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Public hire insurance for taxi drivers
If you love to drive, working as a public hire taxi driver is a great way to make a living. But public hire cab drivers need insurance which protects them from different risks to the average motorist.
Public hire taxis, or black cabs as they are often known, pick up fare-paying passengers from the street. This is different from private hire taxis, who can only be booked in advance. Drivers must make sure they’re covered with insurance which protects not only them and their vehicle, but provides cover in the event a passenger brings a claim too.
Why do I need public hire insurance?
Working as a public hire taxi driver is likely to mean you spend long hours on the road. The more miles you drive, the greater the chances of being involved in an accident. Having the right insurance policy in place is vital so that if your taxi is damaged in an accident you’re not left out of pocket.
Unlike a private hire insurance policy, passengers are able to hail back cabs on the street, which can also mean that public hire drivers may have to deal with unruly passengers from time to time. Public hire taxi insurance will cover drivers if a passenger is hurt or injured whilst in your cab, and brings a claim.
What is included?
The level of cover you choose for your taxi or hackney carriage will depend on a number of factors such as where you drive, how many hours you work and your annual mileage. There are a number of different types of cover to consider as a black cab driver:
- Road risk
The road risk cover available on public hire taxi insurance policies is available in the same way as private car cover: third party, third party fire and theft, and comprehensive. Comprehensive cover offers the greatest protection.
- Public liability cover
Dealing with passengers can leave you open to claims against you. If you’re involved in an accident and your passenger is injured, having public liability cover can protect you if they bring a claim against you.
- Breakdown cover
Black cab drivers often operate in major cities like London, Liverpool, Bristol and Edinburgh, where breaking down in rush hour could cause serious traffic problems! Breakdown insurance is not usually standard on all public hire policies but can be a good idea to include. Getting your taxi back on the road quickly if it breaks down reduces any loss of earnings while your cab is out of action too.
Most policies have a lower age limit of 25 for policyholders. If you are under 25 and intend to work as a public hire driver, it can still be worth shopping around for quotes. Some firms may still provide a quote for taxi cover, although this is likely to be expensive. This is because younger drivers are seen as a higher risk of a claim.
Wheelchair access for public hire taxis
Unlike private hire taxis, most public hire taxis in the UK must be wheelchair accessible. Rules are set by the local authority, who issue licences for black cabs.
If you drive a black cab already which is not fully accessible, you may still be allowed to operate, but most new public hire licences will require full accessibility as a condition.
How can I get cheap public hire insurance?
Insuring a taxi can be considerably more expensive than covering a normal car for personal use. This is because taxi drivers have many more hours on the road than recreational drivers. Also, dealing with passengers can bring their own risks. Rowdy passengers could damage the cab, or hurt or injure themselves whilst in the cab.
It is important to compare public hire quotes from as many different providers as possible. Factors such as where you drive, how long you have held your licence, whether you have any points and where the cab is stored when not in use call all have an effect on the cost of your premium.
If driving your black cab is your livelihood, making sure you are familiar with any exclusions on your insurance policy is vital. If you try to bring a claim for a situation which your policy excludes, you’ll be left with a hefty bill to pay
The following are common exclusions for black cab insurance, and mean you won’t be covered:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
The taxi being driven by someone who is not named on the policy
Drivers under the age of 25 (although check with your provider, as some insurers may still include cover)
Driving the cab in a dangerous way, for example over the speed limit.
Leaving the vehicle unsecured
Driving outside of any named area or region, if specified on your policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between public hire and private hire insurance?
Not all taxi insurance is the same! Public hire taxis are able to pick up passengers on the street, or from a taxi rank. Private hire cabs can only be booked in advance. For insurance purposes, each has a different level of risk, and so policy costs can vary. It’s essential to make sure you have the right type of cover in place.
Do I need a black box for public hire insurance?
Black box insurance, or telematics, is a way for insurers to monitor how a vehicle is being driven. For careful drivers, having a black box can be a way of reducing premium costs. Having a black box fitted to your taxi is not essential for most public hire policies, but it might be worth looking into if it could save you money in the long run
Is public hire insurance expensive in cities like London?
As black cabs tend to operate in city centres and heavily built up areas, the risk of accidents or damage can be quite high. This is why public hire insurance can often be costly. Congestion, accidents, theft, or even vandalism are all real risks. While you might not be able to change where you drive, taking sensible precautions like parking off road, and always securing your vehicle can reduce these risks.