Think Insurance, UK, Walsall

What Is Motor Trade Insurance and What Is Covered?

Motor Trade Insurance Explained

Motor Trade insurance is the general name for the type of insurance policy offered to people working within the car industry. This includes buying and selling vehicles for profit (Traders), fixing vehicles (Mechanics & Mobile Mechanics), cleaning vehicles (Valeters), moving vehicles (Car Jockeys) or recovering them if they’ve broken down (Vehicle Recovery Agents).

What Levels Of Cover Are Available For Traders?

There are two types of Motor Trade insurance available: 1.) Road Risk Only, and 2.) Combined cover. A Road Risk policy is aimed at people who operate from home and small businesses with minimal assets. This can include mobile mechanics and car salesman who operate from their driveway or run a mobile business.

Road Risk

A Road Risk insurance policy can cover you to drive any vehicle in your possession (such as ones you own or in your stock), for either personal use or for motor trade purposes. You are also covered for vehicles belonging to your customers, where driving is required to carry out your work.

Motor Trade Combined

A Combined policy can also cover your buildings, contents, tools, equipment and money too. As with standard Car insurance, Trade policies come in three levels of cover – Third Party Only, Third Party, Fire & Theft, and Comprehensive cover. Each level of cover offers a different level of protection.


Additional Cover Available

There are also a number of additional Liability products available to Motor Traders – Public Liability, Employers’ Liability, and Product Liability (also known as Sales & Service Indemnity). Public Liability covers you against any claims made against you by members of the public for personal injury or damage to property, whilst Product Liability covers any work you carry out or parts that you fit, in case they are faulty. Employers’ Liability is a legal requirement for any business with employees, covering you in case of personal injury or illness caused as a result of the work they carry out.

Types of Cover

  • Third Party Cover
  • Third Party, Fire & Theft Cover
  • Comprehensive Cover
  • Employers’ Liability Cover
  • Product Liability Cover
  • Public Liability Cover
  • Road Risk
  • Combined Cover

Understanding Motor Trade Insurance

Understand what a Motor Trade insurance policy is and who needs one.

Whether it’s your first time getting cover or your 50th, properly understanding Motor Trade insurance can mean you get the best out of your policy.

What’s The Difference Between Motor Trade and Private Car Insurance?

A regular Car insurance policy would only cover you for driving your car, or someone else’s, for private or business use, depending upon the policy and level of cover. In contrast, a Trade policy is designed for those who work with or own multiple cars, including customer’s cars. Due to the high volume and frequency of vehicle changes in your possession, it would be a lot of hassle to update the insurer for each car being covered if they only had a private car policy!

What Levels Of Cover Are Available For Motor Trade Insurance?

There are two types of Motor Trade insurance available: Road Risk Only and Motor Trade Combined cover. A Road Risk policy is aimed at traders who operate from home and small traders with minimal assets. This can include traders such as mobile mechanics and car salesman who operate from their driveway or run a mobile business.

Three basic levels of cover are available:

Third Party Only (TPO)

Similar to the Private Car equivalent, this is the most basic level of cover, and only covers the third party if you are involved in a crash that is deemed to be your fault. A Road Risk Third Party Only policy would be the most basic (and the legal minimum) amount of cover available to motor traders.

Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT)

This covers the same as TPO above, but also includes fire damage to/theft of your vehicle or a customer’s car – unless you have been involved in a crash that’s your fault.


This includes all of the benefits of a Third Party, Fire and Theft policy, but you will also be covered for any damage to your car whether it’s your fault or not. There are some businesses who may only need a Road Risk policy but want some additional cover in the form of Liability insurance, such as those who employ an extra person to help with their business, who will need Employers’ Liability cover. Mobile mechanics who operate from home may also find having Product Liability cover useful, to cover them in case any of the parts they fit are faulty and cause damage to a customer’s vehicle as a result.

For those who operate from a specific premises and have customers visiting their place of business, they may want Public Liability cover in addition to their main policy. Most motor traders that have a specific business premises will need to take out a Combined policy, as this will cover much more than a Road Risk Only policy, including tools & equipment, stock of vehicles, business interruption, the building itself and more.

To sum up, the more complex your business is, the more complex your Motor Trade insurance policy will need to be, so that you are properly insured for any scenario, whether that’s damage to a vehicle whilst on the road, or theft of machinery after a break in at your business premises.

Who Needs Motor Trade Insurance?

If you work in the industry, whether you’re selling, buying, fixing, moving, cleaning or recovering vehicles, then you need Motor Trade insurance to protect you and your customers should anything happen. Whether you work from home or from premises, are full-time or part-time, if you work in any of the professions listed below then you need to consider getting cover in place.

Motor Trade insurance is strictly for those who operate a business, and not general members of the public looking for a cheaper way to get cover for a number of vehicles. If you are unclear on whether you are eligible for a Motor Trade policy, there is a large range of vehicle professions that may need a policy, whether it’s Road Risk cover you’re after, or a Motor Trade Combined policy. The list of trades can include:

The 'motor trade' is a broad term that can cover a number of professions and businesses – but anyone who works with vehicles as their business may need a policy, whether it’s a Road Risk policy or a Combined one. This can include:

Vehicle Sales

Vehicle Sales insurance policies are aimed at those that buy and sell vehicles for profit. It doesn’t matter if this is your full-time job, or you do it on a part-time basis alongside another occupation. We can cover those working from home or from a specific business premises, and can tailor your policy to cover the things you need as part of your profession, such as demonstration cover, goods-in-transit or stock of vehicles. For larger businesses, we also offer cover for buildings, contents, tools and money.


As a mechanic, you’ll need a policy to cover you against a number of things specific to the work you carry out. You’ll need cover that allows you to drive customer’s vehicles for testing and diagnosis, and you’ll likely need protection for your tools and equipment such as lifting machinery and vehicle ramps. If you’re selling and fitting parts, then you may also want Sales & Service Liability just in case anything goes wrong with the work that you do or the parts that you fit.


Body Shops

Our Body Shop insurance policies can be tailored to suit your business, with cover for your machinery, all of your tools and specialist equipment (such as spraying booths), your premises and its contents as well. If you have vehicles or courtesy cars, these can be covered, and if your business has employees, we can cover them too with our Employers’ Liability. You can also add Public Liability or Sales & Service Indemnity, to make sure you’re covered if anything should happen to a member of the public, or as a result of the work you have carried out.

Vehicle Recovery

If you run a Vehicle Recovery business, or work as a sub-contractor for somebody else, then there are several things you’ll need to make sure are covered in any insurance policy you take out. You need to cover your own vehicles and recovery trucks, as well as any that you are towing or recovering whilst they are on the back of your truck. You may also want to protect your tools and equipment, as well as your premises and any contents. If you have any staff then you’ll also need Employers’ Liability, whether that’s for a recovery agent, or a part-time bookkeeper doing your accounts.

Tyre Fitters

Working as a tyre fitter means you’ll need a policy that covers you for driving customer’s vehicles, as well as protecting the work you do and the parts you fit. Your garage may have vehicle ramps and lifting equipment that you’ll want to protect, and you may even have employees working for you that need covering too. All of these things can be protected under a Tyre Fitters insurance policy with Think, whether you’re a full-time or part-time trader.


Our Valeters policies are created specifically to suit professional valeters and vehicle detailers, whether you work from a designated premise, work from home, or provide a mobile valeting service. We’ll provide you cover to move your customer’s vehicles, as well as protecting your tools, equipment, and stock against theft and damage. Working with chemicals and cleaning products means there is always the chance that an accident will occur, so we’ll cover you and your business, and protect your employees, your customers and their vehicles too.

Cleaning A Car

Car Jockeys

Our policies for Car Jockeys provide cover for you to drive your customer’s vehicles to and from designated premises and storage sites. You may only be moving vehicles a short distance, but you still need to protect yourself and your customers. We can also cover your premises, buildings, contents and any equipment you may have, as well as offering Public and Employers’ Liability cover too.

Mobile Mechanics

A Mobile Mechanics policy can cover you for testing and diagnosing the vehicles you’re called out to, as well as protecting your own vehicles, tools and equipment too. As a mobile mechanic, you will be working wherever the customer needs you, so having Public Liability cover will protect you against claims made against you for injury to a member of the public or damage to their property. We can also provide Sales and Service Indemnity to cover any work you do and parts you fit, just in case there’s anything wrong with them.

Top Tips

When arranging your Motor Trade insurance, there are a number of things you should consider: Never be tempted to lie about your circumstances – Your policy is based on the details you provide when getting your quote. Sometimes you may know that certain answers will cause your price to increase, and so be tempted to lie, or leave out certain details to reduce your premium. However, when we find out, your policy can be cancelled and made void, and any pending claims could be rejected. This could lead to further problems if you were required by law to have cover, and it will make getting cover in future very difficult.

Carefully consider who to add to your policy

The more drivers you add to your policy, whether they be employees, business partners or members of your family, the greater the risk you pose to the insurer as there is more chance of someone being involved in an accident. Therefore, to keep your premium down, always consider who you want to include on the policy as their circumstances can affect how much you pay. Drivers under the age of 25 will have a significant impact on the cost of your insurance as they are seen as a much higher risk. Similarly, drivers with driving convictions or criminal convictions can increase your premium, and in some cases, make it difficult to get cover at all.

Take a thorough look at your business – Insuring your business is a process not to be taken lightly, and should involve a thorough review of your business. This includes looking at how you operate now and how you plan to operate in the coming months. Take a look at all aspects of your business, including the premises you operate from, any tools & equipment you may use and the cars that come under your care.

Consider additional drivers carefully

When taking a look at your business you may recognise that you need to have additional drivers on your policy. However, to keep costs down and to make sure you don’t need to claim, carefully consider who is named as a driver on your Motor Trade insurance policy. If you can, try to avoid young drivers and anyone with a poor driving history such as multiple claims and/or convictions.

Know the law

You’ll be well aware that in order to drive on UK roads you must have, at the very least, Third Party cover. However, there may be additional covers you need to take out to satisfy the law, such as Employers’ Liability cover if you have any employees.

Be truthful

When taking out your policy it’s important to be 100% truthful. Omitting certain aspects of your claims history or not being honest about where vehicles are kept can and will end up with your policy being cancelled, leaving you with no cover and a black mark against you.

If you only need a Part Time policy, then get a part time policy! – If you only operate on a part time basis you must get a Part Time policy, as they are designed specifically for part time traders. If you get a regular Motor Trade insurance policy when you don’t qualify, you will most likely have your cover cancelled or any ongoing claims rejected.

Don’t snub additional products

When taking out cover you may be offered a wide range of additional products and think nothing of it when rejecting the chance to add them to your policy. However, this might not be the best route to take. For example, if you run a used vehicle sales business and don’t take out Stock of Vehicles cover, your cars won’t be covered at your business premises.

Consider Liability insurance

Working in this industry, you’ll most likely need three types of Liability cover; Employers’, Public and Product Liability. Whilst the former has been covered in ‘Know the law’, it’s important you research Public Liability and Product Liability as both could offer further protection for your business.

Get the right cover for your business

Some traders will be looking for cheap cover whereas others will be on the hunt for the best policy that money can buy. However, there could be a sweet spot right in the middle! The best policy might not necessarily be the right one for you; Yes, it might cover everything, but you may end up taking out unnecessary cover for things you don’t need such as Demonstration cover on a Mobile Mechanic insurance policy. On the flip side, opting for the cheapest policy might not provide enough cover, such as not having Demo cover as a used vehicle seller, or something else fundamental to the running of your business.

Speak to a specialist

If you’ve got any doubts about what type of policy you need and what you should include, then we always recommend speaking to a specialist broker such as ourselves. At Think we have over 30 years of experience in Motor Trade insurance, and any member of our specialist team will be happy to help you get the right cover for your business.

Keep the MID up to date

For many traders, there will be a requirement to regularly update the Motor Insurance Database (MID) due to the amount of vehicles used and owned, so remember if you have any temporary vehicles such as hire cars or courtesy vehicles, or customer’s car is in your possession for more than 14 days, you must update the MID. Find more information on updating the MID by reading our What is Motor Insurers Database FAQ.

Other tips for reducing the cost of your cover include increasing your policy Excess, building up your No Claims Bonus, looking at where your vehicles are parked or stored, and providing proof of trading to demonstrate you run a legitimate motor trade business. All of these things, if managed properly, can help reduce the cost of your cover.

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  1. Motor Trade Insurance >>
    1. 1 What Is Motor Trade Insurance
    2. 1.1 Good Motor Trade Insurance Video
    3. 1.2 Road Risk Insurance
    4. 1.3 Combined Insurance
    5. 2 Understanding Motor Trade Insurance
    6. 2.1 Whats The Difference Between Car Insurance and Motor Trade Insurance
    7. 2.2 What Levels Of Cover Are Available For Motor Trade Insurance
    8. 2.3 Three basic levels of cover are available
    9. 3 Who Needs Motor Trade Insurance
    10. 3.1 Vehicle Sales Insurance
    11. 3.2 Mechanics Insurance
    12. 3.3 Body Shop Insurance
    13. 3.4 Vehicle Recovery Insurance
    14. 3.5 Tyre Fitters Insurance
    15. 3.6 Valeters Insurance
    16. 3.7 Car Jockey Insurance
    17. 3.8 Mobile Mechanics Insurance
    18. 4 Top Tips For Motor Traders
  1. Motor Trade Insurance FAQs >>
  1. Motor Trade Insurance Articles >>
  1. Motor Trade Insurance Pages >>