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Rental car fleet insurance

If you own a fleet of rental cars then insurance is more than just a legal requirement, it can also help to protect your vehicles (and your business) from a range of different risks. There’s nothing worse than being caught in a situation where you are subject to damages and their associated costs without the proper insurance coverage. Aside from the potential fines and penalties you could incur, you’ll also be out of pocket. The more extensive the damages, the more likely you are to be financially hurt when things go wrong. When you operate a rental fleet, you are putting your assets in the hands of others whose driving skills may be hard to verify. Sometimes things go wrong and you will not be able to receive compensation from the third-party that damaged your rental, or the renter who hired your car. In these instances it’s obvious why it pays to have insurance for your rental fleet.

Rental car fleet insurance

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What type of rental car fleet insurance do I need?

You may have heard of rental car fleet insurance being referred to in a number of different ways. For example:

  • Self drive hire fleet insurance
  • rental fleet insurance
  • rental insurance

If essence, if you hire out cars, or any road vehicles for that matter, you’ll need some form of self-drive hire insurance. This covers the car while it’s being used by your customers during the duration of their rental or hire period. It’s a very specific type of policy that meets the unique risks you face when you run a vehicle rental firm. Renting out cars to the public naturally comes with it’s risks, these can include; damage to your vehicles, drivers causing damage to others with your rental cars, and potential liability claims. Due to the risks involved many insurers avoid covering this type of fleet insurance all together, as self-drive hire fleets are considered by many insurers to be the most risky kind of fleets to cover. At Quotezone.co.uk we have compiled a panel of trusted UK specialists who can offer you the cover you need for your rental fleet.

How does self drive hire insurance work?

Typical self drive hire insurance policies will offer cover you for the following:

  • Owner use – This will cover you when you are driving your own fleet vehicles 
  • Static cover – This will cover your fleet vehicles when they are parked or not being driven
  • Hire insurance – If your renters meet the required criteria to hire one of your fleet vehicles

You can usually opt for a ‘pay-as-you-go’ plan or annual payments for your coverage. ‘Pay-as-you-go’ plans offer you the option of paying for insurance during the busy times of year when you will be planning to hire out your vehicles. You usually won’t be able to accumulate a no claims bonus with fleet insurance however this may differ between insurers. 

How much is self drive hire insurance?

The price to protect yourself against the risks you’ll face running a rental fleet will really depend on your provider, the size of your fleet, your location, your level of coverage, and any add-ons you may choose to incorporate into your policy. Other details such as where your vehicles are parked, and their security systems will also factor into your insurers calculations. They will essentially be evaluating the risk of insuring your fleet, and any factors that lower your likelihood of making a claim will naturally decrease your policy prices.

You can buy self-drive hire insurance annually or on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis. Pay-as-you-go plans are aimed at seasonal businesses so the price you pay can vary depending on how busy you are. However it is important to note that these insurance plans may potentially not offer the best value when compared to annual self-drive hire insurance, as the higher prices you pay during busy seasons may mean its more economical in the long run to opt for yearly coverage. The best way to determine which plan works best for you is to compare multiple quotes from different lenders and to see what levels of coverage they have on offer. From this you can get a better idea of what policies will offer you the most bang for your buck.

Can I add other vehicles to my UK car rental insurance?

Yes, most insurance providers will let you cover a range of vehicles on one fleet policy. So, if your rental business hires out cars, motorbikes, vans or even campervans, you should be able to find a policy to suit your needs. It is actually advisable to try and insure your rental fleet under one policy as this can help reduce admin time by consolidating all your vehicle policies under one umbrella. It can also work out cheaper insuring multiple vehicles under one policy as opposed to individually due to economies of scale.

Did you know: You can also get self-drive hire insurance for horse-boxes

Why should I buy fleet self-drive car hire insurance?

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a small fleet or dozens of hire cars, a fleet insurance policy can save you hours of valuable time. It means you’ll only have one insurer to deal with and one renewal date to worry about. Managing multiple vehicle policies can quickly become a nightmare and if you don’t have someone managing them your business will soon run into problems. Taking out a single fleet insurance policy is the simple solution to this.

Fleet insurance policies can also save you money, since many providers will offer a bulk discount for each additional vehicle you insure. You’ll typically need at least two vehicles in order to qualify for a fleet insurance policy, but this number can vary between providers.

What levels of cover are available?

Like other types of fleet insurance, there are three main levels of cover you can choose from for your rental fleet:

  • Third party only (TPO) – pays for damage or injury to other people and their property. This doesn’t cover the cost of repairs to any vehicles you own. TPO insurance is the minimum you must have by law.
  • Third party, fire and theft (TPFT) – gives you TPO protection and will also cover costs if your vehicles are stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive – includes TPFT and will also pay to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged in a road accident or because of another insured event (for instance, if the branch of a tree fell and dented the bonnet).

Which is the right cover for me? This really depends on your budget and needs. The more comprehensive a policy is the more expensive it is likely to be. This however is also influenced by other factors like the risk profile of the fleets taking out a certain insurance policy. For example if Third-party fire and theft was the most popular option among fleets who had a higher claims rate, this would naturally be reflected in the premiums. The best way of ensuring you’re getting the most value for your a decent price is to compare multiple insurance policies and determine which cover best meets your budget and needs. Again, add-ons can always be chosen should your needs change.

What can I be insured for with self-drive hire insurance?

Common things which are covered under a comprehensive self-drive hire insurance policy include:

  • Losses or damages to your rental vehicles
  • Fire and theft
  • Legal cover
  • Trailers
  • Indemnity to Principals
  • Windscreen cover

The level of cover can naturally be altered and so you may be able to cover your fleet for more or less, depending on your business needs. Breakdown cover is a popular add-on that rental operators usually choose when taking out their policy for example. It’s important to always check the policy documents on your potential insurance plan before making a purchase. This is the best way in ensure you are getting all the coverage you need. If there are some things missing from your policy that you would like to be added, speak to your insurer about additional add-ons.

What other features can I add to my self-drive hire insurance?

You can also choose to add other features to your policy so that your business has all-round protection. Popular additions include:

  • Breakdown cover – you can buy cover for both the UK and Europe, which can offer real peace of mind if customers take cars to the continent.
  • European cover – insures cars and drivers while travelling in Europe.
  • Off-hire cover – this insures your cars when they aren’t being hired out to your customers. Some insurers automatically include this as part of their self-drive hire insurance (usually with annual policies), but it’s important to double check this. If it isn’t included as standard you should be able to add this to your policy.
  • Employers’ liability – covers costs if a member of staff becomes ill or is injured because of work. You’ll need this by law if you employ anyone – even casual or part time workers.
  • Public liability – covers legal fees and compensation if a member of the public sues your business for an accident or for damage to their property.

Rental car fleet cover

Are there restrictions when it comes to car hire business insurance?

Insurance for rental cars often comes with driver age restrictions. In most cases, you’ll only be able to hire cars to drivers between the ages of 21 and 70. Some insurers will also require that operators vet the driving records of those seeking to hire and exclude those who have committed certain driving offences. Those who have committed serious offences are usually rejected by insurers as eligible drivers for cover.

While there may be a few insurance providers that are willing to insure your car hire business to rent cars to people who may fall out of the age and driving history requirements, in most cases those policies would be likely to carry a higher premium.

Beyond age, there’s usually a restriction on how long your car hire customers must have held their full driving licence. With most insurance providers this restriction is a minimum of one year, but it’s worth bearing in mind that a few insurers may specify that drivers need to have held a full UK licence for at least two years. The best way of ensuring you are fully aware of any restrictions or exclusions to your potential insurance policy is to always check the policy documentation. 

How can I lower the cost of self-drive hire insurance?

It’s important to make sure your insurance covers you for the real risks your business faces, but that doesn’t mean you should pay more than you need to. Aside from searching multiple providers for the cheapest options on the market, there are also some more practical steps that can be taken to reduce your costs.

  • Pay for your self-drive hire insurance on an annual basis rather than monthly
  • Ensure your fleet of rental cars are locked and secure when they aren’t hired out to a customer
  • Invest in up to date security measures and systems for your fleet
  • Ensure your rental car customers meet the age restrictions and have good driving records

It is important to remember that insurers view rental fleets as a greater risk than others. This is understandable when you consider that your fleet will be passing hands between multiple drivers. Despite this however, Quotezone.co.uk has compiled a panel of specialist providers to help you find the cheapest self-drive hire insurance more easily.