Saturday, August 27, 2011

Insurance for goods in transit

Posted by Muhammad Ashraf at 7:20 AM

Many businesses need to get goods from one place to another - whether it's delivering to a customer or picking up from a warehouse or the cash and carry. The last thing you need is for those goods to be damaged in an accident or stolen.
Not only will you have the lost goods to worry about, but also the loss of profits, client goodwill and possibly even the loss of future contracts - more than one in four victims of commercial vehicle theft end up losing business as a result [source: the Home Office].
As well as protecting yourself with the right business insurance policy, there's plenty you can do to minimise the chances of something going wrong in transit.

Protect yourself

Firstly, put some effort into recruiting honest and reliable drivers:
  • Check any references given by new drivers and check their previous work history. Make sure you speak to previous employers rather than just relying on phone numbers given by the applicant.
  • It may seem obvious, but make sure any potential drivers have a valid licence without any endorsements.
  • Also, see if applicants have any prosecutions pending or are waiting for sentencing by a court.
  • If you use agency drivers, make sure they come from reputable agencies that carry out thorough checks.
Once you have recruited your driver(s), make sure they understand the importance of security to the business and specifically the security measures in place for their vehicle.
Build security duties and responsibilities into your company's contract of employment and make it clear that drivers will face disciplinary proceedings or dismissal if they fail to carry out these duties.
Include your company's security instructions in the driver's introduction to the company and driver's handbook.
Again, it may seem obvious, but make sure your drivers always lock and secure their vehicles when they leave them somewhere. Also, ask them to report any irregularities in loading, locking or sealing procedures, or in any documents involved.
Use security equipment on your vehicles, such as immobilisers and alarms - it will make your vehicles less attractive to thieves. Check regularly that drivers understand how the security equipment fitted to their vehicle works.

Making sure you're covered

Direct Line Van Insurance will cover the van itself, but not the goods inside it. To cover these you will need to take out separate business insurance. If you're a sports clothing retailer, for example, and a delivery of top of the range football boots is stolen, Direct Line shop insurance will cover you, up to an agreed limit, for loss occurring anywhere in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland, including during sea transits between any of these places - as long as the boots were not stolen from an unlocked vehicle. It's important to note that there are limitations to the cover provided - if you leave your van unlocked and unsecured out of hours, your insurance could be invalid. If you would like to read more about cover limitations and the value of goods covered, you can view our shop insurance policy document in the relevant section of this website.
If the van carrying your boots crashes and the boots are damaged, you will also be covered under our shop insurance policy.
If you are a tradesman, such as a carpenter, you will need to take out Direct Line tradesman insurance to protect your tools if they get stolen from your van. But remember that the tools will only be covered if the van is locked during the day and kept in a locked building or guarded security park during the night.
It is essential to take responsibility for ensuring your vehicles are securely locked at all times when transporting goods. If a vehicle is left unlocked, any insurance you have against theft would not be valid.
If the worst does happen, despite your efforts, and your goods are damaged or stolen, make sure your business doesn't suffer unnecessarily by taking out the relevant business insurance policy.

Related information:

Employers' liability insurance - this is compulsory insurance for all businesses that employ staff. Find out how to take out cover with Direct Line for Business.
Van Insurance - get a quote and buy online.
Public liability insurance - our insurance for retailers covers for a range of risks including goods in transit, loss of income, employer's, product and public liability and more.
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