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Buying truck insurance

The word ‘Truck’ can cover many types of vehicle; tipper, tanker, car transporter, tow trucks and recovery vehicles among them. All these vehicles may be carrying a variety of cargoes, or, at times, nothing at all. They may also be driven by different drivers, and will definitely experience a wide range of environments from the yard to public spaces, motorways to winding roads. Any truck insurance policy needs to cover all these things and more, without ruining the balance sheet. A truck insurance policy is therefore not as simple as one designed for a car, and will often be made up from different elements unique to your business, although there are some familiar elements.

Policy basics

Just as with cars, it is a legal requirement to have adequate vehicle insurance in place to cover commercial vehicles. The minimum cover required is Third Party Only, but, as with cars, Third Party Fire & Theft and Comprehensive levels can be arranged.

There are also choices to be made when covering drivers. ‘Any Driver’ policies may be convenient, but could cost you more. If at all possible it is cheaper to use a ‘Named Driver’ policy, and young drivers or those with endorsements or criminal records will cost more to insure.

If you have a number of trucks to cover, adding them all to one ‘Fleet Insurance’ policy can bring down the premium again, as can offering to share some of the risk with the insurer through a voluntary excess scheme.

Designing your policy
In order to tailor insurance to your exact requirements and ensure insurance is not found to be invalid in case of a claim, it is important to be clear with your insurer about what exactly your business does. You may need to add elements such as the following to your cover -

(1) Business Interruption - for when you can’t carry out business as usual due to an unexpected event.
(2) Warehousing/Storage - typically covers damage to people and property that can result from warehousing or storage operations
. (3) Haulage - needed if you will carry goods other than your own.
(4) Hazardous Goods - for the transport of Hazardous Materials.
(5) Refrigerated Vehicles - for the loss of any goods due to temperature control failure.

Getting value for money

Your premiums will be affected by the type and volume of goods to be carried. It is also worth checking if there are any restrictions on your policy, for example, passenger restrictions. Finally, there are a number of things you can look at to keep risks low, and bring premiums down, such as:

(a) Keep things Secure - alarms and immobilisers can lower risks of goods related claims, as can considering routes and where drivers take their breaks safely.
(b) Drive carefully - Telematics boxes can reduce premiums for careful drivers, and those with experience and clean licences will pay less.
(c) Look After Your Truck - a clean, tidy and well-maintained truck will be less likely to be involved in accidents and incidents.
(d) Plan Ahead - out of 300 low bridges in London, 5 are hit every day by large vehicles. Careful route planning can cut risks.

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