In order to work as a courier in the UK, you will need a form of courier insurance. This might take the form of a full-time courier policy, which usually includes your social, domestic & pleasure (SD&P) coverage within it, so you’re covered whether you’re on the road for work or otherwise. Alternatively, you can get a ‘top-up’/’pay-as-you-go’ hire and reward policy (in addition to your SD&P insurance from another provider), where you pay hourly/daily when you require coverage and ‘clock off’ of your coverage at the end of your shift, ending the cost.
Both have their benefits – a full-time policy offers you the assurance that you’re covered any time you’re on the road, and it can be useful to have your SD&P and courier coverage from a single provider, easing your claims process as you’ll only ever have to go to one provider in the event of an incident.
Top-up hire and reward can be a very cost-effective option for anyone who only sees courier work as a short-term employment solution or who only works a few hours every week, allowing you to only pay for what you need and avoiding a monthly/annual commitment on your coverage. However, there are a huge number of questions on the legality of top-up insurance, and many insurers in the UK don’t consider top-up coverage as valid, meaning they could be within their rights to void your coverage if they discover you’ve been working as a courier.
This can leave you in a tricky spot if an accident does happen and their insurer voids your coverage and refuses to insure you, potentially leaving you with a hefty bill for any damages caused. Remember also that being on the road without a valid insurance policy is illegal in the UK, and being caught can lead to huge fines, points on your license and even disqualification from driving altogether.
Hire and reward courier insurance
Hire and reward is the term used to describe the part of your vehicle insurance policy that covers you to use your vehicle in return for payment. It can come in two forms, as part of a ‘full-time’ courier insurance policy or as a ‘part-time’ pay-as-you-go cover.
There is some confusion online as to what exactly hire and reward is, as courier insurance companies mention it as a part of their policies. In contrast, part-time providers sell it as its own unique coverage – it’s easiest just to imagine it as the bit that covers you for driving for payment, and it can be sold on its own or as part of a larger package.
A full-time policy includes both social, domestic and pleasure (SD&P) and your hire and reward cover, so you’re protected whether you’re delivering food/goods or otherwise. On the other hand, top-up hire and reward utilize a driver-friendly ‘pay-as-you-go’ payment programme, meaning you’ll only ever pay for cover when you need it.
It is important to be careful with top-up coverage; however – as mentioned above, many of the UK’s top vehicle insurers don’t consider it a valid form of cover, so could be well within their rights to void your coverage in the event of an accident.
Goods in transit and public liability
Goods in transit insurance are designed to protect anything you’re transporting in your vehicle while you’re on the move. It’ll cover things like a gardener’s tools, a construction company’s equipment or the packages a courier is moving from A to B. It’ll cover the cost of sorting out an appropriate replacement for the items that were damaged.
Most courier businesses do not require you to hold a goods in transit policy, and you definitely won’t need one if you’re delivering food with the likes of Deliveroo or JustEat, so many food delivery drivers opt to go without. Businesses in the logistics industry are likely to ask you to hold a policy before bringing you on board, so if you’re going to be working with companies operating out of a warehouse or depot, then you should definitely look into it.
Public liability covers couriers for any injury or property damage they cause while working. You might trip over a pedestrian while opening your vehicle door or perhaps damage the walls of the business you’re collecting a package from while carrying it out of the premises.
Again, most courier businesses won’t require you to hold a policy before hiring you; however, it’s still worth considering. AXA reports that the average public liability settlement is around £13,500, so when things go wrong, it can be costly.
Courier breakdown cover
Breakdown coverage for couriers can help you get back on the road quickly if you’re the unfortunate victim of a breakdown. Couriers are generally considered more likely to have their vehicle breakdown (extra mileage, long hours on the road at a time, etc.) and so don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pay a little extra to cover the additional risk.
You’ll probably see couriers grouped together with the likes of taxi drivers and ice cream vans, as vehicles that spend more time than average on the road throughout the year. While coverage with the AA is over double what you’d pay for standard breakdown cover it still doesn’t need to break the bank, costing just over £150 annually.
How much is courier insurance UK?
The third-party-only (TPO) courier car insurance in the UK is likely to start around £220 monthly, with comprehensive policies around the £260 mark. Still, rates can vary tremendously from person to person. Pay-as-you-go hire and reward likely to be in the £1-£3 range (depending on your vehicle and risk profile, of course). Keep in mind that you won’t be able to choose the level of coverage if you opt for top-up cover – it’ll match the level of your existing SD&P insurance meaning if you’ve taken out a TPO policy your hire and reward will also only cover for TPO damages.