The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has seen many of our clients whose business include company vehicles or fleet of vehicles asking questions about changes to cover, given that many firms have been forced to temporarily close – with people being restricted to working from home where possible.

The Government has ordered essential journeys only until further notice but there are key services in which certain businesses will be still be operating.

Below are some tips if your business has temporarily closed and you have vehicles off the road.

Ensure company vehicles are secure whilst not being used

There are many companies who have had to park up/take vehicles off the road due to the enforced closure by Government in a national effort to beat Coronavirus. We would advise vehicles owned by the business are kept in a secure off-road location wherever possible and that all security devices are fully operative so that your motor insurance is not invalidated. Where vehicles are not being used, it is important to ensure that they are secure and protected from theft or damage – and not parked too close together.

Changes to Commercial Vehicle MOT requirements

Should you operate a truck, bus or trailer your vehicle will be exempt from needing an MOT for 3 months  which came into effect from 21 March 2020. In most cases, your vehicle or trailer will be automatically issued a 3 month exemption, and you do not need to do anything. You will not receive a paper exemption certificate but instead, your MOT will be extended by 3 months from its current due date. Please refer to  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-lorries-buses-and-trailers for more information.

If the vehicle would likely have been expected to have an MOT prior to the Government announcement of March 25 this could impact your insurance and we advise you to check with your insurance broker.

Many Insurers also reserve the right to satisfy themselves that the insured vehicle was roadworthy if an accident occurs.

Car, van or motorcycle MOTs due

Your car, motorcycle or light van MOT expiry date will be automatically extended by 6 months if it was due on or after Monday 30 March 2020. This means that your vehicle will still have a valid MOT certificate for an extra 6 months. You do not need to do anything for this to happen however you must keep your vehicle safe to drive. You can find out more about this at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

 Guidance on law of Drivers’ hours relaxed due to COVID-19

Full details of relaxation of driver’s hours are contained have been outlined by the UK Government. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-drivers-hours-relaxations/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-drivers-hours-relaxations.

The Department for Transport has said that driver safety must not be compromised. If a journey doesn’t fall under the emergency provisions, normal drivers’ hours rules must be followed.

Employees using company vehicles for volunteering purposes

Volunteering during this unprecedented period is no doubt a wonderful thing to do, if you are able to do so. If using a company vehicle for this purpose however you must notify your insurer before doing so, just because you are doing something good doesn’t mean your insurer will just allow it. You must be aware that theft of any goods being carried is likely not to be covered either and you must again ensure that its acceptable to your insurers.  If the vehicle concerned belongs to a lease company, you should also get their confirmation that this form of use is acceptable. Wherever goods or medicines are being carried, the vehicle should not be left loaded and unattended.

General considerations for all vehicle operators:

  • Away from insurance, petrol stations and the handling of pumps allow the virus to spread so supplying essential drivers with gloves for handling fuel pumps is strongly recommended.
  • We strongly encourage drivers to ensure they take all precautions as per usual such as ensuring tyre pressure, oil, windscreen fluid and water are at correct levels and that vehicles are fully maintained in an efficient and roadworthy condition to avoid breakdowns putting yourselves and emergency services at risk.
  • Delivery services are offering contact free drop off wherever possible which avoids customers physically signing for goods.
  • In respect of vehicle servicing – this should be done as soon as practically possible.
  • Ensure all vehicle parts touched such as door handles, gear stick and steering wheel are cleaned with anti-bacterial wipes. It would also be sensible to use appropriate Personal Protection Equipment, ensuring you follow the Government guidelines for washing your hands to prevent the spread of the virus.

We appreciate this is an extremely difficult time for businesses and where possible we want to explain the insurance position the best we can. This is a fast-moving story and these updates will continue during the coming weeks, as information is subject to change on a daily basis.

Should you have any questions please contact a specialist insurance advisor at Real Insurance on 0330 058 0260.