Beki Sherratt from Bollington Insurance explains the value of goods in transit insurance

Whether you’re employed to work for a big courier company or work on a self-employed basis, the goods that you carry are your livelihood.  It therefore stands to reason that you need to protect those goods while they are out on the road.

Here’s the lowdown on what you need to ensure your deliveries are transported safely – and when they aren’t, how you might look to reclaim the costs incurred.

What is Goods in Transit insurance?

Any courier delivering goods knows that, with the best will in the world, there can be issues between the point of collection and the point of delivery – and sometimes after that.

It is not enough for you to simply insure your vehicle to carry out work as a courier.  While you certainly need courier van insurance (standard van insurance alone is not enough to cover your courier work), you also need cover for the goods that you are picking up and dropping off.  That’s where goods in transit insurance comes into play.

What are the risks?

At any stage of your journey, there is a danger that goods in transit could be:

  • Damaged
  • Lost
  • Stolen
  • Delayed

If the goods you carry belong to other people or businesses, then the danger of any one of these things happening could prove costly.  You will often be expected to carry at least some of the cost when any of the above happens to goods in transit (dependent upon the terms of the contract set out between the consigning owner of the goods and you as the carrier).

Some of the risks obviously increase dependent upon the type of goods you are carrying.  For example, if you make deliveries of high-value electrical equipment such as top-of-the-range televisions or laptops, or smaller items of value such as jewellery or watches, then theft, damage or misplacement of items can soon lead to high replacement costs.

Equally, if a timely delivery is required and an item is delayed, the recipient of an item may look to receive compensation for any losses they incur.  Goods that are mislabelled, inadvertently delivered to the wrong address, or signed for by the wrong person, are examples where goods may need to be tracked and redelivered.  This may not be easy to do in such circumstances.

Hence, while it is not a legal requirement to have goods in transit cover, it is clearly a wise move.  Without it, some companies simply won’t place business with you, as they stand to lose out financially (and reputationally) if they cannot be properly recompensed when things go wrong. 

Furthermore, you don’t want to be in a situation where you personally must pay out in any of the above circumstances, even if there is a limit to your liability.

What can I do to minimise the risks of goods in transit being lost, damaged or stolen?

  • Safe handling of goods – ensuring precious and fragile items are properly protected wherever possible is an obvious precaution. Packaging may be down to the sender in most instances, but the loading and unloading of the items on your vehicle is clearly important.
  • Tracking of goods is of paramount importance in making sure they get to and from their destination, ensuring that goods are accounted for as they loaded at the start of the journey and unloaded at the end.
  • Vehicle security – making sure your vehicle is fitted with good quality alarms and tracking devices not only acts as a deterrent to theft of items inside the vehicle, it also means that your insurer is more likely to cover you if a theft occurs. You might also consider installing cameras and telematics devices in your vehicle, as these can sometimes also make a difference to your insurance costs.

Make sure of the basics – for example, locking your vehicle if it is unattended, even for a minute. 

Apart from cover for my vehicle and goods in transit, what other risks are there?

Dealing with members of the public – whether delivering to residential accommodation or business premises – is an inevitable part of being a courier driver.  To defend yourself against a claim for injury to people or their property while you carry out your work, public liability insurance should be purchased.

If you employ anybody to deliver items on your behalf – or for any other reason – then it’s highly likely that employers’ liability insurance is a legal insurance requirement, to protect against claims made by employees or their families following any injury, illness, or fatality while they are working for you.

There are other specialist products that are designed to for your specific circumstances – for example, Directors’ and Officers’ insurance can protect you for claims made against you personally, following decisions you have made in your role as a Director or senior manager of a company.

Where can you get insurance?

Courier News has partnered with Bollington Insurance to offer goods in transit cover, and can bring all your covers conveniently together in one package to save you time and money.

For example, Bollington’s goods in transit policy also provides public liability cover, so you don’t have to purchase them separately.

Equally, you don’t have to pick and choose which covers you need but you can do if you want – because Bollington can cover your courier van, goods in transit and liabilities separately.  Then when you come to renew your insurance, you can spread the cost with finance plans available (subject to acceptance), bringing all your covers together in one place.

Bollington are experts in insuring courier vehicles and goods in transit insurance.  It’s easy to get a quote.  Click here to start your quote for goods in transit insurance cover now.

Need to speak to somebody? Call Bollington on 01625 348779 8:30am-6pm Mon-Fri or 9am-1pm Sat, and their friendly team of advisers (rated 4.7 out of 5 by their customers on Feefo) can guide you through everything you need to stay protected while out on the roads – leaving you to just get on with delivering the goods!

By Alison