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Ensuring your commercial vehicles are correctly insured

Whenever you own, drive or hire a vehicle, it’s important to ensure they are properly insured. Without the correct insurance or a valid policy, you could be committing a criminal offence and the sanctions for driving without insurance can be harsh.

Of course, vehicle insurance isn’t just applicable to private use vehicles, such as your family car or your motorbike. Commercial vehicles must be properly insured too, and there are often extra considerations which need to be taken into account when you’re insuring vehicles for business use.

What is commercial vehicle insurance?

Sometimes referred to as business vehicle insurance, this type of policy is aimed at business owners and directors. Whether you’re operating as a sole trader or running an international company, you’ll need commercial vehicle insurance for any and all vehicles your business uses or owns.

Unlike private insurance policies, commercial vehicle insurance should cover you when you’re using the vehicle for work-related purposes, such as travelling to a client’s premises, transporting employees or picking up stock.

However, every policy is different and certain types of businesses may require specific insurance policies. When you take out a business vehicle insurance policy, make sure it covers everything you need it to or you run the risk of failing insurance checks.

Insuring a hired vehicle

Many businesses rely on van hire or vehicle leasing, as it can be a more cost-effective way to operate. Similarly, private individuals may hire vans or large vehicles for specific tasks, such as moving house.

When you hire a vehicle, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve obtained the proper level of insurance coverage and that you’ve disclosed the relevant details. You must tell a van hire company if you’ll be using the vehicle for business purposes, for example.

Often, van hire firms include this type of insurance as part of their terms and conditions but it’s important to check this before you get behind the wheel. Alternatively, you may be able to insure the contents of a hired vehicle yourself. Many credit card providers offer this facility but you will need to prove that the vehicle has been comprehensively insured before you’ll be permitted to hire it.

Should you insure the contents of the vehicle?

When you use a vehicle for work, you’re legally required to have a certain level of insurance. This protects you and other road users if an accident occurs, and it can help you to recoup the cost of damage to the vehicle if an incident does occur.

However, commercial vehicles are often used to transport valuable goods. If these are damaged in transit or destroyed due to a road traffic accident, it can have a significant financial impact on your business. To protect against this, it may be advisable to take out an additional insurance policy which covers the value of the goods inside the van.

Fortunately, insuring a commercial vehicle is an easy and straightforward process. Regardless of whether your company owns the vehicle or you’re hiring it from a designated firm, you should be able to arrange the appropriate level of insurance cover in a matter of minutes.