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Basics of truck insurance

As the owner of a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) you’ll definitely need insurance if you want to drive it on the UK – or European – roads. Then both you and other drivers will be covered should there be an accident to people or property caused by (or while you’re driving) the truck. The only time you don’t need insurance is if it’s registered as off-road via a SORN.

In order to get truck insurance, you’ll need to be able to supply the number of vehicles and drivers you have for your business. You’ll also have to give information on the type of business you have and whether you require European cover. It also makes sense to ensure your HGV licence remains valid and if your truck is heavy and carries goods, that you have an operator’s licence.

If you’re confused over whether or not you actually need an HGV licence, then there is a basic criterion to follow (although this differs between insurance companies). In the main, though a 44-tonne upper weight limit is common while a minimum weight can be 7.5 tonnes or even as low as 3.5 tonnes.

Different types of truck insurance

You’ll find that, just like a car, van and other types of vehicle insurance, this splits into three distinct categories:

Third-party only (TPO) The most basic form of truck insurance it means you’re covered if you cause injury to others or damage their vehicle/property. This includes if you happen to be towing a trailer or even caravan at the time.

Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) As well as the same cover you’ll get with TPO, this time you’ll also be insured against the vehicle going on fire, being stolen and damaged through theft.

Comprehensive insurance The policy with the most cover, comprehensive truck insurance covers all of the above mentioned in the other two policies, as well as general damage or loss to the truck, a replacement windscreen, stolen personal effects, accidental damage and even medical expenses if you’re hurt while in the truck.

Other more specialist policies include:

Telematics truck insurance With a telematics insurance policy, your premiums are calculated by basing them on the standard of driving i.e. whether you’re a slow, careful driver and do a minimum number of miles or someone who always drives slightly over the speed limit etc. More careful drivers get lower premiums.

Fleet insurance With a business, it’s usually far less expensive, and quicker, to insure a bunch (or even a pair) of trucks together

Loss of license If having an HGV licence is the only way to maintain your business and lifestyle then it makes sense to ensure against losing this.

European Cover If your firm does a lot of intercontinental driving then European cover means that if anything goes wrong on the road when abroad in Spain, Germany, Italy etc then you’ll be covered as you would in the UK.

Breakdown Recovery A business essential, this type of insurance guarantees that, should you break down on the road – or the truck won’t start in the depot – then you’ll be able to call for someone to come out and repair it.

Commercial truck insurance Using your van for work in terms of carrying goods – whether for haulage, hire or reward – requires this type of insurance. This involves driving a single load from A to B or working as a courier.

Insurance for hazardous goods and locations This isn’t easy to obtain as there are a limited number of insurance companies who offer this – and mostly specialist firms.

How to save money on truck insurance?

  • If you’ve more than one truck to insurance then opt for a fleet policy
  • Store your truck safely in a secure location when not in use
  • Increase your voluntary excess
  • Build up a good no claims bonus
  • Fit safety cameras and security devices
  • Only employ drivers with clean records and who are aged 25 and over
  • Put your drivers through advanced driving qualifications
  • Get a discount by paying your insurance in one lump sum every year