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If you rely on your minibus to ferry the family around, it’s vital to have cover you can rely on. To make sure you get the protection you need, here’s what to think about when it comes to minibus insurance for private use.
Why do I need minibus insurance?
No matter what you drive, all vehicles must be properly insured. If you own a vehicle with nine or more seats, then standard car insurance is unlikely to cover you and you’ll need a minibus insurance policy instead. This is because cars and minibuses face different risks thanks to their different sizes and the number of people they carry.
If you have a minibus and don’t have the right type of insurance then any policy you do have is likely to be invalid. This means your insurer can refuse to pay out if you have an accident.
What does ‘private use’ mean?
As well as having the right insurance for the type of vehicle you drive, you’ll need to make sure your policy covers the way you use it. This is known as the vehicle’s ‘class of use’.
Private use simply means you only use your minibus for personal, social or domestic reasons – for instance, school runs, family shops and trips. If you use your minibus for any other reason, you’ll need to let your insurer know so they can arrange the appropriate cover. Examples of other types of use include:
- Carriage of passengers – for transporting non-paying passengers such as community groups or friends.
- Business use including hire and reward – this applies to anyone using their minibus to transport paying passengers such as taxis, airport runs or wedding cars.
What does private use minibus insurance cover?
Insurance for private use will cover the same risks as other types of insurance and you’ll be able to choose from:
- Third party only – covers the cost of injury to other people and damage to their property but won’t compensate you if you’re involved in an accident. This is the minimum you can have by law.
- Third party, fire and theft – provides third party only cover and will also compensate you if your minibus is stolen or damaged by fire.
- Comprehensive – includes third party, fire and theft cover and will also pay to repair or replace your minibus if it’s damaged in an accident, even if the accident is your fault.
Policies often include other features which increases the number of events you’re covered for. With that in mind, it’s well worth comparing what’s on offer as some policies will include a range of features as standard while others will need you to add them on for a fee.
How much does minibus insurance for private use cost?
Cost will depend on your circumstances and insurers will consider various points to work out the fairest premium based on your needs, including:
- The value of your minibus – you’re likely to pay a higher premium if your minibus is new or expensive.
- Your age – drivers under 25 pay significantly more compared to other age groups.
- Security – you’ll attract a lower premium if you keep your minibus in a locked garage or invest in a security device like an immobiliser.
- Where you live – if you live in a congested urban area, your premiums are likely to be higher compared to someone living rurally.
How can I get cheap private minibus insurance?
Cost will always be a big consideration but it’s important to look at the whole package. Cheap policies might look like a bargain, but they may not include as many features as other, more expensive policies.
If you’re looking to keep costs as low as possible, there are some practical steps you can take to do this, for example:
- Pay for your policy in one go – paying in instalments typically means you’ll be charged interest.
- Increase your voluntary excess – this can lower your overall premium, but it should still be affordable because you’ll need to pay it before your claim can go ahead.
- Ensure drivers have clean licences – penalty points on your licence can dramatically increase premiums.
Can I add other drivers to private use minibus insurance?
Insurers set their own terms, but you shouldn’t have any problem adding other named drivers to your policy.
If you’re a young or inexperienced driver you can potentially lower your premium by adding a more experienced named driver to your policy.
Be careful when it comes to specifying the main and named drivers. Trying to lower your premium by saying that an older more experienced driver is the main driver when they aren’t, is known as ‘fronting’ which is a type of insurance fraud.