Coach and bus insurance

Whether it's for private hire or public use, see how to get the right insurance for your coach or bus.

From London’s famous red buses to coach tours up and down the country, the humble bus is an integral part of British life. But if you’re a bus or coach driver, it can be hard to know the type of insurance you’ll need.

Use our guide to learn how to find the right cover, and how you can save money.

What is coach and bus insurance?

Coach and bus insurance covers the general use and operation of large passenger vehicles, whether for a fleet or a single commercial vehicle. It can provide protection for the drivers, passengers and business operators as well as public liability cover for incidents involving the general public.

Bus and coach insurance is available to private hire firms, coach companies and sole contractors as well as charities and other groups.

Do I need coach insurance?

Yes, as with any other type of vehicle, you need at least third party insurance to legally drive in the UK.

While it’s not a legal requirement to have public liability cover for your coach or bus, it’s also definitely worth considering. Otherwise, you may be on the hook for expensive compensation claims or legal costs in the event that a passenger or member of the public is injured as a result of your actions. You may also want to get cover to protect you against any accidental damage caused to your vehicle.

What cover options are there?

Vehicle insurance is a legal requirement for all drivers in the UK, and insurers offer three main levels of cover:

  • Third party. This is the most basic level of insurance available and only covers any damage or injury you cause to another person or vehicle in an accident.
  • Third party, fire and theft. Along with covering any damage caused in an accident, this level of cover also protects you from fire damage and theft.
  • Fully comprehensive. With this policy, you’ll be covered for any accidental damage caused to your vehicle as well as be insured against fire, theft and third party.

Depending on how you use your bus, it may be worth looking at fully comprehensive insurance. This will cover you against any expensive repairs or costs if your bus is damaged or destroyed. If you’re a private operator or own a fleet of buses, you may also want to consider the following types of cover:

  • Public liability. This will cover you from any damage or injury caused to members of the public. If you operate your bus or coach in well-populated or tourist areas, public liability insurance is definitely worth keeping in mind.
  • Breakdown cover. It can be very expensive to repair a bus, and you’ll likely be losing revenue while your vehicle remains out of service. Breakdown cover can protect you from the cost of expensive repairs and some policies may even offer a temporary replacement vehicle so you can continue operating.
  • Tour Operators Liability. If you operate a tour, you can protect yourself from customer compensation, such as refunds or reimbursements if the tour is cancelled.
  • Employers liability. If you own a fleet of buses, this policy can cover you if anything happens to your drivers while they’re operating your vehicles.

How much does coach insurance cost?

This depends on the type of cover you need as well as on how you use your bus or coach. A driver looking to get third party only cover for the personal use of their bus is likely to pay a lot less than a commercial operator who also needs public liability and breakdown cover.

If you own a fleet of vehicles, you may be able to get discounted cover by insuring the entire fleet on the same policy.

What are the typical exclusions on coach cover?

Like with regular car insurance, there are a number of exclusions that generally won’t be covered under your bus or coach policy, including the following:

  • Use by an unlicensed or unlisted driver. If your coach or bus is operated by a driver without the correct licence or one not listed on the insurance policy, you won’t be covered.
  • Inappropriate use of the vehicle. This may include driving the vehicle off-road or any other manner not covered by the policy.
  • Damage from war or terrorism. This is a standard exclusion that applies to most vehicle insurance policies.

How to get cheap coach insurance

  • Pay a higher excess. You can reduce the size of your insurance premiums by agreeing to a higher excess. This is the amount you’ll have to pay when you make a claim, but it will help you save on the ongoing cost of insurance.
  • Compare a range of options. Bus and coach insurance is a specialised type of cover, and many insurers offer tailored policies designed for private drivers, fleet operators and personal use. Make sure you research a number of providers and policies to find the one that offers the best value.
  • Only get the cover you need. You may be tempted to take out the most comprehensive policy available, but you could end up paying for cover you don’t need.
  • Get multi-vehicle insurance. If you have a fleet of buses or coaches, you may receive a discount if you insure them all under the one policy.

Frequently asked questions

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