon taking out an insurance policy. Purchasing suitable cover for transport vehicles, therefore, is essential, but what type of cover is most suitable?
Companies may require insurance for their vans for all sorts of reasons. One of the most common business uses for a van is to transport materials, merchandise or tools. The transportation of goods may be split into different categories for insurance purposes. Classification is important to provide business owners with sufficient insurance.
Some firms, for instance, use vans to store and move expensive tools. Landscape gardeners, joiners, builders and other trade people are often reluctant to move their tools from the van each night, only to have to load up again in the morning. Many insurers demand that no expensive items be stored in vans overnight, but the majority will offer reasonably good contents cover. This might only apply to items that are damaged or stolen from the van during normal working hours, however, so the extent of cover ought to be reviewed carefully.
The classification of business use is especially important when third parties are involved. Companies that deliver goods to customers or clients require special van insurance to cover a number of hazards. Goods may be damaged, lost or stolen in transit. Firms might have to shoulder the cost of replacements unless claims can be made against their insurance policies. On this note, if regular claims are expected, choosing an insurance company that does not heavily penalise firms for making multiple claims is obviously important. The point ought to be addressed to underwriters, who should be able to make exceptions for certain types of commercial customer.
Companies that deliver indoor and outdoor flooring products to domestic or commercial customers must also consider what type of motor insurance they need for their business. Obviously the choice of van is crucial, as large, heavy materials such as railway sleepers (for decking) and slate, limestone or travertine paving slabs can be extremely difficult to transport safely. Just as the choice of van needs to take into account maximum load, wheel turn and suspension, choosing an insurer must be based on what and how much is covered.
Insurance must also be considered from the perspective of maintaining a fleet. Small and medium sized businesses of a certain type typically require more than one or two vans. Maintenance is a costly but necessary expense, whilst choosing the wrong level of cover can prove disastrous. Vans must be insured against theft, fire and accidental damage, but they should also be covered in the event of vehicle failure. The breakdown cover element of most commercial policies should ensure that delivery vans spend more time on the road than in a lay-by.
Genelia Lopez writes about van insurance for a number of websites and blogs. Formerly a logistics specialist for a large landscaping and flooring firm, Genelia understands the importance of buying the right insurance for the job.