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What is Private Hire Insurance & Who Needs It?

Private hire insurance is a type of coverage that protects professional taxi drivers and their vehicles and are licensed to pick up passengers who pre-book a ride. Private hire taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers from designated stands or on the side of the road, like public hire taxi services.

Examples of private taxis include Uber, minicabs, etc. These taxi services are usually connected to a radio system, phone, or even an app, which passengers can use to pre-arrange a ride.

If you’re running a private hire taxi service, you’ll be driving long hours at all times of the day. You may also be spending a great amount of driving time in cities, where traffic is more congested. As a tax driver you’ll face higher risk of accidents and injuries. This is why you need private hire taxi insurance. And don’t forget that by law you’re required to have private hire taxi insurance. This type of coverage will protect your passengers, you, your vehicle and your business.


Private Hire Insurance

Private hire cabs have become highly popular in the last few years, mostly due to ease and convenience of getting a ride. With a regular taxi, you must stand outside and try to catch the attention of a cab, often waiting several minutes for a taxi to pick you up. However, with a private hire cab, a passenger can make a call or use an app at their own convenience to set up a ride, knowing it will be there to pick you up at a specific time.

If you’re running a private hire cab business, then you’ll need private hire taxi insurance. What is private hire insurance and who is it for? These are only a couple of the questions we’ll cover in this guide. If you drive for Uber or run a minicab taxi service, then you’ll need to buy private hire insurance.

In this article, we’re going to look at private hire insurance: what it is, who needs it and what to look for in a policy, and more.


Can I Use my Regular Car Insurance to Protect my Taxi Business?

The short answer is no. If you provide private hire taxi services, you’re require to private hire insurance. Your regular vehicle insurance will not provide adequate coverage in the event of an accident and/or damages.

In addition, the region you choose to work will also require you to have private hire insurance before you can get a license to work in that area.


Can I Buy Public Hire Insurance?

Here, again, the answer is no. You must buy the right type of insurance for your taxi business. If you provide a pre-booked service for paid passengers, then you’ll have to buy private hire insurance.

What’s the Difference Between Private Hire Insurance and Minicab Insurance?

This is a common question, and the answer is they’re the same type of coverage. The terminology can be confusing, to say the least. When it comes to coverage, these types of insurance are the same and both offer the same types of policies and levels of protection.

The main difference between private hire taxis and minicabs is that the term “minicab” is often used to refer to private hire vehicles in London and southern England.

That’s it! Otherwise the insurance coverage is the very same, as both types of taxis are private hire vehicles.

private hire insurance

What is Covered by Private Hire Insurance?

You’ll generally find that private hire insurance offers three types of coverage:

  • Third-party only (TPO): this is the most basic type of coverage and only provides protection to those (third parties) who are injured or whose property is damaged in an accident for which you’re held at fault while driving your taxi. TPO policies do not protect you or damage to your vehicle.
  • Third-party fire & theft (TPF&T): these policies include the same coverage as TPOs, with the addition of protection for your vehicle from fire and theft (or attempted theft).
  • Comprehensive: policies offer complete protection. A comprehensive policy covers all of the above and includes coverage for damage to your vehicle. Some policies will also cover you in case you’re injured.

Private Hire Insurance Add-Ons

In addition to private hire insurance coverage, you may find that some insurance providers also include add-ons you can purchase that are combined with your policy. These may include:

  • Breakdown and recovery assistance: if your car should break down on the road, the insurance provider sends help to get your vehicle back up and running.
  • Uninsured loss recovery: which protects you against accidents and damage caused by uninsured drivers.
  • No claims bonus: if you’re a safe driver, with no tickets and a low number of claims, this bonus can earn you a lower premium.
  • Vehicle replacement: if you’re in a no-fault accident, this add-on will replace your vehicle.
  • Personal use cover: if you use your vehicle for personal use once your off work.
  • Public liabilities coverage: helps pay your legal expenses in the event of legal action from your passengers or other drivers on the road.
  • Cyber and data protection: this is a relatively new type of coverage that protects your business data files such as contact or payment details.
  • Home start cover: if you keep park your taxi at home, and you wake up to a dead battery, this will help get your car started in the morning.


Is Private Hire Insurance Expensive?

Yes, this type of insurance does tend to cost more, especially when compared with insurance for your personal car. The reason it costs more is due to the number of hours taxi drivers work, along with the higher mileage compared to driving a personal car. Longer hours and more miles for cab drivers increase the risks of having an accident and/or causing damage.

Due to these higher risks, insurance providers charge higher premiums for taxi insurance of all types, including private hire insurance.

However, keep in mind that insurance coverage is required for your business and it may help to look at the expense as an investment that protects you and your business.

How Do I Find the Right Insurer with the Right Policy?

When you’re ready to shop for insurance, one of the best things you can do is comparison shop via an online site. A comparison site offers you access to a large number of specialist insurance providers, including taxi insurance providers. It’s fast and easy to review policies, premiums and more.

Once you have a list of possible insurers, it’s a good idea to call the companies and discuss their insurance coverage. Be sure to read through all of the terms and conditions, so you’ll know what the policy covers. And don’t hesitate to ask questions. If the agent doesn’t seem helpful, then move on to the next insurance provider on your list. You need to feel comfortable with the company and agents in addition to buying the right coverage for your business.

Helpful Links

National Taxi Association – Since 1960, this body has been helping to consult on all forms of taxi legislation in England and Wales.

National Private Hire Association – The NPHA is an organisation that provides useful support and help for cabbies everywhere.

Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association – A membership group for taxi drivers, the LTDA is also a support group for those that work in the trade.

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