What exactly is a Hazardous Goods Fleet?
Hazardous Goods Fleets are specialist vehicle fleets that are designed expressly for the carriage of non-standard cargo that a regular commercial insurance policy would not typically cover you for. Hazardous Goods is a vague term that does not explain very well the common payloads that fall under the definition, though these are surprisingly diverse in terms of their nature:
- Chemicals/toxic waste
- Blood, organs, clinical waste and human waste
- Explosives/highly combustible/inflammable materials
- Highly corrosive fluids
Although not an exhaustive list, these categories offer an idea of the typical kind of goods carried under Hazardous Goods Fleets insurance. From camping gas cylinders to human organs being transported to a hospital ready for a transplant, the range of Hazardous Goods that require specialist care is enormous; this is where Hazardous Goods Fleet insurance comes into play.
What else should I know about Carriage of Hazardous Goods?
If you carry Hazardous Goods it is paramount that you have the correct cover in place to protect you in the event of an incident. Without the right insurance in place you could find yourself at fault and in very serious legal trouble should the worst happen. Hazardous Goods can contaminate, destroy or even cause death if exposure is not controlled correctly, meaning it is especially important to ensure the Hazardous Goods Fleet insurance you purchase provides adequate cover for the nature of your cargo.
In addition to the correct insurance, it is of utmost importance that you remain fully versed in the latest industry regulation and aware of other facets of Hazardous Goods Fleet operations, including:
- Accord Dangereux Routier Legislation (ADR)
- Low Emissions Certification (LEC) for the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ)
- Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR)
- Up-plating/Downplating Procedures
Hazardous Goods transporters whether light goods vehicles, tankers or flatbeds must adhere to strict regulations including rear stickers and hazardous material indicators, and any deviation from legal requirements could invalidate your insurance in the event of an incident. On the subject of invalidating your insurance, carrying hazardous goods when you are not adequately covered is a sure fire way to end up entrenched in a legal battle if an incident does occur. A common example of drivers carrying hazardous goods without proper cover would be when people transport large quantities of fireworks without checking if their policy permits it.
Regarding CER (Carriage of Explosives Regulation), the ‘small load exemption’ (ADR 188.8.131.52) of ADR Legislation which refers to ‘Limited Quantity’ (LQ0) of dangerous goods means the majority of ADR regulation is not applicable to the transport of retail fireworks, however this does not mean your insurance policy will offer cover as standard.
Typically commercial vehicles must undergo annual testing to ensure they adhere to regulations and that they are roadworthy. If you are using vehicles (notably HGV’s) for the bulk transport of explosives or other Hazardous Goods then you will need to submit each involved vehicle to an ADR test. The ADR test will specifically check the suitability and maintenance of fixed tanks, demountable tanks, batteries and pressure vessels.
How expensive is Hazardous Goods Fleet insurance?
It is important to understand that Hazardous Goods fleets are deemed very high risk by insurers and as a result premiums tend to reflect this. In the event of a claim for an accident involving a Hazardous Goods fleet vehicle, there is a high chance it will be serious due to the nature of the cargo. A spillage of corrosive chemicals across a public carriageway, or the risk of highly combustible materials exploding for example would elevate claims costs very quickly. Since premiums are dictated by the risk of a claim and the predicted claims costs, it stands to reason that Hazardous Goods Fleet insurance can cost a lot in comparison to other fleet policies.
Connect Insurance have been in the industry for almost three decades now and have extensive experience with arranging bespoke cover for all manner of Fleet operations, including Hazardous Goods fleets. We are exceptionally well positioned to negotiate with leading insurance companies in the UK thanks to our carefully nurtured business relationships. With a broker such as Connect Insurance you can be confident that you are getting the most suitable cover for the risks of your operation, whilst also keeping the cost as competitive as possible.