If you or your colleagues spend a lot of time behind a wheel for work, having a car that's safe, reliable and functional is essential. But it's just as important - maybe even more so - to make sure you're fully insured before you take your business on the road.

Over the course of this guide, we'll go into everything you need to know about business car insurance so that everyone in your business stays safe and road legal, whether you're running a simple errand or visiting clients across the country. Let's get started...

What is business car insurance?

Also known as a business use, business car insurance covers your car should you need to use it for work purposes - and no, driving your car to the office doesn't count as work.

There are three business car insurance classes, which are as follows:

  • Class 1: This covers driving between multiple places or work or travel to meet clients. Suited for the most basic business car use for the likes of building site managers, home carers and cleaners visiting different households, or people who frequently attend pre-arranged meetings with clients and customers off-site such as estate agents.
  • Class 2: The same as Class 1, but with the addition of another named driver, usually someone who works for the same business that isn't your spouse. Let's say you're a small business and you need an employee to run a business errand or you want a co-worker to attend a meeting in your car, you'd be best suited for Class 2 insurance.
  • Class 3: The most extensive class, Class 3 covers unlimited long-distance driving and door-to-door selling, something which Classes 1 and 2 do not cover. If you find yourself driving up and down the country with a small amount of products in your vehicle, Class 3 would be the best option. If you're making deliveries, however, you'd need commercial car or courier insurance.

Note that business car insurance is for privately-owned cars, rather than company-owned cars. These should be covered by commercial vehicle insurance. So if you drive a taxi or a lorry for work, you'll need commercial vehicle insurance.

You can also get temporary business car insurance too. This is used for when you don't require an annual policy, but still require insurance for a specific period of time.

Do I need business car insurance?

If you're just driving to and from an office, then your personal insurance will likely keep you covered. But you'll need business car insurance if you do any of the following during the day:

  • Run business-related errands during working hours
  • Drive to work sites or meetings in different locations
  • Drive clients or business associates
  • Make deliveries or collections
  • Let colleagues drive your car
  • Carry out door-to-door selling

What does business car insurance cover?

Much like personal car insurance, there are three main types of cover you can buy:

  • Third party only insurance (TPO): The legal minimum requirement by UK law, TPO covers costs associated with injuries and damage to others (including vehicles and property) which you caused. Damage to yourself or your car is not covered.
  • Third party, fire and theft insurance (TPFT): This covers compensation for a third party should you injure others or damage property, while also covering your vehicle if it's stolen, damaged or destroyed in a fire.
  • Fully comprehensive: Full cover that includes if your car is stolen, damaged or destroyed in an accident or fire. It can also cover personal injury after a collision, along with damage to or theft of your vehicle's contents, in addition to what is covered by TPO and TPFT.

Does business car insurance cover social use?

It does not, no. Business car insurance covers what we've already mentioned above. If you want to be covered for social use, then you'll have to opt for one of two additional classes of insurance, which are:

Social, domestic and pleasure (SD&P): This level of cover allows you to do normal day-to-day driving, whether it's heading to the shops, visiting loved ones or going on a road trip. It will not cover you for driving your car to and from work.

Social and commuting: Along with what's covered in an SD&P policy, a social and commuting policy covers you for commuting to and from your workplace - even if you don't take your car all the way to work i.e. if you drive to a train station and then get the train to work. You'll need this cover if you drop someone else off at work, even if you aren't commuting yourself.

How much is business car insurance?

With so many different levels of business car insurance available, business car insurance tends to be more costly than regular car insurance. There's also an increased risk involved with covering these vehicles, including things such as covering more miles often at peak times in unfamiliar areas, and a higher likelihood of being involved in a collision or to sustain damage through wear and tear.

There are other factors across most types of business car insurance that will decide your premium, including:

  • How often you drive your car
  • The industry you work in
  • Whether or not you're carrying any goods or equipment
  • The make and model of your car
  • Where your car is parked overnight
  • The class of business insurance you require
  • The level of cover you opt for
  • The excess you choose

As such, it's well worth shopping around and comparing insurers so you can find suitable cover at the right price. There's also a few things you can do to try and reduce the amount you pay for your premium, including:

  • Getting the right level of cover: You don't want to over insure your vehicle for things that you don't need
  • Parking in a safe place: Keeping your car in a secure garage is less of a risk than parking somewhere on street
  • Installing extra security devices: You may want to put alarms, immobilisers and steering wheel locks in place
  • Paying your premium up front: You can reduce the overall cost by paying annually in one lump sum, if you can afford it
  • Going for black box or telematics insurance: This allows your insurer to keep track of your driving habits, reducing your premium for safe driving