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Regardless of whether you operate a public hire or private hire vehicle, cheap minibus insurance is going to be very important to you.
No matter how you use your minibus, whether it’s for work or personal use, it’s important to have the right kind of cover. Without it, you risk paying for costly repairs yourself. To ensure you get the protection you need, here’s what to consider when it comes to minibus insurance. Mini bus operators typically use these vehicles for purposes such as airport shuttles, tour buses, school buses and retirement village transport.
What counts as a minibus?
Generally speaking, a minibus has nine or more passenger seats. The maximum number of seats varies by insurer but it’s typically up to 17 in the UK. Anything more than that and your vehicle would likely be classed as a coach. Although it may seem like splitting hairs, insurers manage different vehicles based on their risk factors. Larger vehicles that carry more passengers are likely to pose a greater risk to insurers in the event of an accident so the premiums for a coach would differ from that of a minibus.
What type of minibus insurance do I need?
Your policy should cover all your needs so when you search quotes for minibus insurance online, have a think about:
- The level of cover you need – comprehensive cover could be a good choice if your minibus is new or expensive and repairs are likely to cost a lot. On the other hand, if your minibus is older, third party, fire and theft might offer better value.
- Whether you need any extra features – cheap minibus insurance policies might not include as many features as you’d like which can mean adding them on for a price. In contrast, pricier policies could include lots of features as standard making them more cost effective.
- The most appropriate class of use – your insurer can help you with this if you’re not sure what’s best.
The nature of your insurance will largely be determined by how you use your mini bus. If you use your mini bus as a tour shuttle for example, you’ll likely need a form of public liability insurance in case one of your passengers gets injured and makes a claim.
If you use your mini bus to transport people and goods in return for payment, then your requirements will be for a hire and reward based policy.
What does minibus insurance cover?
What exactly is covered under your mini bus insurance policy is largely dependent on the type of coverage you decide to take out, as well as any add-ons you may elect to have included with your policy.
Like most other types of vehicle insurance, you can choose from one of three levels of cover:
- Third party only (TPO) – This covers injury and damage to other people and their property, including any passengers in your minibus. Third party only does not compensate you for injury and it won’t pay to repair or replace your minibus.
- Third party, fire and theft (TPFT) – This includes third party only cover and will also pay for repairs or a replacement minibus if yours is stolen or damaged by fire.
- Comprehensive – This provides third party, fire and theft cover and will also compensate you for injury and damage to your minibus, even if an accident was considered your fault.
Policies will also include a range of other features, but these can differ across insurers and some will offer more as standard than others. If a feature isn’t included as standard, you should be able to add it on for a small increase in your premium.
What are popular insurance add-ons for a mini bus?
Popular add-ons include:
- Breakdown cover – Not typically included as standard on fleet policies but can prove invaluable if one of your drivers needs roadside assistance.
- European cover – If you take your minibus over to the continent, having this cover can be invaluable.
- Replacement locks – In case vehicle keys are lost or stolen, this will cover the cost of installing replacement locks
- Employers’ liability – In the UK, you’ll need this by law if you have any employees. It pays the costs if a member of staff becomes ill or is injured because of work. If you employ staff without this type of insurance you could be fined £2,500 for every day you go without it. Employers liability insurance is usually set up when you start operating your business, however if your fleet is new you can have this added to your policy.
What does ‘class of use’ mean?
Class of use just describes the way you use your minibus, for example social, domestic, pleasure or business use.
Whatever policy you choose should reflect the way your minibus is used. If it doesn’t, you risk invalidating your policy which means your insurer can refuse to pay out if you need to claim.
Most insurers are flexible when it comes to arranging insurance for minibuses so even if you use it in a variety of ways, your policy can be tailored to suit you. Examples of the different ways you might use your minibus include:
- Personal use – if you use your minibus just for social, domestic and pleasure purposes.
- Taxi, private or contract hire – if you use your minibus to carry paying passengers, you’ll need insurance that includes hire and reward; for example, if you use your minibus for airport runs.
- Carriage of passengers – suitable if you carry passengers who don’t pay; for example, if your minibus is used for a school, sports club, church or charity.
How much does minibus insurance cost?
Cost depends on a number of different factors and insurers will take all these into consideration to work out your premium, such as:
- The value of your minibus – New or expensive vehicles generally cost more to insure.
- Your age – Younger drivers tend to pay more for insurance.
- Security – The more secure your minibus, the more competitive your premium is likely to be.
How can I get cheap minibus insurance?
The quickest and easiest way to find cheap minibus insurance quotes is to search online. Simply answer a few questions and we’ll connect you with the most suitable minibus insurance providers from our range of panel members.
There are some practical steps you can take to push your insurance premiums down.
- 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. By insuring specific drivers for specific mini buses, you can keep your premiums down.
- Only insuring drivers that are over the age of 25 – If you operate a fleet of mini buses for commercial purposes, younger drivers on a fleet insurance policy will almost certainly push your premiums 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.
- 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. By employing those with clean driving driving records, you can reduce the risk to insurers and so keep your premium prices lower.
- 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 mini bus fleet insurance if you opt to pay monthly.
- Avoid modifications – Quotezone.co.uk has found that modifying fleet vehicles can push up your premiums considerably.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.