Since the pandemic, there’s been a huge surge in people looking for flexible work. If you drive your own vehicle, then becoming a self-employed courier can be a great way to make some extra money and work for yourself.
But before you hit the road and spread joy to the masses in the form of brown boxes, you must have self-employed courier insurance.
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In this guide
What is self-employed courier insurance?
Self-employed courier insurance – also known as hire and reward insurance – is a specific insurance policy designed for, you guessed it, self-employed couriers. If you’re employed by a company as a courier driver, they should provide insurance for you.
Depending on which companies you ultimately contract for – the big ones being Amazon and Hermes – you may receive support and guidance in getting insurance. Otherwise, you’ll have to figure it out yourself – and that’s where we come in.
Self-employed courier insurance covers you to drive your vehicle for self-employed work purposes, as well offering additional cover related to the job that could increase the likelihood of making a claim. As a courier, you’re likely to be:
Carrying goods that could tempt thieves.
Driving more frequently and in all manner of weather conditions.
Stopping your vehicle in high-traffic areas.
All of these increase factors your risk as a driver, so it’s vital that you protect yourself with self-employed courier insurance.
Do I need self-employed courier insurance?
Yes, it is a legal requirement you have the right insurance as a self-employed courier, whether you’re delivering in a car, vehicle or on a motorbike. If you don’t, you could be left out of pocket if someone makes a claim against you, and you could invalidate your own vehicle insurance policy.
As you’re using your vehicle for work purposes – delivering goods for a payment – this is classed as commercial use, so your insurance needs to reflect this. A standard vehicle insurance policy won’t cut the mustard, so if you were expecting to become a self-employed courier on your own standard vehicle policy, think again.
Self-employed courier insurance can offer a range of additional protections that go beyond just insuring your vehicle. As a courier, you’re essentially the guardian of the goods you’re delivering, and therefore want to consider the value of these goods if they’re lost or damaged. It’s worth investing in protecting your business with additional measures, as without proper cover it could well be you fronting the cost.
What does self-employed courier insurance cover?
Much like standard vehicle insurance, there are degrees of cover available and the cost of your premium will typically – though not exclusively – reflect this:
Third party only: This is the minimum level of cover you’re legally required to have, and as such is usually the cheapest. In the event of an accident, it’ll compensate you for damage or injury to other people or their vehicles only.
Third party, fire and theft: This offers the same level as third party only insurance, but extends to damage caused by fire or the theft of your vehicle.
Comprehensive policies: These will provide full cover including the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle in the event of accident, fire or theft, even if you were at fault.
Insurance add-ons for self-employed couriers
In addition to your basic insurance policy, there you can get a number of add-ons which are well worth considering if you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed courier.
However, it’s worth noting that some policies may include the below as standard, so when searching for insurance, be sure to check what’s already included:
Goods in transit cover: This covers the value of the goods you’re transporting.
Courtesy car or van cover: If your vehicle needs repairing, you’ll be given a courtesy vehicle so you can continue working.
Breakdown cover: When you’ve got 20 parcels to deliver and a deadline to meet, the last thing you need are delays arising from being unable to get back on the road. Breakdown cover can provide priority roadside assistance in the case of an emergency.
Legal expenses: Should you or anyone involved in an incident wish to take legal action, professional advice and court costs will be paid for.
How much does self-employed courier insurance cost?
Policy prices are based on your individual risk – that is, how likely is it your insurer will need to pay out? Your premium will be based on a number of risk factors, including but not limited to:
Your age: Drivers under 25 tend to face the steepest premiums.
Your driving record: If you’ve made insurance claims in the past, then you’ll likely pay a higher premium.
The vehicle you drive: New, powerful vehicles are more susceptible to car theft and more expensive to repair.
Where you live: Urban postcodes typically equate to higher premiums, as the risk of damage or theft is higher.
But even once your risk is assessed, you’ll still find much disparity in the quotes offered by different providers. That’s why we recommend you always do your research and compare insurance prices for self-employed couriers first to ensure you get the best deal.
How to save money on self-employed courier insurance
While we can’t change our age (we’d love to try!) or alter our driving history, there are a number of ways you can effectively cut costs on your quote:
Consider your vehicle: Much like standard insurance, larger, more expensive vehicles will cost more to insure.
Read the detail: When comparing premiums, you may beeline for the cheapest option. But hold fire – check what this bargain deal actually covers you for by reading the fine print. You may find that in reality you’re insured for very little, and the scenarios in which you’ll be forking out for damage or loss from your own pocket are greater.
Don’t pay twice: Check whether your policy includes add-ons like breakdown cover already, and if so, don’t buy it as an add-on.
Shop around: Insurance is a buyer’s market. Providers are constantly competing with each other to get new custom, and with that often comes great deals. Make sure you use a self-employed courier insurance comparison tool to view policies from a multitude of providers.
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Author: Fergus Cole
Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.