Black cab drivers in London know all the routes, after all they have passed the infamous Knowledge test. So, it won’t come as a surprise when you get into a taxi and the driver knows the quickest route to your next destination. Those in this industry will also be well aware of the PCO (Public Carriage Office), a division of Transport for London (TfL).

This department is responsible for licensing black cabs and a number of other taxis. If you’re planning to work in the Capital, you’ll need PCO insurance and the accompanying specialist license.

What is PCO Insurance?

Public Carriage Office cover is a type of taxi insurance for metered taxis and minicabs in London. This is for those who are operating private ‘hire or reward’ vehicles.

What levels of PCO cover are there?

Like a traditional car insurance policy, there are three main levels of cover to choose from when operating as a taxi driver in London. These are: Third-party only, Third-party, fire and theft and Comprehensive.

Third-party only is the minimum legal requirement. As expected, a comprehensive PCO insurance policy will offer you the most coverage. Many taxi drivers assume that this level of cover will cost them a lot more, but more often than not, it will only cost slightly more, depending on your circumstances such as previous claims history.

Types of PCO cover

It is important to note that PCO insurance covers two different types of policies. These are the following:

London public hire taxi insurance – Normally referred to as black cab insurance. This will cost a little bit more than a private hire policy.

London private hire taxi insurance – Commonly referred to as minicab insurance, this could offer drivers a slightly cheaper option.

How to reduce your PCO insurance premium

Similar to any type of insurance policy, there are a number of smart ways that you can cut the premium cost. One of the best ways to lower this is to compare cover by using an online comparison site. You will also want to be aware of the different risk factors that determine the price you will be expected to pay. Here are some of the most common risk factors:

  • Previous driving and claims history
  • Number of years you have held a taxi license
  • Your age
  • The make, model, and age of your vehicle
  • Where your car is kept when you’re not working

How can I get the best PCO insurance deal?

After considering the above risk factors, you’ll want to think about the various ways you can lower your annual PCO insurance premium.

Compare PCO insurance quotes

As mentioned previously, the best way to get a cheaper quote is to compare PCO insurance by using an online comparison site. Simply fill in a form asking you about your current circumstances and requirements, and you’ll be given a number of options to choose from. These can be filtered by price and it shouldn’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes to obtain a free no-obligation quote.

Switch your insurance before your renewal

Once your existing policy is due for renewal, there’s a good chance your current insurer will provide you with a much higher quote. Before you automatically renew for another 12 months, compare your renewal quote with other market-leading companies.

Be a safer taxi driver

You can actually lower your premium by being a responsible driver. This can be achieved by maintaining a clean driving license without any penalty points. You should always follow road safety guidelines, for your own benefit and that of the general public. If an insurer can see that you’re not driving recklessly, you’ll be rewarded with cheaper cover.

Ensure your minicab is in good condition

You should regularly service your vehicle to ensure it’s in tip-top condition. Not only will this help you be a safer driver, but you’ll also reduce the chances of having a mechanical failure, which could cost you a lot more to fix with repairs. This will also mean that you won’t have to pursue a claim.

Make sure your vehicle is secure

You should park your taxi in a safe location when it’s not in use. This will make it difficult for thieves to steal or damage it. Having a car alarm or immobiliser will also deter thieves. Some drivers also install dash cameras.

25 and up

A number of taxi insurance policies will require you to be at least 25 years old. It can be a challenge to find a quote if you’re a younger driver. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wait until it’s your 25th birthday, that way you won’t have to pay over the odds for specialist cover.

Hopefully this simple guide has given you a good understanding of PCO insurance. Before buying your next policy, we recommend that you carefully read the terms and conditions so you are fully aware of what you’re actually covered for, as well as any limitations and exclusions that may be applicable.