Helpful Van Drivers Could Get Caught out by Lack of Cover

Jan 17, 2013, 13:05 ET from AXA Business Insurance

LONDON, January 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

A study of commercial van drivers by AXA Business Insurance highlights the drawbacks of van ownership as owners are called upon by others to borrow their vans for personal purposes.

The research showed that 81% of van drivers get asked to use their van to help out friends, family and other acquaintances, with one in 10 drivers saying this happens "all the time". With many relenting to these appeals, nearly half of van drivers spend up to two hours every week using their van for non-commercial purposes.

But AXA warns there are a number of risks involved with helping out in this way which could leave you uninsured. Almost one in three van owners are unclear about whether they would be covered in theses cases.

Around a third (34%) of all requests to borrow a van related to helping a friend or relative move house, while 18% were to transport others' furniture. Many van insurances, including AXA's, are just that, insurance for the van, not its contents. So damage or loss to the goods inside would not be covered.

A further 17% of requests for a bit of help were to assist someone else's small business transit needs which would not be covered by some insurers if deemed to be a part time/secondary occupation, particularly if there was any payment involved. Nearly one in four admitted to accepting payment for the use of their van.

    Payment for use of van

    Petrol cost               28%
    None                      25%
    A favour in return        24%
    Direct financial          23%

Van owners also need to be aware that letting another driver use their van could be contravening the terms of their insurance. Even if the other driver has "driving other vehicles" cover on their private motor insurance, they should check with both their own insurer and the insurer of the van before jumping behind the wheel.

The survey revealed that van drivers face requests from a wide range of people:

    Person asking
    Immediate family          55%
    Close friends             53%
    Acquaintances             26%
    Extended family           21%

Despite this evidence of their selflessness, van drivers feel mixed emotions about being asked to use their vehicle:

    Response to being asked
    Happy to be useful        45%
    Taken for granted         26%
    Inconvenienced            17%

Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance, commented: "Often owners of commercial vans are 'employed' by friends or family to help them move furniture or carry boxes, just because they're the cheap option. However, there are a number of reasons why both driver and 'mates' should be very careful before doing this. The results of a theft or accident if not properly insured will almost certainly outweigh the savings made."  

The survey was conducted by AXA Business Insurance to better understand potential customers of its commercial direct van insurance offering.

Notes to Editors

Methodology: The survey was conducted online amongst 450 commercial van drivers throughout the UK, representing small and medium sized businesses.

About AXA Business Insurance

AXA is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and underwrites a broad range of products for individuals and businesses. AXA Business Insurance offers business insurance for sole traders, the self-employed and small businesses through its website and is designed to make buying insurance fast, secure, convenient and easy to use. Small businesses can choose Public Liability, Employers' Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance and can tailor cover to their own requirements.

About AXA

AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 163,000 employees serving 101 million clients in 57 countries. In 2011, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 86.1 billion and IFRS Underlying Earnings to Euro 3.9 billion. AXA had Euro 1,065 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2011.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth; AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Lines, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 12,000 staff in the UK.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD, and is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance.

SOURCE AXA Business Insurance