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Running a fleet of taxis can be stressful -- most taxi firms are open 365 days a year, seven days a week -- there's no let up, it's go go go! With your mind on your business, it's unlikely you'll have a lot of time to think about taxi fleet insurance.
However, whether you operate a private hire or a public hire taxi firm, they both have one thing in common -- you need motor insurance for these vehicles so they can be legally driven on British roads. Specifically, as you're ferrying passengers for money, you'll need taxi insurance and, as you have a lot of taxis you'll want taxi fleet insurance.
What are the benefits of taxi fleet cover?
Whilst it depends on the specific broker as to what number of vehicles constitutes a fleet (some say two or more, others say five plus), one thing is for sure; it's a lot easier to have one insurance policy that covers all your vehicles, rather than an individual policy for each car. Ultimately, a taxi fleet policy is a good way to cut out the stress of managing individual policies.
Is there anything I should look out for when choosing a policy?
The cost of your taxi fleet policy will depend on various factors. The most obvious being the type of vehicles you wish to insure. If you're operating a large public or private hire fleet it's likely you will want a multi-vehicle policy -- you may use a minibus to pick up large groups of passengers, whilst standard A to B journeys are covered with saloons and MPVs. Of course, if you're running a fleet for purely public hire business you may just be using the standard black cab, perhaps a LTI TX2 or the newer TX4, in this case you'll only need a single vehicle-type policy.
As with all hire and reward policies, there are two other factors that can have quite an impact on the price of your taxi fleet insurance. The first is driver age. In the current taxi market it is very expensive to insure drivers under 25. With this is mind, unless it is essential for someone under 25 to drive one of your vehicles, it is probably best to avoid placing young drivers on your policy. Whilst is it possible to have an any driver policy, better rates are often found when named drivers are found on the policy -- keep this in mind if you have a permanent roster of drivers working for you.
Another factor that can affect the price of your taxi fleet premiums is of course the area that your company is based and operates in. This will most likely come as no surprise, but in general terms, firms based in metropolitan areas (London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff) will have to pay more for their insurance cover than firms based in smaller towns and rural areas. This is usually because taxi fleets face more risks in urban areas -- not only are the roads busier but typically crime rates are higher, leading to more cases of vandalism and theft.
Anything else I need to know?
For an in-depth guide to taxi cover, our taxi insurance guide will be of much use to you. Taxi fleet cover shares a lot of features with single-car hire and reward cover. One thing that you may like to keep in mind is that fleet insurance will usually become more affordable once your group of vehicles becomes fleet rated. Fleet rating is the way insurers pass on data relating to the claims experience of a fleet -- generally it will show the state of your policy for the previous three years, e.g. the number of vehicles in your fleet and the number (plus cost) of any claims made.
Using this information the brokers can estimate the risk of insuring your taxi fleet and possibly offer you a discount. Remember that it's always important to discuss with each broker what their policy can offer you -- they may offer you breakdown cover, public liability insurance and various other features which could be of use to a hire and reward fleet -- it never harms to be "over-insured", but it can extremely risky for your business should you under-insure your fleet.