BREAKDOWNS HAPPEN: TIPS ON FINDING THE RIGHT BREAKDOWN COVER FOR YOUR FLEET
Planned preventive maintenance (PPM) significantly reduces the risk of breakdowns - but they do happen. It’s essential to be covered, just in case. In this article, we run through the main points to consider when looking at policies.
It’s important to understand who, or what, your breakdown policy is offering to cover. For fleet management purposes, it’s worth looking at vehicular cover rather than individual cover. That way, it doesn’t matter which one of your drivers is in a van when it breaks down.
Fleet insurance policies go one step further, and insure your whole fleet. While it shouldn’t matter how many vehicles you operate, it’s good practice to check whether there are limits or exclusions in your policy. Fleet policies are unlikely to be offered through price comparison sites.
How long will you be off the road?
Breakdowns have significant effects on your own service level agreements (SLAs), so it’s useful to know if your insurer offers an SLA of its own. On average, how long can your vehicle expect to be at the roadside before assistance arrives? Providers routinely update their response times. Stay up to date.
Check with your provider to make sure they have provisions for covering vehicles that hold more than five passengers. Historically, taxi companies and fleets that transport large numbers of people have had problems with an insurance grey area, in which breakdown companies were only insured to carry five passengers away from a stranded vehicle. Modern policies all offer MPV and minibus insurance, but it’s advisable to check the terms.
Do you already have cover?
Depending on the scope of your existing maintenance agreements, lease hire options or fleet insurance policies, you may already be covered for breakdowns. Check what cover you already hold to determine if you are fully or partly taken care of. You may be able to alter or extend existing policies to deliver full breakdown cover, rather than taking out separate insurance.
Does your cover reflect your needs?
The operations of your business determine the level of cover you need. Are you a limited mileage company, or do you need a breakdown policy that takes into account long haulage? Do you require onward travel assistance for your drivers and passengers? Will you need roadside assistance and vehicle recovery options?
It’s essential to match your policy to your needs. If you require assistance outside the level of your cover, you’ll have to pay for it, and that could be costly.
Check that you will still be covered if you travel in Europe. Many fleet insurance providers divide Europe into zones, which may attract different premiums.
What about loss of income?
Some fleet breakdown policies also offer litigation support, which may help you recover uninsured loss of income. More commonly, you may be entitled to replacement vehicles to mitigate income loss while your fleet vehicle is out of service.
As with all insurance policies, it’s vital to check the extent of your cover, and what exclusions apply to it. The right cover will protect you against unpredictable breakdowns. Insufficient cover can prove expensive and inconvenient.