Chauffeur insurance is a specialist form of motor insurance that is essential if you are the chauffeur of any private hire vehicle.
Motor insurance is a legal requirement, of course, if you want to drive any car on the public roads or use it in any public space. But regular motor insurance policies typically exclude cover when carrying fare-paying passengers “for hire or reward”. As the Association of British Insurers (ABI) therefore points out, you must have suitable hire or reward insurance if you are to avoid invalidating your cover.
Insurance for private hire vehicles
To drive a car as its chauffeur, you also need a licence for a private hire vehicle – which includes any you are driving as a chauffeur.
Licences are granted by local authorities (or, in the case of London, by Transport for London), who ask for evidence of appropriate private hire or hire or reward insurance before granting any such licence.
Some licensing authorities – such as Dacorum Borough Council, for example – make clear that private hire vehicles include “chauffeur driven executive cars, airport and station shuttle car services, prom car services, and stretch limousines”.
More recently, however, some licensing authorities have introduced a particular sub-division of private hire licences for such vehicles, which in the case of Manchester City Council for instance are called “non-standard private hire vehicles (PHV) or private hire limousine vehicles”.
Private hire or chauffeur-driven?
The separate rules introduced by Manchester City Council help to make the distinction between regular private hire vehicles (of which the most typical example is the minicab) and chauffeur-driven cars.
Apart from the different type of clientele likely to use a chauffeur rather than a minicab, chauffeured cars are likely to be larger and more luxurious. Whilst minicab drivers take the fare for any journey directly from the passenger in the car, chauffeurs are more likely to bill the client separately by invoice.
Insurance for any private hire vehicle should provide cover against injury to any passenger and against the risk of theft, loss or damage to their baggage or possessions. In the case of chauffeur insurance, it might be argued that clients take a closer interest in and comfort from the level of insurance against injury or the loss or damage of their baggage and possessions.
These differences, and the specialist nature of any chauffeur’s business, are also reflected in chauffeur insurance policies that are written specifically for chauffeurs – as distinct from regular insurance for private hire vehicles.
Public liability insurance is not generally a requirement for gaining the necessary licence to operate a vehicle for private hire, and the risk of injury to your passengers or the loss or damage of their baggage and belongings is usually covered by your chauffeur insurance.
Nevertheless, as your business grows and the demands of your passengers become more exacting as a result, you may want to add public liability insurance to your chauffeur insurance, so that you are adequately indemnified against successful damages claims that may be made against you and your enterprise.