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All posts by Eamonn Turley

Convicted driver insurance for Van and HGV Drivers

A convicted HGV insurance policy can be difficult to get at times and nearly always more expensive than what others pay for cover. This is due to the increase in risk insurance firms place on the person convicted of a crime including drink driving.

How long does a drink driving conviction last on my record?

The drink driving conviction is known by the DR10 endorsement for first time offenders on a person’s driver’s licenses. This endorsement will be in place from the day of the conviction by the driver for drink driving until exactly 5 calendar years later at which time it will then be considered spent. In that 5 year span by law, anyone with this conviction must declare it when taking out an insurance policy.

What should be known is that the DR10 conviction will actually be on a person’s driver’s licenses for up to 11 years. The final 6 years do not have to be declared to an insurance firm, but the courts will know about it just in case there is another drink driving offense committed.

Can I get insurance right after my drink driving conviction?

The most common answer is no. On the day of a drink driving conviction, the license of the convicted will be banned from driving for up to 12 months for the first offense. Some courts permit the convicted driver to take a rehabilitation course that can reduce the length of the driving ban.

Is a speeding conviction classified as a criminal conviction?

No, a speeding conviction not a criminal conviction, but by having one, your insurance premium will increase. This increase is due to the added risk of insuring someone who does not always follow the rules of the road.

How can I save money on a convicted HGV insurance policy?

The reduction of risk as viewed by an insurance firm is the path to follow to lower your premium costs after a conviction. This can be accomplished for those convicted of speeding and drink driving offenses.

  • Installing a black box and dashcam in the vehicle.
  • The taking of an appropriate driving course directed to help improve the skills and knowledge which caused or contributed to the conviction.
  • Consult with a specialist insurance broker who handles convicted insurance policies.

For those drivers in need of convicted HGV insurance, be ready for a higher premium than what you paid before your conviction. By taking the suggested steps above to reduce your risk while on the road, you will see your insurance premiums get lower over time.  

Trucker glossary jargon

Truck Jargon

The world of trucking and truck insurance  comes with its fair share of jargon. Below we have complied the key terms along with a short description.

  • Gross Vehicle Weight: The weight of a vehicle and its load.
  • Train Weight: The weight of a vehicle, a trailer and its load. PLATED WEIGHT.
  • Plated Weight:Either the design weight limit given on a manufacturer’s plate or the legal weight limit given on the Department’s plate
  • Draw Bar Trailer available for carriage and reward
  • Semi-Trailer: A trailer forming part of an articulated vehicle.
  • Articulated Truck A tractor unit with a semi-trailer attached where part of the load is borne by the drawing vehicle.

Articulated Lorries (Artics) are the main vehicle category to transport goods by road. This combines a tractor unit with a trailer using a  turn-table device.  Artics have different types of trailers some of the most common are listed below:

  • Flatbed trailer - Most versatile and can be used for almost any kind of cargo one disadvantage is that the  goods need to be protected from the elements and theft.​​​​
  • Tilt trailer -  Similar to the flat bed trailer, but with a removable canopy.
  • Curtain side - Most common vehicle for road haulage and comes with a rigid roof and rear doors. The sides are PVC curtains that can be drawn back for easy loading and unloading.
  • Box trailer - Boxed rigid unit, with loading through back doors. A must for long haulage or for valuable goods.
  • Road train - a rigid vehicle at the front, which pulls a trailer behind it.
  • Low-loaders - Can be  used for transporting heavy machinery and other outsize goods. Set low to the ground for easy loading.
  • Draw Bar Trailer available for carriage and reward
  • Swap-body system -Not common and have been designed to accommodate standard cargo containers. 
Green Card and Truck Drivers - Brexit

Green Cards will be required for truck drivers if Brexit goes through

Will Green Cards will be required for truck drivers if Brexit goes through?

Truck and lorry drivers who cross the border in and out of the UK to the EU will have to be ready for a change if the Brexit goes through. The biggest change will be in the documentation that will be required including Green Cards.

What will be required to get a Green Card for travel to the EU?

To travel into the European Union after a hard Brexit occurs will require a Green Card for UK citizens. This includes all the truck drivers that regularly transport goods across the border. To get a Green Card requires a valid passport that has at least 2 full blank pages and an additional valid UK issued ID like a drivers license along with proof of insurance coverage that covers travel in the EU.

The biggest issue will be the proof of truck insurance coverage while on the roads in the EU for the truck and lorry drivers. This has to be proven before a Green Card will be issued. There is one alternative to having your UK insurance protecting you on the roads in the EU. You can purchases a policy from an EU insurance company for coverage while in the EU. The minimum amount of coverage required by EU law is third party insurance.

What is the cost of a Green Card?

It has already been stated by the Department for Transportation that the issuing of green cards will be free, but there is a catch and it is not from a government.  There has been some talk that insurance companies will charge a processing fee or other administration fee for all coverage that will include travel to the EU from the UK.

When does this Green Card Policy go into effect?

If no deal is made on Brexit by March 29, 2019, the Brexit will be classified as a hard split and Green Cards will be required to pass into the UK for EU citizens. The reverse will be true for UK citizens to pass into the EU they will be required to have a Green Card.

How long does the processing of a Green Card take?

It has been suggested that travelers apply for a Green Card should do so at least 30 days before they travel to the EU from the UK. For truck and lorry drivers to pass the border on and after March 29th they must possess a Green Card if no Brexit plan is decided on by the governments involved. That is now less than 60 days away.

It is always best to be prepared. In the case of UK drivers now is the time to consult with your insurance agent to see how a hard Brexit will affect your insurance coverage. As of this date no change is anticipated for EU driving rules.  If you still have questions our knowledgeable independent insurance brokers are available to assist you.

What is the Best Refrigerated Van?

What is the Best Refrigerated Van?

The best refrigerated vans in the UK are purpose built vehicles but not from the factory. These specialty vehicles are converted by professional outfits that only do this type of work. The better the reputation of the conversion company, the lower your truck insurance will be in part due to the availability of parts necessary for repairs and the quality of their work.

What Makes of Vans are most commonly converted to Refrigerator Vans?

It is true any van can be converted to a refrigerator van, but the following list is the most common and the correct parts are readily available for installation and repairs.

  • citroen
  • Ford
  • Mercedes
  • Nissan
  • Peugeot
  • Renault

Both the refrigerator van and a freezer van do keep the contents at a constant temperature, the construction of the vehicle and the temperature ranges are different.

The refrigerator van has a temperature range of 0C to 8C. The walls of the van are insulated to contain the cooler temperatures that can be up to 3” thick. On the back at the opening of the doors there are also either plastic strips or a curtain to help minimize the loss of cold air so it is easier to maintain a constant temperature.

The freezer van has a temperature range of -30C to 0C. The insulation of the cargo area is thicker than what is required for a refrigerator van because of the colder temperatures that are at a minimum of 3” or more. These also have plastic strips or a curtain to help keep the cargo’s air temperature as constant as possible when the doors are open.

While it is possible to use a freezer van as a refrigerator van, it is not recommended to use a refrigerator van as a freezer van due to the possible variation of maintaining the colder temperature properly.

What type of insulation can be used?

In the past many van conversion companies used spray insulation. This has given way to solid insulation being installed similar to what is used in most homes. This solid insulation is then covered with a barrier that is most often metal on the floor and a light weight composite material on the walls and ceiling.

The problems with spray insulation are as follows

  • Uneven application
  • The heat from the application distorts the panels of the van where it is sprayed
  • The cover material most often used was wood over the wood base structure that added additional weight to the vehicle and reduced the payload area of the cargo space.

How to Save Money on Truck Insurance for a Refrigerator Van

An eco-friendly refrigerant is a great way to keep your refrigerator van cool and not harm the environment. R600a is made from isobutane and does not deplete the ozone layer when it leaks out of the refrigerator system. It is not as efficient as R134, but can still do the job. Many truck insurance companies do provide a discount for using the eco-friendly refrigerant. One of our friendly truck insurance brokers can assist you in getting this discount if available in your area.

EU Drivers Hours Rules

EU Drivers Hours Rules

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The following rules apply to vehicles that are used for the ‘carriage of goods by road’ which is defined in short, as any journey made on public roads.

EU Drivers Hours Rules apply to all drivers of large goods vehicles (LGVs) over 3.5 tonnes. The EU Drivers Hours Rules are used to set limits for daily, weekly and nightly driving. They also specify minimum break times for drivers during a working day, along with daily and weekly rest periods.

This guide does not cover rules for passenger vehicles, nor does it cover journeys made outside the UK.

The EU defines a driver as anyone who:

  • Drives a vehicle
  • Is carried on the vehicle so that they may drive

Driving Time

Any amount of driving, no matter how small, puts the driver in the scope of the EU rules for the whole of that day. Meaning simply that if you drive, you must comply with all driving, break, and rest requirements not only for the day, but the week as well.

Daily Breaks

The rules say that after driving 4.5 hours a driver is required to take an uninterrupted break of 45 minutes. While on this break, they may not carry out any other driving work. Included also is doing work other than rather than driving. If a driver drives for 2.5 hours, does some other work for an hour then drivers for an additional 2.5 hours, then they must take a 45 minute break, no exceptions. The 45 minute break can however be taken like this; one break of at least 15 minutes, which is followed by another of at least 30 minutes in any given 4.5 hour period.

Daily Driving Time

The absolute maximum daily driving time is nine hours in a 24 hour period. This is allowed to be increased to ten hours twice a week. Daily Driving Time is calculated like this. The total accumulated driving time one has between the end of a daily rest period and the beginning of the next daily rest period.

Weekly Driving Limit

The EU rules say that weekly driving limit should not exceed 56 hours in a week. So, the math says … 4 x 9 hour days, plus 2 x 10 hour and you have your ‘fixed’ week of 56 hours. This fixed week starts at midnight on Monday and ends one week later.

Two Week Driving Limit

The rules say that maximum driving time over any given two-weekly period is 90 hours.

Rest Periods

All drivers must take a daily rest period during each 24 hour period. This rest must be uninterrupted. Time that is spent working in other types of employment, including self-employed work, is not counted as rest. The EU rules state that an eleven hour daily rest period is recognized as a ‘regular’ daily rest period.

A driver is allowed to split a ‘regular’ daily rest period into two periods. The first period should be at least three hours uninterrupted rest, and is permitted be taken any time during the day. The second period without exception, must be nine hours of uninterrupted rest, for a combined total of twelve hours minimum.

By definition, a daily rest period that is less than eleven hours, but at least nine hours long, is called a ‘reduced’ daily rest period. A driver is allowed to reduce their daily rest period to no less than nine continuous hours however, this can be done no more than three times between any two given weekly rest periods. A daily rest break may be taken in a vehicle, providing it has suitable sleeping facilities and of course, is stationary.

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Walk Around Check for Recovery Vehicles

Recovery Truck Check List

With recovery truck insurance in place it is also important to keep your vehicle road safe. To ensure your recovery vehicle remains legal it is best practice to perform a walk around check before each trip. This is even more applicable in bad weather or when the vehicle you drive may change based on shift patterns should you be working for a large recovery company with a fleet of recovery pickups. For a complete comprehensive guide with advise and tips please refer to this government complied document for drivers of recovery trucks.

Check The Steering Mechanism

Check for any oil leaks and when driving knocking noises are normally a precursor to something more serious and should be investigated without any delay before it turns into an expensive fix. 

Check Air Brakes

Keep a constant check for any air or oil leaks and be prepared to drain the air tank system if necessary.

Headlamps , Beacons and Lamps

Check for damage to the glass and discoloration of the casing and check mounting so they are angled to avoid blinding oncoming drivers.

Speed Limiter

If your recovery vehicle is fitted with this device ensure calibration is correctly set with appropriate plaque and seals.

Fuel system

Check the fuel lines for leaks or damaged seals, start it up and check exhaust, any black fumes is a danger sign and should be further checked by the mechanic before taking to the road. 


Check for missing or damaged reflectors, both sides and rear of your recovery vehicle.


Check the recovery vehicle sits squarely and listen for any knocking noises from this region whilst driving. if lopsided something is wrong and needs further checking by your truck mechanic.

Wheels and Tryes

Check nuts are secure, when parking try and avoid direct sunlight as they lead to perished rubber, also vary the resting position of wheels when parked. Check tyre thread is at least 1 mm.

Truck driving safety tips

Truck safety Tips

Driving a truck cab be a challenging job and comes with risks. These risks can be increased if working if sever climate conditions or working extra hours. The chances of being involved in any road accident can be minimised by  taking the following steps. If these are followed and you make less claims you should also benefit from lower truck insurance costs.

Ensure your truck is safe to drive

You should be familiar with the truck assigned to you and ensure that you take care of it as though it were your own. You should also inspect your truck regularly. Before embarking on any trip, ensure that you inspect it, checking the brakes, oil, water, and lights among other important parts to ensure that they are in the best working condition or level. 

Carrying out quick and simple checks will reduce accidents that could have been prevented by a simple safety check.  

Air Brake Check

Before embarking on a comprehensive brake test make sure your truck is  on level ground with the park brake set. This is not an easy test, but worth taking time to learn the process for your ongoing safety. 

Reduce Blind Spots

Driving a truck carrying huge containers compromises your vision of areas such as the back of the truck and immediately below the windshield. Statistics indicate that many truck-related accidents are caused by other vehicles approaching these blind spots. 

To reduce the occurrence of such accidents, it is important to increase your vision all round your truck. This can be done by extra mirrors installed at different angles.

Plan safety routes and secure cargo

Select the safest routes that have less pedestrians and vehicle traffic to use on your trip. It is also best to choose a route that is more familiar to you. To enhance safety, never overload your truck. 

You should also ensure that the load is properly secured. The outcome of not securing the cargo can be often be witnessed on the motorways. Proper loading and securing also helps to maintain balance when you turning at sharp corners and tight curves.

Drive at an appropriate speed to the prevailing conditions

Drive the truck at a safe speed especially at high traffic areas and when turning. The weight of the truck has an impact on its momentum so you should always slow down well in advance when braking and turning. You can also enhance your safety and that of other road users by not tailgating. Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Make other drivers aware of your intentions

Use all the signals that you have at your disposal. This includes lights and hand signals to alert other drivers of your intentions. You can also use stickers or paint warnings on the sides and rear of the truck so that other drivers are informed to take necessary caution.

5 tips To Guard your Cargo

Have you stopped to consider how much money is being lost by your company on lost cargo or freight? Just one trailer load can amount to thousands of pounds. If it is your responsibility to keep the cargo safe whilst you are in charge of the consignment. However freight can often been see left totally unattended at the mercy of the cunning thief who can make easy money for stealing 1 trailer load. Below Fast Truck Insurance has provided some tips to help ensure the risk of losses is greatly reduced.

Perform Background Check

The facts show that most thefts involving cargo or freight are inside jobs. As such the best way to keep your freight safe is to do a meticulous background check on all your employees both full time and part time. In summary any body that has access to the cargo area should be screened for past offences.

Put in Place Security Protocols

Be proactive and ensure training in security is provided for all your staff. Examples include parking in areas of good visibility , making sure the vehicle is left secure if they need to leave it for any amount of time, adding extra security devices can also help as deterrent. Make it part of company policy that drivers must never reveal the contents of their cargo to anyone in the company and outside of the company including family.

Add a GPS Tracking Device

If a trailer is stolen you will need to know where it now is or where it is going. The solution is simple, simply add a GPS tracking device which will provide all the necessary information to making the safe return of your trailer and cargo. These devices should be concealing in all your trailers and work cabs. This will enable your entire fleet to be monitored in real time.  This comes with many other advantage such as monitoring delivery progress/times.

Park Your Truck in a Safe Area

Situations happen that may mean a valuable cargo which should have been delivered to a valued customer on Friday will have to wait until Monday morning. It such situations it is crucial to park the trailer and load in a secure area ideally with security guards manning the entrance and exits of the cargo yard. At the very least park in area that is easily visible to security, switch on all security devices to warn away potential thieves.

Add Radio Frequency Tracking


Radio Frequency Tracking is another method of keep an eye on the movement of your fleet and any valuable cargo whilst stationary or in transit.

Leaving Space is no 1 Driving tip

Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Traffic Management Director for the Highways Agency, says:

14% of casualties on our roads are caused by people tailgating. That’s why we’re reminding people to stay safe and keep at least a 2-second gap from the car in front.

1. Number 1 tip is always keep your distance the more equates to lower chance of collision, think of driving on deserted highway. The most common form of collision is the rear collision, someone driving too close or not paying attention to the truck or car in front and slams into your rear. However you do have some control , if for example this happens and you do need to stop or slow down , do it gradually so that the driver behind can stop in time . In emergencies this may not always be possible . As safely feature increase you will see in trucks Safety features and cars that having flashing break lights that are activated when you break hrd, others have emergency lighting all to alter the driver behind that they need to slow down quickly. Time to mention the 2 second rule or better still the 3 second rule that only an idiot would break. Leave at least 2 seconds in dry weather of space in front and more depending on the driving conditions, 4 seconds may be necessary if poor visibility or longer if snow and ice are present and advise then is to double the distance so 4 seconds becomes 8 seconds. Also think ahead and leave space to get out , this can best be achieved by keeping space on both sides, ie never drive along side another vehicle as this severely limits. Accordingly if someone starts to drive alongside you slow down so that the space is regained.

Highways Agency warns tailgaters that ‘only a fool breaks the 2-second rule’