Tuesday, January 21. 2014
Whether you’re a one-man band trucker or you’re running a HGV fleet, it’s relatively simple to arrange basic haulage insurance. However, picking a policy that is perfectly tailored to your business needs, covers all eventualities and is still competitively priced is another matter entirely. So, here are some tried and tested tips that will help you hit the road with peace of mind.

We consider HGVs to be trucks that range from 7.5 to 44 tonnes (trailers can be covered separately or as part of a package) and HGV insurance is designed for every size of fleet from one to 250-plus vehicles. A multi-vehicle policy can insure between three and seven vehicles but, when an operation reaches five-plus vehicles, it makes sense to switch to a fleet policy.

If your haulage business involves transporting products from A to B then your policy really should have effective Goods In Transit cover. This is not a legal requirement, but how many times have we all seen traffic incidents with the contents of a lorry strewn all over the road? In such cases, and with no Goods In Transit cover in place, the trucker/fleet operator could pay a heavy penalty because carrying commercial cargo is not usually included under a standard policy. Goods In Transit insurance (a range of options is available) will protect you against loss, theft and damage while on the road – and this is particularly relevant for small outfits that can’t so easily absorb costly claims from contractors.

There are two other factors to bear in mind about Goods In Transit insurance. Firstly, you should take into account the type of truck(s) being driven and, most importantly, the nature of the goods being transported. For example, if you always carry fruit and veg and then get a contract to move a load of valuable antiques, then you must check that you’re still protected.

Secondly, you should extend the cover if you’re driving abroad. Most insurers will want to know where you’re going (different countries are considered more or less dangerous and are rated accordingly) and for how long.

Over the years I have seen many smaller transport companies (3-5 vehicles) and one-man bands fail to take out Public Liability cover. Put simply, it protects an individual when on site. If a driver is walking to an office or through a parking zone and causes an accident or damage to a person or object then Road Risk insurance wouldn’t be in force. Again, Public Liability is not compulsory, but I would thoroughly recommend that it is part of any insurance package.

One final point: it usually pays to use an experienced broker. At Haden Welbeck we search a panel of insurers to pinpoint the right product for every client at the most competitive premium. Under industry regulations we’re obliged to explain in detail all the terms and conditions and, in particular, the often complex policy excesses. When people negotiate insurance online – and traditionally online quotes have high excesses and low premiums – they don’t always spot the level of potential excess payment. So we know just how to help you avoid hidden costs further down the line!

Happy driving!