Find tailored cover for bus companies and drivers for a range of liability and damage risks
If you drive a bus or run a coach line, you’ve probably realised that your insurance needs are more specialised than those of other drivers and that it can be hard to find the right cover in a single policy.
The longer your business operates, the more likely it is that an accident will occur simply as a result of time spent on the road. Without the right insurance, one accident could mean liability issues from your passengers and countless other problems.
Finding the right cover often involves a combination of risk assessment and insurance policy legwork. Having the right insurance is one of the keys to business longevity, and it can be worth finding a long-term policy that will remain effective over the years. An insurance broker can help you identify the areas that need cover and make sure you and your business have effective protection.
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What can a bus insurance policy cover?
There is a variety of cover that may be necessary to protect your business. Many of the requirements are mandatory, and a broker can help ensure your business is operating legally. The mandatory cover includes workers’ compensation, compulsory third party motor insurance for each vehicle and public liability insurance.
Some types of cover can take different forms, depending on the policy you select. For example, your policy may include management liability inside broadform liability cover. Types of cover can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Depot and office cover. This is property damage insurance for your business’s buildings and contents, including the structures themselves as well as furniture, computers, tools and other equipment.
- Vehicle damage insurance. This insurance covers each bus for minor damage, major damage or total loss. Policy options can include total replacement, and you can cover other business vehicles with the same cover type.
- Legal and public liability. This can protect you from liability costs, including customer baggage, third-party property damage, legal expenses and more.
- Professional indemnity or broadform liability insurance. This cover can protect your business from mistakes that occur in the performance of professional duties. For example, this policy will protect you from costs related to driver error causing passenger injury.
- Management liability. This provides protection from personal and corporate liabilities that company directors and management may face.
- Business interruption. This can cover you in the event of business interruptions, such as a depot closure, the loss or breakdown of buses, or other events.
- Theft cover. Theft cover provides protection for the theft of a vehicle or for property stolen from offices, depots or elsewhere.
- Emergency transport and accommodation. This cover can help if you, your drivers or your passengers require emergency transport and accommodation, such as if a bus breaks down more than 100km from the depot and needs to wait for repairs.
- Locks and keys. This can help cover damage to locks or keys, the changing of locks following the theft of keys and similar expenses.
- Fidelity guarantee. This insurance can help with costs incurred by employee dishonesty, such as theft and more.
- Cyber insurance. Cyber insurance covers the costs resulting from a cyber attack on your business’s electronic systems, such as costs of notifying and compensating customers, investigating the issue and compliance-related activity.
- Employee insurance. Policies can provide death cover, medical benefits and other cover for your employees.
- Personal insurance. Business policies may include features such as income protection and similar personal insurances for yourself.
What risks do bus and coach lines face?
The transport industry faces a lot of unique risks. In addition to the usual business risks and potential threats to property, bus lines have a legal responsibility for both passengers and the public at large. The nature and complexity of the industry and the sheer number of passengers carried and trips taken mean it’s almost inevitable that something will happen one day. When it does, your response is all important.
A failure to respond to incidents appropriately might be one of the greatest hazards a bus or coach business can face, and an incident response specialist might be essential to your business. You should be prepared for:
- Passengers experiencing medical issues while on board
- An accident on the road for which you or your driver is found responsible
- Damage to luggage or customer property
- Violent behaviour by passengers
- Extremely negative customer feedback, and potential bad publicity
- Breakdowns or mechanical failures while on the road
- Threats to your business reputation. Greyhound bus lines in the US, for example, has a 1 star customer satisfaction rating through Consumer Affairs
Specific hazards to be aware of
- A CTP gap: The difference between the medical costs covered by your compulsory third party insurance and the actual costs of passenger injury or death for which you are liable.
- Liability for passenger safety: As well as the usual hazards of road travel, there’s also the risk of terrorism, bomb threats, stranded passengers, violent passengers (or drivers), exposure to natural disasters, and more.
- Liability for driver safety: Owners and drivers have an obligation to passenger safety, while owners in particular have an obligation to take steps to ensure driver safety.
- Liability for public safety: Mechanical or other failures can pose a serious threat to public safety, and bus lines need to ensure that all vehicles and equipment are maintained to a high standard.
- Liability for passenger property: You may be required to assume liability for passenger luggage, which can include taking steps to protect it from theft, damage or simply being lost.
- Damage or loss of office and depot property: Failures of office property can have carry-on effects that make other risks more likely, such as an electronic system failure leading to misplaced luggage.
- Cybersecurity threats: If you process a lot of credit card details, or maintain other confidential consumer information electronically, it’s important to have appropriate security.
- Poor customer service: Whether in response to an incident, in the face of an unreasonable customer or as the result of a simple mistake, it can be hard to repair a poor reputation.
- Driver error or other fault: No matter how highly trained or reliable a driver is, there is always a risk of mistakes, or other driver error, posing a threat to passengers and your business.
- Negative media coverage: Matters of public safety can be highly charged, and your business might find itself the subject of hostile media coverage.
Between mandatory workers' compensation insurance and compulsory third party insurance, you will have some type of cover. Consider the limits when selecting an insurer, and exactly how the features of a business insurance policy can protect you when things go wrong.
What does a business insurance broker do?
If you are not confident navigating all of these areas yourself, it might be time to contact a business insurance broker. They can help identify the areas which need cover and policies to suit your requirements. Having a go-to insurance professional can also make it easier to take advantage of the business insurance tax benefits.
A business insurance broker can also provide ongoing services and can become your insurance expert when the need arises. For example, after even a minor accident, you might need to deal with several claims and a number of different insurance companies, all of which need to be handled in different ways.
There may be separate issues with CTP insurance, damage to your bus, damage to the other vehicle, workers’ compensation should your driver be injured, claims from passengers with damaged possessions or injuries as well as anything else that might come up.
Insurance brokers are often personally invested in obtaining a favourable result from claims, and can be good to have on your side. If you or your drivers are on the road a lot, it’s probably only a matter of time before something happens. With an insurance broker, you’re not only getting an effective policy, but also an insurance expert when the need arises.