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Small business fleet insurance

If you run a small business and own multiple vehicles that need to be insured each year it might be a wise idea to consider small business fleet insurance. Not only does this type of policy have the potential to save you a lot of valuable time on paperwork and admin, but economies of scale mean it could also save your small business a decent chunk of money.

Small business fleet insurance

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What is small business fleet insurance?

Essentially It’s a type of fleet insurance policy that is aimed at smaller businesses that own a relatively modest number of cars, vans or motorbikes. This is generally defined as have fewer than 15 vehicles in your fleet by most insurers.

Whereas standard fleet policies can serve the needs of large firms with dozens or even hundreds of cars, small fleet cover is tailored to meet the needs of start-ups or SMEs.

How many vehicles can I have on a fleet insurance small business policy?

This depends on the insurer, as they all work to their own guidelines. Some insurers will class a fleet as anything more than two vehicles, but there are others that might set the minimum at four or five. The best way around this problem is simply to compare multiple insurance providers when possible and to see what quotes satisfy your specific fleet requirements.

Maximum vehicle numbers can also vary, with some providers capping small fleets at five cars while others will insure up to 10 or even 15 vehicles. Ultimately there is not a clear cut answer to this as the size of a fleet is relative to what numbers insurers are used to working with. This means you may need to hunt around between lenders to ensure you get the best coverage for your needs.

Why should I choose small business fleet vehicle insurance?

Fleet insurance helps cut the amount of time your business needs to spend dealing with insurance associated admin. With just one insurer to deal with, you’ll only have to remember one renewal date and pay one premium. Getting all your fleet vehicles under one umbrella is also advisable not just for convenience, it can also save you money in the long run.

Insurers also typically offer discounts for each additional fleet vehicle which you add to your policy, so you could end up saving money with a fleet insurance policy. Generally, the more vehicles you have in your fleet, the greater the discounts. There can be some benefits to insuring your commercial vehicles individually however. If your fleet is very small and the discounts of adding additional vehicles do not stack up, It may well be worth just insuring these vehicles individually.

If you’ve only got two or three vehicles, it’s worth always comparing separate insurance quotes for each one just to check you’re actually making a saving. This will vary for case to case so it pays to play it safe and check for good measure.

Can I add different vehicles onto one small business fleet insurance policy?

Yes, most providers understand that not all fleets use the same vehicle type for their operations, even if they are smaller sized. Due to this they will usually let you insure different types of vehicles under a single small business fleet insurance policy. So, if your fleet includes cars, vans and minibuses, for instance, you can cover them all with a single multi-vehicle fleet policy. A notable case where there may be exceptions to what vehicles you can add to your policy include vehicles that are modified, these can sometimes invalidate them from insurance or at least raise premiums. See here for more information on what surprising modifications could impact your fleet insurance.

If your fleet is made up of just one type of vehicle you can buy specific policies for that, for example van fleet or motorbike fleet insurance.

However, it’s worth mentioning that if your fleet includes heavy goods vehicles you’ll probably find that standard fleet insurance won’t cover you. If that’s the case, HGV fleet insurance should give you the protection you need. Heavy vehicles are generally defined in the UK as any vehicle exceeding 3.5 tonnes and require a type C1 license to drive. With the post-pandemic recovery still underway, many fleets are seeking to add heavy vehicles to their capabilities to meet the increasing demand for deliveries.  LGV vehicles under this weight on the other hand are likely to be okay for coverage under a standard fleet insurance policy.

What levels of cover are there?

There are three levels of cover to choose from:

  • Third party only (TPO) – this is the minimum amount of cover you need by law. It covers the cost of damage to other people, their vehicles and property. It doesn’t cover any damage done to your own vehicle or belongings. This is sometimes the cheapest level of cover you can buy because it’s the least comprehensive.
  • Third party, fire and theft (TPFT) – provides TPO cover and will also pay for repairs or replacements if your vehicles are damaged by fire or are stolen.
  • Comprehensive cover – gives you TPFT and also covers damage to your vehicles and property even if your business is at fault for an accident. This is typically the most expensive level of cover you can buy however due to the superior level of coverage.

The level of coverage will largely depend on your business requirements and the amount you are willing to pay for your insurance coverage. It is always recommended that you way up your options by comparing multiple quotes as well as the coverage those policies offer. From there you can find the option that works best for you in terms of coverage and price.

What other features can I add to my small business fleet car insurance?

You can add other types of insurance to your fleet policy so that it gives you even greater protection. Optional extras often include:

  • Breakdown cover – help get company cars back on the road quickly.
  • Goods in transit (GIT) – covers any goods in your vehicle that you’re transporting.
  • Carriage of own goods – similar to GIT but covers items belonging to you (or the driver) for instance, tools or work equipment.
  • Hire and reward – if you transport people or goods in return for money (like a taxi or wedding car service) then you’ll need this type of insurance. Examples include private hire taxi drivers, takeaway drivers and couriers.
  • 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 have any staff, even part-time or casual workers.
  • Public liability – pays legal fees and compensation if a member of the public is hurt or has their property damaged and blames your business.
  • Trailer insurance – covers you to tow a trailer.
How much does fleet insurance for small businesses cost?

Cost really depends on your specific business needs, and since no two firms are ever the same it’s almost impossible to give an average.

Fleet insurance for small business

To work out your premium, insurers will take a number of factors into account, for instance:

  • The number and types of vehicles in your fleet.
  • The level of cover you choose.
  • What optional extras you decide to add.
  • How old or experienced your drivers are.
How can I cut the cost of small business fleet insurance?

Having fleet insurance often works out to be great value for those operating multiple vehicles. As previously discussed there are certain factors which directly impact your insurance premiums. Some of these are out of your direct control but if you are looking for practical steps you can take to drive down the cost of your premiums, think about the following:

    1. Insuring named drivers rather than opting for an ‘any driver’ policy – ‘Any driver’ fleet insurance policies offer a lot more flexibility, but they’re also riskier from an insurer’s point of view which means the premium will be higher.
    2. Only insuring drivers that are over the age of 25 – Younger drivers on a fleet insurance policy will almost certainly push the premium up. This is due to younger drivers being viewed as a greater risk as a result of less driving experience. Data from Brake, the road safety charity, has revealed that drivers under the age of 20 are 33% more likely to be killed in a car accident than someone in their 40s or 50s.
    3. Only insuring drivers that have clean driving records – It probably goes without saying that riskier drivers are likely to increase the cost of your fleet insurance.
    4. Paying for your fleet insurance annually rather than monthly – Monthly payment plans tend to incur interest and admin fees, which means you’ll pay more for your fleet insurance if you opt to pay month
    5. Employ experienced drivers that have a clean driving history – Insurers can raise premiums if they believe the employees operating your insured fleet vehicles are higher risk. This will be reflected in previous driving convictions and penalty points.
    6. Avoid modifications – Quotezone.co.uk has found that modifying your fleet vehicles can push up your premiums considerably.
    7. Avoid branding – Branding on your fleet vehicles can be classed as a modification by some insurers and may even void your insurance if not properly declared. Data from Quotezone.co.uk has revealed that vehicles with additional signage and branding can change a vehicles risk profile in the eyes of insurers. To find out more follow our article on how branding could void insurance.
    8. Don’t let your policy auto-renew – Although it may be convenient, our data shows there is virtually no additional benefit to letting your fleet insurance simply auto-renew. Even though a new law passed in January 2022 forces insurers to offer all eligible customers the same deals, we found that your chances of finding cheaper policies almost always increase when comparing multiple providers.
    9. Keep your vehicles in a secure location – This may seem obvious, but the more secure your fleet is when not in use the cheaper your premiums will be. Having the vehicles of your fleet behind closed fencing or even better with enclosed hangar installations can dramatically reduce instances of theft and break in.

    This list is not exhaustive and lenders will naturally vary in price, however the factors which constitute risk are largely universal and so reducing these factors as much as possible is always advisable.