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[ Focus on: Van insurance ] Once you have determined the cover that you need,

there is a range of factors that will affect your premium, for example: n The number of vehicles that need to be covered – if you have more than one vehicle, a fleet or mini fleet policy will be better than insuring each vehicle separately; and

n The age of the drivers – the higher the age restriction, the larger the discount you will receive from your fleet insurance company. For example, you can opt for any licensed driver Over 21, 25 or 30.

We’ve talked about what you may want to get covered,

but equally important is to have an understanding of what is NOT covered. For example, a common misconception is that if your tools are in your vehicle and this gets stolen, they will be covered by your motor insurance. This is not always the case. Policies do vary, so it is very important to check out the exclusions carefully.

A partnership for success Having to consider all of this on top of running your business can be quite daunting. You just want to know that you are protected in case anything happens to one of your vehicles and that, should the worst happen, you’ll be back on the road again in no time. As you can’t be a brilliant electrical contractor, business

owner and insurance expert, the key is to find the right insurance partner. There are plenty of options these days – direct from the insurer, online, from a broker... Where you buy it from is largely irrelevant – it is who you buy it from that counts. One of the most important factors to consider when choosing your insurance provider (and of course something that we pride ourselves on at the ECIC!) is how well they understand your business. No one knows your business as well as you, but there are insurance specialists who have a very good idea of the specific risks you face as an electrical contractor. They will recognise the issues that surround running a business in the construction industry, and the needs you have when it comes to your motor insurance. Not all insurance is built the same. And not every business is built the same. So it is essential that you use a provider that understands this – and understands you. If you choose an insurance partner who understands your

industry and your business, then you are more likely to get a claims service that meets your needs. Remember – buying insurance to tick the box is one thing, but the reason you have it is so that you are protected in the event of a claim. And it is here that you find out whether you bought the right cover. A little late, if the answer is that you didn’t! The operational state of your vehicle determines how

much work you can do, and therefore how much money you can earn. If your claims service is not up to scratch, you could be off the road longer than you need. And time is money. So before entering a contract, be sure to check out the level of claims service. What contingencies are in place while your vehicle is being fixed, or a settlement figure is being agreed? If your vehicle is a write-off, what is the basis of your settlement?

As you can’t be a brilliant electrical contractor, business owner and insurance expert, the key is to find the right insurance partner

A risky business And there are implications beyond your actual insurance cover. You should be aware of your obligations under health and safety law to manage ‘occupational road risk’. If you employ anyone, you are responsible for employees who operate fleet vehicles at work. This duty of care covers management, driver safety, vehicle safety and journey planning. If you have chosen wisely, your insurance partner will be able to assist you in the risk management of your vehicles. Not only will they help you understand this complex area of health and safety and comply with strict regulations but a well managed fleet will usually attract lower premiums as the risk will be inherently reduced. Unfortunately, many insurance providers fail to advise

clients of the importance of managing fleet risks, believing that buying an insurance policy is sufficient. But the wellbeing of your team, and your business is dependent on it, so make sure you are getting the right advice.

Peace of mind Once you have chosen your insurance partner carefully, you can then go back to running your business knowing that your motor insurance is taken care of and, should the worst happen, you, your vehicles and your business will be in safe hands.

Buying insurance direct

ECA’s insurance services company, ECIC, has created a website where members can buy direct. Take a look at However, if you are shopping around, it offers the following guidance: n Check the insurer has industry knowledge. If you don’t you may find that your cover has nasty and unexpected gaps in it. Or that the claim takes longer to handle because claims staff are not experienced in your industry. n Ask about claims servicing and how quickly the insurer can promise to process the claim.

Winter 2010 ECA Today 63

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