Comprehensive insurance and appropriate cover is absolutely essential if you’re responsible for a fleet of vehicles. In the worse case scenario, you need reassurances that these expensive assets will be protected and safeguarded.
But even if extensive policy inclusions are a priority, you won’t want to pay over the odds for fleet insurance premiums. Unfortunately, it seems like prices have steadily risen over the past 12 months.
According to a study by TomTom Business Solutions, 48 per cent of commercial vehicle fleet managers saw premiums increase last year. However, the same research also revealed that more could be done to address risk factors that contribute to pricey premiums.
So with this in mind, here are 14 proven ways to reduce your fleet insurance premiums.
1. Install vehicle trackers
Vehicle trackers will not only determine the location of a stolen vehicle, they can also be used to monitor how well your employees are driving.
Rather than taking out a standard insurance policy, which is similar to or the same as other vehicle operators, telematics or black box recorders can provide more suitable and fitting protection. If your drivers can prove they’re safe and considerate, premiums are bound to come down in price.
When it comes to vehicle security, tracking devices can pinpoint a driver’s location instantly and increase the chances of recovering a stolen vehicle.
2. Install alarms and immobilisers
Additional security features, such as alarms and immobilisers, can also bring down the price of an insurance renewal quote.
The contents of commercial vehicles will differ depending on the business or service in question, but there are bound to be some expensive assets inside, which will need to be protected round the clock.
Whether parked in the street during the day or tucked away in a secure overnight location, an alarm and immobiliser will discourage and stop thieves from driving away with your valuable vehicle and contents.
3. Risk assessment
If you have an extensive fleet of vehicles, then it is in the insurer’s best interests to give you a fair and favourable deal. A lot of the time, they will have their own risk management and assessment team to provide the best protection solution.
Work with your provider and discuss issues such as claims history, areas of improvement and what driver’s should do if they’re involved in an accident.
Risk assessment should also be carried out in-house, as technology to monitor driver performance can also make a difference. Encouragingly, 77 per cent of those questioned in TomTom’s Business Solutions vehicle survey said they operate regular risk assessments across their fleets.
4. Driver training programmes
Even if you don’t have the facilities or resources to conduct driver training in-house, this can be outsourced. In many cases, working with a reputable institute or insurance provider will lead to cheaper premiums anyway.
Drivers that receive ongoing training won’t pose as much of a risk on the road and will therefore be involved in fewer accidents.
From intensive defensive driving courses to long-term advanced training, there will be a range of options available. Just make sure your insurer provider will recognise these before signing up any drivers.
5. Combine insurance policies
Again, speak to your insurance provider or shop around to see whether combined policies are available, as this can reduce the cost of premiums.
Certain companies enable fleet managers to combine public and employee liability cover with fleet insurance, as this can offer economies of scale.
If the insurance provider wants to retain your business by offering a wide range of protection and services, there is bound to be a bit of leeway in the price of a policy.
6. Install camera technology
In-car cameras are becoming increasingly popular with everyday motorists and have numerous benefits for commercial vehicles.
You’ve probably seen a few videos online of near-miss collisions or humorous traffic incidents that were captured on dashboard cameras. But if they happen to be rolling when you’re involved in an accident, it can be used as evidence when defending fraudulent claims.
Crash-for-cash collisions current cost the industry £350 million a year, which has a huge knock-on affect for insurance premiums. By eradicating this problem, quotes will inevitably come down.
7. Don’t pay for unnecessary extras
A lot of the time, fleet insurance will come with additional cover and supplementary extras, which are not usually necessary.
Things like windscreen protection have the potential to bump up the cost of a premium, even though the cost of replacement or repair could be cheaper if you get it done independently.
You may even want to shop around for the best breakdown cover too and compare this with the price your insurance provider is quoting.
8. Use vehicles that cost less to insure
Purchasing a new fleet or leasing some updated vehicles can be an expensive operation, but it could save you money on premiums.
Newer vehicles with up-to-date security systems are less likely to be stolen, while the latest safety features could safeguard against personal injury claims. Newer vehicles also benefit from the latest fuel efficiency advancements which reduce CO2 emissions and as a result cost less to insure. What’s more, you’ll probably save money on breakdowns, repairs and fuel too.
The type of vehicle you use is largely dependent on your business, so there might not be much room for manoeuvre. But wherever you can, reducing risk will make any insurance premium cheaper.
9. Store vehicles in a secure environment overnight
If vehicles are on the road during normal business hours, then you’re going to need somewhere to store them overnight. With so many expensive assets in one place, this gives providers the opportunity to increase insurance premiums.
While it might be difficult to find somewhere suitable, if you can prove to your insurance provider that vehicles have no chance of being stolen or damaged, it could make a big difference in price.
It has been known for providers to charge more for vehicles kept in garages, as falling objects from shelves or the ceiling can damage the exterior. So find out what would be a prime location from your insurance company.
10. Increase your excess
Just like standard car insurance, you could ask your provider whether the excess can be increased. Insurance payments will inevitably come down in price, but you’ll have to spend more in the event of a claim.
If you don’t claim very often or haven’t required help from your insurer for some time, then this is a good option.
However, in the event of a collision or incident, you may end up spending more than you’ve actually saved with a higher excess, so think about this carefully.
11. Don’t waste time making a claim
In the event of an accident, it is highly recommended to claim immediately and get the process over and done with as soon as possible.
While a case is being investigated or settled, the insurer will be paying out for expensive replacement vehicles and might have to deal with false claim appraisals, so time is of the essence.
When its time to renew your policy, these negative and adverse experiences will probably be reflected in the quote.
12. Put accident-prone drivers on their own policy
Even if you conduct regular driver training, there might be a few individuals that are particularly prone to accidents or incidents.
But due to the way fleet premiums are calculated, this will have a detrimental impact on the rest of your drivers, even if they have never been involved in a crash on the road.
Therefore, it makes sense to put accident-prone drivers or those with a track record of traffic collisions on their own policies.
13. Employ drivers with a clean license
You might have a fair few dedicated and loyal drivers on your books, but if any of them have points or convictions on their license, this will undoubtedly affect your premium.
Therefore, it is highly desirable to have a team of drivers with clean licenses. Providers will often look to see whether they have been convicted for drink driving, been caught speeding or claimed on their personal car insurance policies.
Even if one or more of your drivers have penalty points or criminal convictions, make sure the insurance company knows, as you might not be protected otherwise.
14. Compare insurance quotes
When its time to renew your fleet insurance policy, don’t settle for your existing provider’s quote, as there is a good chance you’ll be able to get a better deal elsewhere.
If you want to be loyal or like the way your exiting provider does business, then ask whether you can get a cheaper quote. They may even have some suggestions on what you can do to lower the price.
There are probably some specialist companies out there that exclusively provide fleet insurance for your type of vehicles. So shop around and see what is available.
Whichever way you look at it, fleet vehicle insurance is an inevitable and costly expense. But it is absolutely necessary in order to provide appropriate and fitting protection for valuable assets
Even so, there are several things you can do to bring down a renewal quote. Some of the aforementioned tips might not be applicable to your kind of business or vehicles, but hopefully there are a few suggestions that will help.
Don’t settle for the first quote you receive, take advantage of the latest technology, ensure drivers are fully trained and work with your provider for the best deal.