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Leaseing A Commercial Vehicle

If you’re thinking of leasing a commercial vehicle on a short or long term contract, you will find a number of hire companies operating in the UK that hire out lorries, vans, trucks, buses, and mini buses on a weekly, monthly, or even annual basis.

But before you hire a commercial vehicle there are a few things you should be aware of, such as vehicle insurance, driving licence requirements, and what to do if you are involved in an accident while driving the hire vehicle. Here we give you the low down on hiring a commercial vehicle.

Insurance

Commercial vehicle hire companies are required to provide third party insurance within the cost of their hire rates on all the vehicles they lease out. However, the vehicle's insurance is subject to an excess value, and therefore when you collect your commercial vehicle you'll be asked to leave a credit/debit card deposit to the value of this excess. The excess amount will depend on the type of vehicle you choose – larger vehicles such as lorries and buses will have higher excesses than smaller ones such as vans or mini buses. When you return the vehicle undamaged, the excess value will be returned to your credit/debit card in full. In the unfortunate event that you damage the hire car, your maximum liability is limited to the insurance excess value.

Drivers

Most commercial vehicle hire companies will only allow drivers between the ages of 25 and 70 years to drive one of their vehicles, even those of only up 7.5 tons GVW. In addition drivers of 7.5 tonne vehicles should have passed their driving test prior to January 1997. Anyone who passed his or her test after this time will also need a HGV licence. Certain companies may allow drivers aged between 21 and 25 to drive one of their minibuses or small vans, if they arrange their own fully comprehensive insurance for the length of the lease.

Driving Licences

Drivers must have held a full, clean driving licence for at least two years to be able to drive a hired commercial vehicle, and they must produce this valid driving licence when collecting the vehicle.

UK residents with a photocard licence must produce both the photocard and the counterpart when collecting the vehicle. Sometimes a second form of ID, such as a passport or utility bill, is also required.

International visitors wanting to hire a commercial vehicle must produce their national driving licence, passport, and, for some vehicle hire companies, their return travel tickets, along with a UK telephone number where they can be contacted.

Accident

If you are involved in an accident while driving your hire vehicle you must first get a police incident number (sometimes referred to as a crime number) and pass it on to the vehicle hire company for insurance purposes. You should then inform the hire company from whom you collected the vehicle and, depending on the circumstances, they may provide you with another commercial vehicle.

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