‘Beast from the East’ creates £35 million vehicle insurance bill

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As we roll into spring, the worst of this year’s winter storms are thankfully behind us – but for many couriers, taxi drivers, HGV operators and others in the logistics trade, the Beast from the East has been a bitter pill to swallow, after many faced disruptions for the best part of a week.

According to AA estimates, approximately over 100,000 drivers required roadside assistance during one of the worst storms in recent UK history. However, the good news is that it remains unlikely that there will be any major impact on motor trade insurance premiums overall.

Bigger issues

A spokesperson for the AA highlighted that there were generally “bigger influences” on HGV insurance, fleet insurance and taxi insurance than a week of inclement weather.

While it’s not strictly possible to produce specific figures on how many commercial vehicles were affected by the snowfall, it is estimated that somewhere in the region of 108,000 drivers received assistance over the course of a week – one-third more than usual in the same snow-free time-period.

Not prepared

Despite improvements in weather warning technology, it appears the UK is still underprepared for large snowfall. Inevitably, this means that vehicle fleets get caught up in drifts and icy patches when the weather hits.

Many insurers offered winter driving advice to commercial customers, with winter checklists and infographics available online to help prepare commercial drivers before the worst of the storms hit UK shores.

Social media awareness

In future, fleet insurance providers are urging commercial drivers to follow them on social media platforms to keep up to date with the latest weather news and driving advice – although many accept that in severe weather conditions there is precious little that can be done.

Most businesses adopted a “common sense approach”, added the AA spokesperson, pointing out that scheduled maintenance and tyre appointments had been put on hold until it was declared safe to drive – but this postponement of essential maintenance led to more downtime in the industry post-storm.

Thankfully, the poor weather hasn’t affected premiums too badly for most fleet companies, which means that it’s still possible to find cheap motor trade insurance online.