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THE TAXI INSURER: When and when are you not covered by taxi insurance?



Unless explicitly confirmed by their insurer or insurance broker at the time of purchase, many taxi drivers may unwittingly find themselves in routine situations while at work where they may not be covered by their policy. This article examines some of the more common circumstances and explains how drivers can ensure they’re not at risk.


PUBLIC LIABILITY


The biggest risk relates to public liability. Drivers without the correct public liability taxi cover in place could be held financially and legally liable for any accidents or damage that their passengers suffer while under their care. Public liability taxi insurance protects drivers and their business from any unforeseen circumstances in which they could be held liable for someone else’s wellbeing.

Traditionally, the majority of insurers offered public liability as a separate cover from the main taxi insurance policy; these days, an increasing number of insurers offer it as standard. Although only a relatively small number of drivers ask for public liability cover, some councils or contract owners insist that drivers working for them must have it in place. Drivers who have taken out a conventional taxi policy that excludes public liability as standard are only covered while they’re inside their vehicle.


As soon as they step outside of the vehicle to help a passenger in any way, their taxi insurance is no longer valid. A typical example could involve an elderly person who has called for a taxi and asks the controller if the driver could help them from their front door into the vehicle because they’re using a walking frame. The driver is good enough to do so but, in helping that person, they may cause them to fall over. That would not be covered under the driver’s taxi insurance. If they’d taken out public liability insurance, it would.


Another common scenario would see a parent returning from the supermarket with children and several bags of shopping. As the taxi driver drops their fare home, they offer to help carry the shopping into the house.

Unfortunately, while putting some of the bags into the porch, the driver knocks over and damages a vase – without public liability cover, the driver is liable for the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged item.


School runs are the third commonplace situation in which drivers without public liability could find themselves at risk. If they're taking kids to school, drivers are liable for the child’s welfare from the moment the child gets out of the vehicle until they walk through the school gates. Some councils are very strict about this responsibility and will ask insurers to complete documentation confirming that a driver’s policy does cover school runs.


Drivers may also want to check the differing levels of public liability indemnity required by some councils. Using school runs as an example, councils occasionally ask for an increased indemnity limit for drivers contracted to carry out such activities.


DRIVING TO ANOTHER PLACE OF WORK


Beyond public liability, the other familiar situation drivers are often not covered for is travelling to another place of work. Drivers with an additional occupation should ensure that their policy covers them to drive their taxi to the location of their second job. The examples above demonstrate how important it is for drivers to check that their insurance policy covers them for every situation in which they find themselves while at work. Whether issues of public liability or driving to a second place of work, policyholders can contact their insurer or broker to confirm that they are currently covered, particularly if their professional tasks or responsibilities have recently changed.


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