Guide to haulage and courier insurance
- Decide whether you need carriage for reward or hire, or haulage cover
- It's generally accepted that couriers do multiple drop-offs and hauliers drive a long way to deliver a single load, but different insurers have different definitions
- Don't assume that things such as goods in transit and European cover are included on a policy
- Read your policy documents with care and, if you're in any doubt, speak to the insurer
If you earn money by delivering goods in a van or lorry, you'll need haulage or courier insurance to make sure you're properly covered for the job.
Haulage insurance is a particular type of commercial van insurance and may be needed whether you make a full-time living from delivery work or use your van to earn a bit of spare cash.
There are several things to look out for when taking out courier or haulage insurance and things such as your vehicle, the distance you travel and the amount of drop-offs you make each day could make a difference to your policy.
Learn more to ensure you get the right van insurance and to keep your delivery work on the right road.
Getting the right cover
If you drive a van or lorry in the course of your work or business, you'll need commercial van insurance.
This will ensure you're properly covered if involved in an accident or if your van is damaged or stolen.
There are different types of commercial van insurance depending on the nature of your work; carriage of own goods, carriage for reward, or hire and haulage.
Somewhat confusingly, courier work can fall into the haulage or carriage for reward or hire categories, depending on the van insurer in question.
Am I a courier or a haulier?
In Gocompare.com's van insurance quote process you'll be asked whether you want cover for social only, carriage of own goods, carriage for reward or hire, or haulage.
There's a lot of debate about the difference between a courier and a haulier and about whether haulage or carriage for reward or hire is the right insurance classification for delivery work.
It's generally accepted that couriers do multiple drop-offs and hauliers drive a long way to deliver a single load, but different insurers have different definitions.
If you class yourself as a courier but the insurance firm decides, in the event of a claim, that you've been carrying out haulage work - and vice versa - your policy could be invalid.
So the safest bet is to check with your insurance provider and make sure you both agree on the description of your role at the point when you take out the cover.
What's included under haulage cover?
Policies vary widely and it's always worth comparing a range of products to make sure you not only take out cover at the right price, but that you have the right product for your work needs.
For example, some commercial van policies are quite basic. They might cover damage to your vehicle, other vehicles and property, as well as injury to you and to other people, but not necessarily any damage to, or loss of, the goods you're transporting.
Your delivery job might well take you on long-haul trips across the continent - but don't assume that European cover is automatically included. The following is a list of the things that might be included as standard by your van insurance or that, if not, you might want to consider as additional extras:
- Breakdown cover
- Courtesy vehicle hire
- European cover
- Windscreen cover
- Goods in transit cover
- Public liability
- Employers' liability
- Driver's personal belongings
- Equipment including tarpaulin, security ties and ropes
Goods in transit cover is essential to many delivery drivers, as this covers the items you're carrying should anything happen. Customers will often want to know that you have this in place.
You can choose the insurance limit for goods in transit, but note that not all types of items will be covered. For example, things like jewellery and fine art are excluded under some goods in transit clauses, so make sure your insurance is suitable for the work you do and always read your policy documents carefully.
Did you know...?
- If your delivery vehicle weighs more than 3.5 tonnes you'll need HGV haulage insurance
Will one policy cover my fleet of commercial vans?
If you have up to a specified number of vehicles - usually five, but four with some insurers - you'll need a separate policy for each one.
For a fleet above this number you can get a single commercial fleet insurance policy to cover all vehicles - and some insurers offer 'mixed fleet' policies to cover a combination of vans, lorries, cars and agricultural vehicles.
Will the size of my van make a difference to my insurance?
Yes; if your delivery vehicle weighs more than 3.5 tonnes you'll need HGV haulage insurance. Vans and other vehicles weighing less than this are classed as light goods vehicles (LGVs).
By Rebecca Lees