Who needs Minibus Insurance?

What's the difference between a minibus and a van? It's not a joke, but it is a question that gets asked a lot. Really, there is only one difference: a minibus is a van adapted to carry between 9 and 16 passengers safely and in comfort.

Due to their practicality, they're a common sight on UK roads. Taxi firms, schools,  universities, or even parents with big families often opt for minibuses because they're so well suited to their needs.

But because of the number of passengers a minibus can carry, it may need its own type of specialist minibus insurance.

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Airport Services & Transfers

Whether running an airport shuttle or a luxury airport transfer, minibus insurance is essential. It not only helps to protect your vehicle but also the passengers you serve.


Charities often use minibuses for their community outreach programs. A comprehensive minibus insurance policy can also include cover for volunteer drivers who aren't employed by the charity but who are often crucial to its day-to-day operations. 


Church groups often use minibuses to transport members to services or outings. Insurance for church minibuses usually needs to be flexible to cover a range of uses, from personal to public hire.


Minibuses are often used for public transport and, as such, may require policies that come with legal expenses cover built-in or as an option, and minibus breakdown cover.

Private / Social, Domestic and Pleasure Use

Even if you use your minibus for personal purposes, it must still be insured to use on the UK's road network. Whether you're using it for family trips or social events, a Third Party Only policy is the minimum legal insurance requirement.

Local Authority

Local government bodies can operate minibuses for public services, including school transport and community events. Fleet insurance may be a suitable option for authorities with multiple vehicles.

Health / Welfare Organisation

Health and welfare organisations use minibuses to transport patients, elderly people, and those who require specialist care. Given the vulnerable nature of these passengers, a comprehensive insurance policy that includes public liability and legal expenses is often required.

Private & Public Hire

Companies that offer minibus hire services for public or private hire need specialised insurance to cover risks to the vehicle, driver and passengers.

School / Education

Schools use minibuses for educational trips, sports events, and extracurricular activities. As these vehicles transport children, a comprehensive insurance policy that includes public liability and minibus breakdown cover is ideal.

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Standard cover for minibus insurance 

Finding the right minibus insurance means knowing what levels of coverage you need. The following options provide a baseline of protection options for minibuses:

Minibus fleet insurance

If you operate several minibuses, fleet insurance may be a cost-effective way to cover all your vehicles under one policy.

Fully Comprehensive

Fully comprehensive insurance is the highest level of coverage you can get. It includes all the features of third-party only and third party, fire, and theft cover types, but also covers damages to your own vehicle in the event of an accident (even if you're at fault).

Public liability cover 

This is likely to be essential for any minibus operation, as it helps protect against claims made by third parties for injuries or property damage.

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Minibus insurance legal expenses

If you find yourself involved in a dispute, the financial burden of legal expenses can be tough to deal with. Legal expenses coverage can help pay for the costs involved, which could be substantial.

Public or Private Hire

Insurance needs differ depending on whether your minibus is for public or private hire. Make sure to specify this when you're comparing minibus insurance.

Breakdown cover

Minibus breakdown could be crucial, especially for long journeys. It's designed to ensure you and your passengers are not stranded in the event of a mechanical failure.

Any Driver

An "Any Driver" policy allows other drivers to operate the minibus if they meet the insurance criteria, such as age and driving history. This is particularly useful for organisations with multiple drivers, like schools or charities. Talk to your insurance broker first to see if they provide this type of cover.

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How the Cost of Minibus Insurance is Determined

Understanding how minibus insurance premiums are calculated can help you make informed decisions and save money. Many factors will influence the cost of your premium, and each insurance provider may weigh them differently:

Value of the Minibus

A high-value minibus will generally cost more to insure because the potential replacement or repair costs may be higher. If you're looking for cheap minibus insurance, consider a less expensive vehicle that can still satisfy your needs.

Level of Cover

The extent of the coverage will also affect your premium. You may get cheaper minibus insurance quotations by opting for third-party-only coverage, but this offers minimal protection.

Age of the Driver

Younger drivers, particularly those under 25, are often considered higher risk and face more expensive premiums. However, drivers over a certain age (80) may also experience increased rates due to the risks associated with ageing, such as slower reaction times or health issues.

How Secure the Minibus is 

The more secure your minibus, the lower your insurance premium could be. Things like alarm systems, immobilisers, and secure parking in a garage facility can all contribute to lower costs.

Fully comprehensive cover offers more safeguarding against the financial cost of damages to your own vehicle and contrary to popular belief may not be the most expensive type of cover. Compare different quotes for the insurance type you need through The Van Insurer.

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Why you should choose us

Choose The Van Insurer to get a range of cheap minibus insurance quotes.

Our insurance price comparison service has been helping UK drivers since 2008, and we're still going strong. With over 40 insurers on our panel, you can get personalised quotes and premium coverage at affordable rates.


My minibus has less than 9 seats, can I still get minibus insurance?

The number of seats can affect the type of insurance you need, so specify this when getting a quote.

My minibus has more than 17 seats in it, can I still get insurance?

Minibuses with more than 17 seats may require coach insurance instead. Consult with your insurance provider about the specific requirements and limitations when it comes to larger vehicles and passenger numbers.

What type of vehicles can be covered under a minibus insurance policy?

Individual insurers will be able to advise cover options when it comes to insuring minibuses that may have been adapted for different uses (e.g. wheelchair accessibility minibuses). If your minibus has been adapted or altered, it’s a good idea to check with the broker to ensure the changes are properly declared prior to purchasing your insurance.

Can I add additional drivers to a minibus insurance policy?

Typically yes, you can add drivers to a minibus insurance policy. However, adding more drivers, especially those with less experience or a poor driving record, may increase your insurance premium.

What is the minimum level of insurance cover I need for a minibus?

The minimum legal requirement for minibus insurance is third-party-only coverage. It covers injuries and damage to other people but does not cover your own vehicle or passengers.

How is minibus insurance different to car insurance?

Minibus insurance includes additional cover options that are not typically available (or necessary) for standard car insurance.

These can include public liability, breakdown cover, and legal expenses. The risks associated with carrying multiple passengers also make minibus insurance generally more comprehensive - and sometimes more expensive - than standard car insurance.

Will minibus insurance be expensive if I'm a first-time owner?

As the owner of a minibus for the first time, your premiums might be initially higher due to a lack of driving experience operating such a vehicle. However, factors like a clean driving history, the vehicle's security features, and where you store the minibus can help reduce costs.

Can I get cover for driving my minibus abroad?

When you use The Van Insurer’s online quote system, you’ll be presented with a list of quotes in ascending price order. However, this is for the basic insurance policy price only. Most insurers will offer EU cover as an option, and this will be available as an ad-on directly from the insurer. Make sure that any overseas driving policy you buy covers the countries you will be visiting, as some providers may cover more geographical areas than others.

What type of licence/permit do I need to drive a minibus?

You need a full category D1 driving licence to drive a minibus.