Are you a new taxi driver and need insurance coverage? Or are you an established taxi driver and it’s time to renew your insurance? Are you interested in finding a better rate and/or a new insurance provider?
If you’re looking for taxi insurance coverage, then you’ve come to the right place. Unlike private car insurance, taxi insurance can be a little more complex. We’ve put together this taxi insurance guide to answer your basic questions on this type of coverage. Let’s get started.
What is a Taxi?
A taxi, which is also known as a mini cab, black cab or a chauffer car, is a vehicle that’s licensed to take on passengers who pay a fare. These vehicles are generally fitted with a taxi meter and may have anywhere from 4-9 seats. Some taxis are also modified to carried passengers with special needs.
How Can I Become a Taxi Driver?
In the UK, you’ll find there are laws and regulations that are designed to protect both taxi drivers and their passengers. If you’re a taxi driver, you’re legally required to have the right type of license. This means if you charge passengers a fare, then you’ll need a special taxi license. In addition, your vehicle will have to go through a process called “plating.” What does this mean? Plating is where the taxi driver’s local authority or council approves the vehicle to carry passengers.
Keep in mind that if you’d like to work in London, there are different requirements for becoming a taxi driver in that city.
The type of license you obtain will depend on the kind of taxi driver you’d like to be. There are two different types of taxi drivers:
- Private hire taxi (minicabs, chauffer, Uber): these are taxis that take passengers for hire and reward. However, these taxi services are pre-booked. Private hire taxis can’t be hailed on the street.
- Public hire taxi (hackney carriage, black cab): these are taxis that can be hailed on the street, at taxi ranks or even be pre-booked. The application process is more thorough and longer than for private hire taxi drivers.
If you’d like to be come a public or private hire taxi driver, you’ll need to obtain a license and meet these requirements:
- Be able to legally work in the UK
- Have held a full UK or full EU driving license for at least 12 months
- Your background and character will be checked—and the local authority may carry out a crimina records check from the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS).
- You may be required to undergo a medical examination
- You may also be required to take the Knowledge test, which tests your knowledge of the roads in the area you’ll work in
- You may also need to take another driving test
Not only do you need to earn a taxi driver’s license, but your vehicle will also need to be licensed. However, you’ll first need to buy taxi insurance and then have your vehicle inspected. If it passes the inspection, your vehicle will be licensed to carry passengers by your local council (this is called getting “plated,” which we covered above).
Your vehicle will have its own license and cannot have more than eight passenger seats.
During the inspection, the council check to see if your vehicle:
- Is roadworthy (meaning that it’s safe to operate)
- Is comfortable and clean
- Has a working taximeter
- Has safe, secure doors
Each council is different, but they may also require that you pass certain conditions to receive the vehicle license. These requirements may include:
- The color scheme of your vehicle
- The use of roof signs
- Use of a taximeter
Lastly, the council will make sure that you have valid taxi insurance that covers you for hire and reward and lists you as the named driver. The council will also let you know how long the vehicle license will last. Most of them tend to last about 12 months, however, some councils grand the license for a longer period.
What Type of Insurance Do I Need for my Taxi?
You’re legally required to have a minimum level of coverage by the Road Traffic Act 1988. This is to make sure that if you do have an accident that involves a third party, the cost of repairs to their property or their medical expenses are covered.
There are three levels of taxi insurance including:
Third party only: this is the minimum amount of coverage you are legally required to have. It’s also one of the cheapest types of taxi insurance. Third party only covers the property of third parties when you’re found at fault in an accident. Keep in mind that this type of policy does not pay for damage to your vehicle or for your medical expenses.
Third party fire and theft: this covers all of the above, in addition to protection for your vehicle against theft and fire.
Comprehensive insurance: this is the highest level of coverage you can have, and it’s usually the most expensive. This insurance includes all of the above, as well as damage to your own vehicle and medical expenses in case you’re injured.
Are There Any Add-ons for Taxi Insurance?
Yes, there are! Let’s take a look:
Taxi breakdown coverage: this add-on will protect your vehicle if it breaks down on the side of the road while you’re carrying a passenger. Your vehicle will be fixed on the side of road; however, if it can’t be repaired, then the mechanic will arrange onward travel for you and up to 7 passengers. The destination can be chosen by you but must be within a 10-mile radius of where you broke down. This add-on can also include home start.
Taxi key cover: this add-on covers the cost of lock and key replacement, along with onward transportation if your keys are lost, damaged or stolen. It also covers all the keys on your key ring, including home and office keys. This coverage is 24/7, 365 days of the year.
Taxi driver personal accident cover: if you’re injured on the job, this add-on can protect you. It offers financial protection if your injury keeps you off the job for a while, or if you’re killed while driving the taxi. It also covers getting in or out of the vehicle and loading/unloading the vehicle.
Taxi vehicle replacement: if you’re involved in a no-fault accident, this coverage automatically ensure you have a replacement, plated vehicle at no additional cost. You’ll be able to keep working and earning as your vehicle undergoes repairs. This type of add-on coverage is also available to cover a fault accident. You’re also covered if your vehicle is not drivable due to theft, vandalism, fire and attempted theft.
Taxi legal protection: if you’re involved in a no-fault accident with an un-insured driver, this coverage will pay all legal costs for lawyer and court fees.
Taxi excess protection: if you’re involved in an accident and need to make a claim, you’ll need to pay the excess before the insurance company pays their portion. With this add-on, the insurance provider will pay back the excess you paid. This is a great option if you’d like to lower your premium. Choosing a higher excess reduces your premium, and you know the excess will eventually be paid back, so you’re not completely out the cost of the excess.
Taxi public liability: if any member of the public tries to make a claim against you for damage to property or injury, this add-on will take care of those costs. This insurance covers issues not covered by the regular taxi insurance. Keep in mind that some councils do require taxi drivers to have this type of coverage.
Taxi insurance is legally required if you’re going to use a vehicle to transport passengers for a fare. Be sure to look at all the requirements from your local council, and then seek out the assistance of a professional insurance agent who has experience with taxi insurance.