Most responsible people who make a living from courier work will have a number of forms of insurance protection.
Some of those may be mandatory (such as third-party vehicle cover) but other components might be highly advisable for your own protection – such as carriage of goods cover and professional indemnity protection.
Yet it might be easier than you think to put that cover at risk.
A Basic Tenant of Insurance
It’s often missed that many insurance policies can become invalid (thereby offering little to no cover) under one of four general circumstances: • You failed to make a materially significant declaration at the time you took out the cover. This is sometimes called a ‘fraudulent application’. • You have not complied with the conditions of the policy (e.g. a mandatory requirement to notify the provider of a change in your circumstances). • The reason for your claim came as a result of your engagement in a criminal activity. • You are not in compliance with the laws relating to your activities.
There are several circumstances that could leave you facing huge bills, without the support of your existing insurance policy. Take, for example, driving with an expired photo-id driving licence. If this is not renewed when required, several forms of your insurance cover could become null and void. So if your vehicle is later damaged in an expensive accident, your insurance may not cover you.
Another example might arise should you fail to declare a medical condition that had some impact on your capacity to drive. This could not only be an issue for your insurance cover but may also cause you problems from a legal point of view.
A final and classic scenario is when somebody starts to take on courier work using their own vehicle. It is important to be aware that, by operating your car or van for ‘hire or reward’, you could be automatically invalidating any personal cover you might have on the vehicle.
Keeping on top of things
In many cases where courier work insurance is accidentally invalidated, it arises because of a lack of awareness.
Some people are quite casual about renewing their driving licence and others assume it’s possible to start using their own vehicle for courier work without taking out specific commercial cover.
While it’s true that insurance can be complicated, there’s little excuse for making such errors. Most insurance providers are more than happy to answer questions and clarify where you may need to do things differently in order to keep your cover in place.
So, it’s important to be vigilant in periodically checking that all your documents are current and that nothing has changed since you initially completed the policy application forms.
If you’d like to rest easy at night knowing that you’re fully and safely covered for your courier work activities, it may be worth asking for a quick review with your insurance provider.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.