If you are in the business of transporting your own or other people’s goods by road, you are going to require haulage insurance.
Why do you need it?
For one thing, the law insists that your lorry – just as any other vehicle – has at least the minimum of third party insurance. This provides unlimited cover for other road users or members of the public who may suffer a personal injury or have their property damaged in an accident involving your vehicle.
If you are the owner or registered keeper of the vehicle you are breaking the law if it is not insured and may face it being clamped, impounded or destroyed, together with a fixed penalty or court-imposed fine.
If the vehicle is actually driven without insurance the penalties are stiffer still – the official government website warns of a fixed penalty, unlimited fine imposed by the courts or disqualification of the driver.
Although your HGV might be driven with just the basic third party cover, such vehicles are usually valuable enough to warrant protection against at least the risks of fire and theft, but more probably a comprehensive level of insurance against all risks.
This is the job of a specialist form of haulage insurance – provided by expert providers such as My HGV Insurance and others.
What does it cover?
HGV insurance may provide cover for commercial vehicles against third party risks, fire, theft and accidental damage. In the event of loss or damage to the vehicle, the insurance cover indemnifies the owner by arranging payment of any repairs or a cash settlement in the event of it the vehicle being written off.
In common with just about every other form of general insurance, cover typically includes a compulsory excess which you need to pay in the event of any claim. You might also decide to accept a further voluntary excess in order to reduce the cost of the insurance premiums – but, of course, have more to pay in excess charges in the event of a claim.
As with other forms of motor insurance, you are likely to be offered discounts on the cost of premiums for each claim-free year you enjoy – such no claims discounts potentially adding up to as much as a 60% discount.
You might also cut the cost of your haulage insurance by extending cover to named drivers only – so that, if you employ a regular team of drivers, insurance cover may cost less. If you need to employ drivers on a casual or ad hoc basis, though, your insurance needs to keep open the option of the vehicle being driven by any driver.
Additional elements of cover
Specialist HGV insurance typically recognises the critical importance to any business of keeping the wheels of its fleet rolling by minimising downtime through breakdowns and roadside emergencies.
Therefore, it might commonly include roadside assistance protection – providing emergency repairs in the event of a breakdown or the towing of the lorry to a nearby repairer. Some types of insurance cover might even provide for a replacement vehicle, to ensure that the transported goods still reach their destination on time.
Similarly, roadside assistance might also extend to windscreen replacement – again essential for ensuring that deliveries are not unduly delayed. You may be able to arrange windscreen insurance that has no impact on your main no claims discount if you need to claim for repairs to or replacement of the windscreen.
Specialist cover for your HGV vehicle or fleet might also include cover for legal fees that might be incurred in disputes with other road users or members of the public with respect to liability for any accident in which your lorry is involved.