The taxi insurance industry has so many caveats, it can be quite confusing when it comes to searching out the best policy for your needs. However, there are many taxi insurance brokers out there who can offer a broad list of policies that are wide-ranging and comprehensive.

Choosing the right policy starts with defining your specific needs. In this article, we will look at both private and public hire taxi insurance options as well as those that cover both types of taxi.

Levels of Cover

Let’s start with the basics. There are three levels of cover to choose from if you drive on UK roads, third party only (TPO), third party, fire & theft (TPFT), and comprehensive cover.

  • Third part only

In the UK, you need to have at least TPO insurance in place to be compliant with the law. However, it is rarely broad enough to cover the many situations that may arise during a typical day as a taxi driver. TPO covers the cost of repairing damage to a third-party vehicle, but you would have to pay for your own repairs yourself.

  • Third party, fire & theft

TPFT is one step up from TPO and provides broader cover. It will pay for the cost of repairs to your car if there is a fire, and a lump sum should your taxi be stolen. However, it is still not wide-ranging enough to give both private and public hire taxi drivers the coverage they truly need for peace of mind.

  • Comprehensive cover

Comprehensive taxi insurance refers to coverage that oversees a huge number of potential claim-worthy situations. You will be able to design a policy that works for you, including various features that are specific to your needs. Comprehensive policies are more expensive than the previous two options, however it usually pays to be over-insured rather than under-insured, as you never know what’s around the corner.

Public Hire Taxi Insurance

As a public hire taxi driver, you will understand the unique risks posed to you during an average shift. Due to the nature of public hire – i.e., being hailed from the street, operating late into the night/early into the morning, dealing with urban areas with high pedestrian traffic – there are some insurance features that should be strongly considered. For example:

  • Accidental damage cover

This would be of particular use to public hire taxi drivers because they are often obligated to pick up passengers that may be intoxicated. If a passenger vomits in the back seat, or kicks your car whilst in a stupor, that damage can be repaired without cost to yourself.

  • Public liability cover

If, during busy work hours on busy streets, you cause damage or injury to a person or their property, they are within their rights to make a claim against you and the company you work for. If you have public liability cover in place, you can claim the cost of medical, legal and compensation costs.

Private Hire Taxi Insurance

Private hire taxis are those that are booked beforehand and are therefore not available to be hailed on the street. Journeys are disclosed at the time of booking, so many private hire drivers do not operate in the same way as public hire.

Airport transfers, work/school pickups and drop offs, and general transport are the main ports of call for private hire, and the hours in which they operate are less risky than public hire. All these elements come together to create very different insurance needs.

Some typical features to consider for private hire taxi insurance include:

  • Courtesy car cover

Oftentimes, private hire taxis are more high-end than public hire cars due to the executive nature of many of their most regularly taken journeys. If your vehicle becomes in operable, either due to breaking down or being in a garage awaiting repairs, you would need to be able to keep up appearances with a car that matches the style and quality of your own. Courtesy car cover will ensure this happens.

  • Personal use cover

Private hire taxi drivers often use their taxi outside their shift hours as their personal vehicle. In this instance, you would need to make sure your taxi insurance covers you for this. It is vital that you discuss this with your taxi insurance broker as your policy may become invalid if you do not disclose personal use. 

Features for Private and Public Hire Taxis

There are some taxi insurance features that span both public and private hire taxi services. Breakdown cover, for instance, can be a very important feature to include as part of your taxi insurance policy. It can pay for the cost of roadside assistance and can help pay for your passenger’s onward journey.

Also, employers’ liability insurance is a legal must-have if you are the owner of a taxi company that employs even just one driver. It pays out for legal, medical and compensation costs should a current or ex-employee make a claim against your taxi business. Remember, this is a legal requirement for all businesses that employ one member of staff or more, even on a part-time or voluntary basis, so make sure you have it in place.

Whatever type of taxi you drive, and whether you run just one vehicle or a whole fleet, designing the perfect taxi insurance policy means communicating with several taxi insurance brokers. It is highly recommended that you search for more than one quote as every broker offers a different price and package.