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Public Hire Taxi Insurance Guide
As a taxi driver, you’re legally required to carry a minimum level of insurance. However, how do you know which type of insurance coverage to buy? It depends on the type of taxi service you provide. If you pick up passengers from a taxi stand or on the street, you’ll need a type of insurance called public hire insurance.
We’ve put together a guide on what you’ll need to about public hire insurance, the types of policies available and more. So, let’s get started!
What is Public Hire Insurance & Who Needs It?
Public hire insurance is a type of coverage for taxis that are licensed to pick up passengers from taxi rank or on the street. This type of taxi generally features an orange light on top, so people know if the cabs are available or not.
As a public hire taxi driver, you’ll generally face antisocial hours (late nights and early mornings), drive shorter distances and drive in congested traffic areas such as large cities. You may also keep cash in your vehicle. Each of these are the types of risks insurers consider when setting policy premiums.
Why Do I Need Insurance Coverage?
As a taxi driver, if you provide a service for a profit (a fare), you’re legally required to have a minimum level of insurance coverage. If you provide public hire cab services, then you’ll need to buy public hire insurance. Private hire insurance does not cover this type of service.
What’s the Difference Between Private Hire and Public Hire Taxi Insurance?
Private hire insurance generally covers minicabs, Uber drivers, etc. who are not licensed to pick up passengers from taxi ranks or on the street. These service providers only pick up passengers who book in advance.
On the other hand, public hire vehicles are typically black cabs and hackney carriages (such as those found in London and other areas), who are licensed to pick up fares on the street or at taxi stands.
In addition, these two types of carriers have different levels of risk, which is why there are separate types of insurance for public hire taxis and private hire vehicles.
Public Hire Insurance Add-Ons
When shopping for policies, you may find that each insurance policy may include add-ons. Add-ons offer additional coverage and protection for the following:
- Breakdown insurance: if your vehicle breaks down on the road, roadside assistance will quickly have you back up and running. Some policies even include finding another ride for your passenger should they become stranded when your taxi breaks down.
- Public liability insurance: protects you if you’re held responsible for passenger injuries or damage to their personal property while operating your taxi. If passengers pursue claims against you, any legal expenses will be covered.
- Excess protection: will pay back any excess you may need to pay after being hit by an uninsured driver, or if you’re found fault for the accident. You’ll get your excess back.
- Home start recovery: if you park your taxi at home, and find it won’t start in the morning, this coverage will get your vehicle running, so you can get on with your work.
- Windscreen cover: offers protection in case your windscreen is damaged. Windscreen replacement can be expensive, but this insurance covers the costs for you.
Doesn’t Regular Car Insurance Work for my Taxi Business?
In this case, your personal car insurance will not offer protection for when you drive a taxi.
What Does Public Hire Insurance Cover?
You know that you need public hire insurance, but now you may be wondering what it covers. What should you look for in this type of policy?
Generally, there are three types of public hire insurance including:
- Third party insurance (TPO): covers you in case your passengers or other third parties (including other drivers) seek compensation for damage or injuries that occurred while you were working and have been found at fault. This type of coverage does not offer financial assistance if you are injured or if your vehicle has been damaged.
- Third party, fire and theft (TPF&T): covers injuries and damages you cause when driving your taxi, plus it protects your vehicle against fire and theft (or attempted theft).
- Comprehensive: it protects your vehicle in case its damaged, if you’re injured, and some policies also cover loss of earnings. Comprehensive care does it all.
Which Leve of Protect is Best?
You may be tempted by the cheaper rates of TPO (Third party only) & TPF&T (Third party, fire & theft) insurance; however, consider these points.
- Least amount of protection: third party insurance is the lowest level of coverage you’re legally required to have. That’s true, but it offers the least amount of protection in case of legal issues or accidents. You and your vehicle are not protected at all. Your business is also not protected in the event of catastrophic losses.
- Minimal protection: while third party, fire and theft does offer some protection, again, you and your vehicle are not protected. Again, you, your vehicle and business are not protected in all ways.
- Complete protection: comprehensive insurance protection is generally more expensive; however, in the long run, this is the most cost-effective policy overall. Not only are your passengers and their belongings protected, but you, your vehicle and even your business are protected in all ways. If you’re injured on the job and are unable to work for a time, comprehensive coverage will step in to help with the cost of medical bills and may even cover lost income while you’re out of work.
Whatever type of coverage you choose and can afford, consider the cost of public hire insurance as an investment rather than a painful expense.
How Do I Keep my Taxi Insurance Premiums Lower?
There are a few things you can do it keep your public hire insurance a little cheaper:
1). Pay annually: if possible, choose to pay your insurance premiums annually rather than monthly. Monthly premiums are more expensive and carry higher fees. Save money by choosing annual premiums instead.
2). Security: ask your insurance provider if they offer discounts for security measures you can add to your taxi. Each insurer will have different requirements, so be sure to ask what they required to receive this discount.
3). Be a safe driver: always abide by the rules of the road, and drive safely at all times. Avoid receiving traffic tickets and having accidents, and you may receive a discount for a great driving record.
Another way to save money on insurance coverage is to shop around for the best policy and the lowest prices. Online comparison sites offer a great tool to find specialized insurance providers, and you can often receive a quote in only a few minutes.
Think of your insurance requirement as an investment in you and your business. Look for a policy that offers the type of protection you require. And always read through the policy before signing—be sure to ask the insurance agent any questions you may have, in order to make sure the policy is the best fit for you and your taxi business.
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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