PolicyPlan ‘Courier Van Insurance’ – are you insured?

A few words of warning about the popular PolicyPlan ‘Courier Van Insurance’ policy offered by many brokers, including Coversure and Business Choice Direct, The policy is managed by PolicyPlan Limited, PolicyPlan is an appointed representative of Staveley Head Limited. These policies have been worrying me for a while now and I really don’t think I’ve made enough fuss about it.

Put simply, if you have a PolicyPlan ‘Courier Van Insurance’ policy it appears to me that there’s a good chance that you’re driving completely uninsured if you carry some completely innocuous goods which same day couriers are often asked to carry. That’s uninsured for motor risks – not just for Goods In Transit.

The PolicyPlan ‘Courier Van Insurance’ policy is a joint Motor/GIT policy and they’ve carried all the common GIT exclusions over to their endorsement ME21 (or ME21a) which renders the whole policy void (including compulsory motor insurance) if you carry certain goods. Worse still, the list of goods you’re not allowed to carry has obviously just been copied from the common exclusions on GIT policies aimed at hauliers, rather than same day couriers.

So, while it might make sense for the insurer to limit their GIT liability in the case of a whole artic load of mobile phones, computer chips, or even shoes, this whole policy (including compulsory third-party motor insurance) is completely invalidated by a courier delivering a single mobile phone, laptop, hard-drive or a book of stamps. Really.

Goods which you’re ‘forbidden’ to carry under the policy include: Read More…

Posted under Courier Financial Issues, Insurance for Couriers

Posted by Alec at 10:13 am, May 31, 2018

Do I Need a Licence to be a Courier

I was checking the search engine referral statistics for the Courier Info site and noticed that it seems to be getting quite a few hits from people searching Google using phrases like “do I need a courier licence” or “do I need a licence to be a courier” which bring up the page Do I need an Operator’s Licence? as the first result.

So – Do I Need a Licence to be a Courier?

In the UK there are is no special licence required to operate as a courier. You’ll need a full driving licence of course if you want to drive a van, car or motorbike. You could ride a motor bike on a provisional licence but you’d be limited to 125cc bikes which are of very limited use in the courier industry; you’ll also struggle to get proper courier insurance on a provisional licence.

Your normal full driving licence will allow you to drive vans up to Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Insurance for Couriers, Vans

Posted by Alec at 2:35 pm, July 20, 2008

What is CMR, CMR Insurance and the CMR Note

What is CMR?

CMR stands for “Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchandises par route” which translates as “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road”. It was devised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and was brought into UK law by the Carriage of Goods by Road Act 1965.

When does CMR apply?

It applies to every contract for the carriage of goods by road in vehicles for reward, when the place of taking over of the goods and the place designated for delivery, as specified in the contract, are situated in two different countries, of which at least one is a contracting party to CMR.

The current contracting countries are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.

It doesn’t apply:

(a) To movements between the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, The Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Insurance for Couriers, Legal Issues

Posted by Alec at 3:06 pm, July 12, 2008

Courier Terms and Conditions

So you’ve got your Goods In Transit Insurance (up to say £15,000), you’ve got your Public Liability Insurance (up to say £1 MILLION) and you think you’re pretty much covered for everything, right? Wrong.

Unless you only ever carry goods under your own ‘Terms and Conditions’ or ‘Conditions of Carriage’, which you make available to your customers before you carry out any work for them then you could be wide open to a claim for unlimited damages from your customer or even from your customer’s customer.

Your Goods In Transit insurance might well cover you for £15,000, but what if the goods you’ve collected are worth far more than that? A consignment of computer chips or a pharmaceutical sample can be worth many times that and if it was lost, stolen or damaged while under your control you would be liable for the full value unless your Conditions limit your liability.

That’s not the worst of it though. Most couriers’ Conditions quite rightly disclaim any liability for consequential loss. Without this essential restriction to your liability your losses are potentially unlimited should a late, lost or damaged consignment cause your customer any financial loss due to your ‘negligent act’. A ‘negligent act’ could be as simple as you leaving goods in your vehicle overnight and them being stolen, being late for a delivery because your cambelt broke due to being overdue for replacement, subcontracting your delivery to a muppet or just sending a document by overnight delivery and it being misrouted.

In the absence of suitable Conditions the only defence that you may have against a claim is to be able to prove that your customer’s loss occurred Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Courier Business, Courier Financial Issues, Insurance for Couriers, Legal Issues

Posted by Alec at 8:25 pm, July 9, 2008

Goods In Transit / Public Liability Insurance

Just go for the cheapest that provides the cover you need. The chances of you ever needing to claim are so remote that the way they deal with claims etc shouldn’t really be a factor in your decision.

Posted under Insurance for Couriers

Posted by Alec at 5:04 pm, June 3, 2008

CMR, ADR and a total lack of understanding

If ADR doesn’t apply in this country it doesn’t apply anywhere else.

‘ADR’ (Accord Européen Relatif au Transport International des Marchandises Dangereuses par Route) isn’t a law or a set of rules that’s binding on us, it’s an agreement that’s binds the ‘Contracting Parties’ (the countries that are party to the agreement) to pass laws which implement the requirements of ADR.

ADR is implemented in UK law by ‘The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2004′ as amended. This is known as the Carriage Regulations. These govern ALL journeys in the UK carrying Dangerous Goods – whether it’s a domestic journey or part of an international journey. The difference is that enshrined in the UK law are certain exemptions/variances/derogations which are allowed for WITHIN THE TERMS OF ADR for domestic journeys.

The full scope of ADR is implemented within the UK by the Carriage Regulations, with the addition of some exemptions/changes which apply to domestic transport AND ARE PART OF ADR. Similarly the other Contracting Parties to the Agreement have their own exemptions/changes which apply to domestic transport only and which are part of ADR.

Without the Carriage Regulations there would be no UK law on the transport of Dangerous Goods and we could ignore the whole concept of ADR while we’re in the UK. Other countries also implement the requirements of ADR by passing their own domestic laws and we’re governed by them while we’re in that country.

In short, ADR applies as much to UK domestic journeys as it does to international journeys; it’s just that international journeys are governed by individual countries’ individual laws which implement ‘vanilla’ ADR while domestic jouirneys within those individual countries are governed by their own (still agreed within ADR) implementations of slightly varied rules.
As for CMR, which the thread was actually about, contrary to popular belief there is no legal requirement for ‘CMR insurance’ if you take goods abroad. In fact there’s no such thing as ‘CMR insurance’ – just insurance to cover your compulsory liability under CMR, which as Geoff quite rightly points out is about £7/kg unless your customer has contracted with you to provide a higher level of cover.

Most standard GIT policies exceed the requirements of CMR within the policy’s ‘Territorial Limits’ – which usually includes the whole British Isles, including the ROI. This can sometimes be extended, without any mention of CMR, to other EU (or at least Western European) countries at minimal cost.

Posted under Courier Basics, Hazardous Goods - ADR, Insurance for Couriers

Posted by Alec at 8:12 pm, August 13, 2007


That’s interesting Nigel. I thought your insurance covered you for goods under the control of subcontractors as well? I’ve not got access to my records at the moment but I’m sure the lowest rate I’ve ever been offered was about 0.6% of turnover for £20K cover. Are you sure you actually ARE covered for goods in the care of subcontractors and it’s not just (worthless) contingent cover?

Posted under Insurance for Couriers

Posted by Alec at 2:08 pm, August 2, 2007

Short cover insurance for a hire van

It should cost you £50 at the most to transfer your existing cover to a replacement vehicle on a temporary basis. Speak to your broker.

Posted under Insurance for Couriers, Vans

Posted by Alec at 8:35 am, May 10, 2007