An End to Commuting?

“To think when I was first ordained I thought one of the perks was no longer having to commute” one member told us last week. He went on to outline a particularly busy day which involved, amongst other things, an assembly, two meetings, two funeral visits, two services, one wedding rehearsal and nearly 100 miles behind the wheel. Despite being generally considered to ‘work from home’ for many people in ministry, particularly those in rural areas, this amount of business miles is often the norm. So when they apply to the credit union for a car loan they are looking for a low cost loan to buy something that is reliable and economical to run, and a getting a good deal on insurance is a big consideration.

However, it is easy to get caught with the wrong kind of insurance for the type of trips you may make as a minister in the course of your day, journeys such as such as travelling between different churches or to the crematorium, hospital visits or using your car to give lifts to parishioners will all be classed as business use even if they don’t seem like it. For instance if a churchwarden gives the vicar a lift to a meeting it is ‘social, domestic or pleasure’ but if the vicar gives a lift to the churchwarden – it is business!

Ministers using their cars for church work need business use included in their insurance to ensure they are covered for all aspects of their driving. According to research completed by the ‘Driving Business Safely – Get a Grip’ campaign in 2014, there have been 15,753 accidents on the UK’s roads within the last 3 years. 1 in 4 of these accidents involved a driver undertaking a business activity. Getting the correct motor insurance can be a minefield, but the policy holder must ensure that they have the correct business motor policy in place or a relevant extension to a private motor policy operating or they are in danger of not being covered.

Business use insurance is available in different classes in order to cater for how different businesses use their vehicles. Business Use class 1, 2 and 3 have different levels of cover ranging from social, domestic and pleasure to extensive business travel and commercial selling. It is often the case in ministry that no two days are the same so the number of business miles may have to be calculated on a monthly or even annual average.

Using a broker is recommended because they will offer a range of covers, answer any day to day queries and aid clients in the event of a claim being made. Business use insurance policies will vary from insurer to insurer; using the services of a specialist insurance broker such as South Essex insurance brokers is helpful as they will have an understanding of exactly what the ministerial working day may entail, (other brokers may provide a similar insight).

Some specific insurance products will automatically cover business and church belongings whilst in the vehicle, however this is not always included so check as separate policy isn’t needed.

Business use is only one factor that influences the cost of your insurance. To keep premiums low, parking in a secure garage or business premises can help, also installation of security devices such as steering wheel locks, tracking devices and immobilisers. Investing in an economical car with smaller engine will not only reduce premiums, but also reduce running costs and support a greener business. Finally choose your car finance wisely, leaving more disposable income for maintenance, security and insurance.