Important Information following the Covid-19 Pandemic

The current Coronavirus outbreak has placed the Nation in an unimaginable and worrying time, with unprecedented pressures being placed on the NHS, businesses and individuals. The country is facing the prospect of extended restrictions to our movements; the dedicated NHS staff risk their own lives to save others on a daily basis. Whilst all this is happening it is having a huge impact on our clients and their livelihoods. Please be assured we are doing everything possible to support you during this time.

How Quotax is supporting our clients during this difficult period

In response to the government’s latest measures we have taken the decision to temporarily close our offices to protect both our staff and customers. Please rest assured we have a robust business continuity plan in operation which has enabled all of our team to work successfully from home and you are able to contact us in all the usual ways.

A number of our clients have called to discuss options to reduce their monthly outgoings at this difficult time. Please see below a list of frequently asked questions with answers that may give some guidance.

Your Questions answered

If I pay by Direct Debit can I defer my payment whilst the current crisis is ongoing?

If you pay by Direct Debit your Premium Funding will almost certainly have been arranged by Close Brothers Premium Finance. At Quotax we are able to make minor changes to your plan (we can sometimes alter a payment date by a few days). Any significant changes you require to make will need to be directed to Close Brothers Premium Finance. They can be contacted on 0333 321 8566, please quote your reference number when calling them, this can be found on the documentation that they sent you when the loan was arranged.

I paid my policy in full; can I now get my money back and pay monthly?

If you have already paid in full we are unable to now move you onto a monthly direct debit scheme mid term.

I am unable to make my Insurance payment what can I do

If you have an annual Insurance policy which is due for renewal and you are unable to meet that expense please talk to one of the Quotax Customer Service team about setting up a monthly plan with Close Brothers Premium Finance.

If you are already paying by Monthly Direct Debit and you are unable to make the next payment call the Quotax Team, they may be able to change the payment date, alternatively call Close Premium Funding on 0333 321 8566 and remember to have your reference number to hand.

I want to cancel my policy can I do this?

If you are taking your vehicle off the road you can cancel your Insurance Policy. Please remember that some charges are made when a policy is cancelled, therefore the return premium may not be exactly pro-rata to the time that you have had on cover. If any incident has been reported during the policy year the Insurer may decline to offer a refund. Please be aware that you may lose some of your No Claims Bonus if you have not completed a full year of Insurance cover. You must also declare your vehicle SORN if you are keeping it off the road and uninsured.

If you are paying your premium by Direct Debit (with Close Premium Finance) and you cancel your policy we will obtain a refund of premium from your insurer (subject to no claims having been made in the policy year). The refund will be calculated in accordance with your policy wording and terms of business. We will use this refund to offset the outstanding balance owed to Close Brothers Premium Finance. In some instances, the refund from the Insurer (please refer to your policy booklet for scale of return) may not be sufficient to settle the balance to the Premium Finance Company. If this is the case you will be responsible for the outstanding amount.

Before you decide to cancel your policy please carefully consider the following

All vehicles are required to be insured that are taxed. It is possible to declare your vehicle SORN as long as the vehicle is not on a public road; it is however a requirement that any vehicles kept on a public road must have minimum levels of cover.

It is also a Public and Private Hire licensing requirement with most Councils that your vehicle should be Insured for Hire and Reward for the duration of plate, please therefore check with your Licensing Authority or TFL before cancelling.

If you are paying for your vehicle on finance/lease or a similar scheme most finance providers stipulate that the vehicle must be insured comprehensively for the duration of the finance agreement, before deciding to cancel please check with you Finance provider

Are there any alternatives to cancelling my policy?

Some of our Insurers will give the option to reduce cover to Social Domestic and Pleasure only if you are not using the vehicle for Hire and Reward, please speak with your local Plating Council first as it is usually a requirement that the vehicle is covered for Hire and Reward whilst plated.

Can I freeze my Insurance?

Insurers have not traditionally allowed cover to be frozen or premium holidays to be taken.

Are you still able to offer a 24/7 claims service?

Yes – all of our providers have comprehensive business continuity plans in place which have been implemented, please contact our claims departments in the normal ways.

We have been working closely with our insurer panel to support our Taxi Driver clients whilst they look to diversify their activities in order to maintain some level of income during this difficult period.

We have negotiated the following extensions in cover with our Insurer Panel for the duration of the crisis and in the case of Antilo Insurance for one month only (this will be reviewed at the end of one month)

Markerstudy, we can now confirm that, on a temporary basis during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover is extended to cover all Taxi policies to deliver fast food, collection and delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge.

Haven Insurance, we can now confirm that, on a temporary basis during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover is extended to cover all Taxi policies to deliver fast food, collection and delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge.

Antilo, we can now confirm that, for one month only during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover is extended to cover all Taxi policies to deliver fast food, collection and delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge.

ERS, we can now confirm that, on a temporary basis during the Corona Virus crisis, policy cover for Taxis can be extended to cover journeys delivering fast food, collection and the delivery of prescriptions, food/grocery shopping and small parcel delivery. This extension of cover is provided completely free of charge. You will need to call our office in order for us to notify ERS that you intend to carry out this type of work so that they can endorse your policy to cover this.

Allianz, we can now confirm that, we are able to extend cover for the Carriage of Goods.
. You will need to call our office in order for us to notify Allianz that you intend to carry out this type of work so that they can endorse your policy to cover this.

In all cases we must advise you that the goods that you will be transporting will NOT be insured but the journey itself will be. This means, if the goods transported are DAMAGED or LOST during transit, no cover will be in place.

Should you wish to insure the goods that you are transporting, please contact us and we will be able to quote for a separate “Goods in Transit” policy.

Finally

Please remember we are here to offer help and support to you. We can only make changes to your policy that the Insurer has agreed. The Insurers are reviewing what changes can be made to their policies regularly and the options may change. Our staff are working from home taking large volumes of calls so the wait times may be longer than you might ordinarily expect. Thank you for your understanding with this.

We hope that you and your families remain safe and well.

Kindest regards,

Daniel Fosker and all of the Quotax team.

Important Information regarding our Deptford office

In response to the government’s latest Social Distancing measures, we have taken the tough decision to no longer meet with our valued customers face to face. With this in mind, our office based on site at Ascott Cab Company, Blackhorse Road, Deptford will be temporarily closed.

Please rest assured, we have a comprehensive business continuity plan to ensure we continue to support you through these difficult times.

We want to reassure you we are very much still open for business and will work tirelessly to offer you the same professional advice and guidance during these uncertain times. Please feel free to contact us in all the normal ways;

  • Contacting us via phone: 0208 691 9691
  • You can send us documents to us via our business whatsapp on: 07853 411043
  • You can contact our administration team (and forward requested documents) via email on: admin@quotax.net
  • You can chat with our experts on our online chat facility on our website
  • You can request a call back on our website
  • If you have had a claim please contact our claims line on 0203 928 7337. If you would like to contact your insurer directly, a list of our insurers’ claims numbers can be found at www.quotax.net/how-to-claim/

We remain as always committed to the health and wellbeing of our employees and the people and communities we serve. We will continue to keep you informed using the best information and guidance available to us.

Car Theft payouts at a 7 year high!

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) the insurance industry trade body have said claims for January to March for vehicle thefts have hit their highest level in seven years.

Some facts for January to March:

· The number of claims increasing from 14,000 to over 16,000.

· Costs of thefts at £108 Million, an increase of 22% on the same period

· LAST 4 YEARS – Overall theft costs have doubled.

The ABI said that this was partly due to an increase in thefts for vehicles with keyless entry. Working in pairs the thieves use electronic signal devices to steal the owner’s vehicle. One often stands by the car whilst his partner stands close enough to pick up the signal from the key and amplify it so the vehicle electronics believes the owner is in the immediate vicinity.

Ways of reducing the risk of keyless car theft:

· Leave keys in a signal blocking wallet
· Install CCTV
· Install spot lighting overlooking the vehicle
· Install a tracking device – whilst it doesn’t stop the theft it increases the chance of the Police finding the vehicle.
· Invest in a steering Lock

A Guide for School minibus drivers

The ability of an individual to drive a minibus safely is extremely important due to the size and risk of driving such a large vehicle.

Our brief guide for (both potential and current) minibus drivers is comprised of the best tips and key advice. We have separated the manual into subheadings according to the most significant areas in preparing you for minibus driving and have included the necessary information regarding safety – because after all our aim here at Quotax is to simplify the journey.

Responsibility

Driving a minibus only occurs after volunteering to do so and therefore personal responsibility lays with the volunteer. If a mechanical defect is reported by police, the driver is accountable and is liable for fines, license points or even prosecution – regardless of whether they own the vehicle or not. The driver has the requirement to ensure that the insurance policy covers all leisure uses and information (i.e number of passengers, weight).

Training

Minibus use is typically associated with school trips or club outings and the training programmes for the permits are usually provided – with full funding – by the National Union of Teachers (NUT). The programmes cover all the key sections (vehicle familiarisation, emergency scenario, seatbelt use, disability aids and road assessment) and are generally several weeks long.

Checks

Before every minibus journey, the teacher driving should check the following components:

  • Fuel and oil level
  • Windscreen wipers/washers
  • Lights
  • Indicators
  • Brakes
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Permit on display
  • Seatbelts
  • Paperwork (insurance and driving license)

The teacher should also check at regular intervals – but not before every use – the following more mechanical aspects of the vehicle:

  • Tyre pressure (particularly critical given that under-inflated tyres are the main fault with accidents, according to Belt Up School Kids Campaign)
  • Coolant level
  • Brake fluid level

Permits

A Section 19 is a permit which enables an organisation to lend their minibus to another organisation, not for profit. If you do not lend the vehicle at all, you do not need a Section 19. The Traffic Area Network Office supplies the permits and can be contacted via the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA).

Driving Licenses

You can only drive a minibus if these 5 standards are met:

  • You must have a full car driving license and must have held it for at least two years
  • You must not drive a minibus with more than 16 passengers
  • You must be 21 or older
  • You must have a Section 19

Rules

In addition to those mentioned above, there are laws in place to better confirm the safety of minibus passengers:

  • A 2 point or 3 point lap seatbelt is required at every seat, including the disabled spaces
  • Children aged 14 or above are held personally responsible for their safety and seatbelt use
  • UK Minibuses going abroad have to comply to European Commission regulations over driving hours
  • Minibuses abroad must have a tachograph (a device used to record speed and distance of travel) attached
  • The past ‘3for2 concession’ (allowing three kids to share two seats) has been made illegal – every child must occupy an individual seat
  • The NUT has issued a strong recommendation that a 2nd driver is present in the minibus on all journeys (though this is not a law)
  • Pre 1997 driving licenses automatically included a minibus enabling qualification. After 1997, minibus drivers require an additional Category D1 test and pass (for which the Local Education Agency will pay)
  • School Minibuses typically have an Any Driver Policy so each teacher or staff member driving does not need to make themselves known on the insurance (unless they have previously committed crimes or have been involved in accidents)

Minibus Tips For Winter

At Quotax, we comprehend how useful minibuses can be – particularly in the winter season with transport being critical for festive school/work/community trips – but also understand the dangers of wintertime driving. Efforts must be made to further ensure the safety of passengers when making a journey at this time of the year and so we have produced a quick guide to help.

Have greater braking distances

As the minibus is a larger vehicle, it is heavier and therefore builds up more momentum. The time it takes to brake is longer and the stopping distance is bigger. When roads are icy and wet, the distance increases even more – it is essential to maintain reasonable space at all times.

Travel at slower speeds

Leading on from the point above, going slower is altogether beneficial. With the cold weather risks, moving at a moderately unhurried velocity means moving with stability. To have best control of the vehicle, and avoid the slippery hazards, we think you should stick to the inside lane.

Take regular breaks en route

If you are using a minibus, it is likely that you are travelling relatively far. As the driver, you should free to take frequent breaks if you need to. The climate towards the end and at the start of the year causes a more difficult setting for transport and requires care, diligence and focus. To avoid distraction and develop concentration, ultimately safety, the driver should plan small rests along the trip.

Check tyre pressure

Under inflated tyres pose a threat to grip and control. With a large vehicle, a minibus, it is absolutely crucial to confirm that the tyres are well pressured. If you’re making multiple journeys through the winter period, we recommend that you keep a close eye on the tyres to make sure that the tread is adequate and the pressure is at a safe level.

Thoroughly de-ice

Frost and ice restrain visibility, covering windscreens and mirrors. Before you embark on your group trip, you need to spend time de-icing properly. Sight is more than important, especially given the braking distance needs and ability to focus, and so it is wise to stock up on anti-freeze or de-icer for your minibus over the wintertime.

TX Electric Taxi News

Tips For The Electric Taxi Over The Festive Period

TX Electric Taxi

The TX from LEVC offers technological advantages for cabbies, especially through the winter, and acts as the perfect assistance for taxis in delivering quality service for passengers travelling during the cold seasons. Whether you are a TX driver or a cabbie considering purchasing one, at Quotax we think that an insight into some of its most beneficial features, particularly useful at this time of the year, could be helpful and so have created a list of the best tips below.

Ensure that Forward Collision Warning is switched on.

Forward Collision Warning (FCW) is a digital instrument provided by the TX to alert the driver of potential collision risks ahead of the vehicle. It is particularly useful in the winter as braking can be done well in advance, reducing chances of control loss or slipping on ice, and so we heavily recommend that this is turned on.

 

Use the Lane Departure Warning.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW) is another TX electronic tool which displays its technological skill. The taxi analyses and processes the lane markings on the road and if you are drifting out of your lane, the LDW will, subsequently, produce an alert reminding the driver. Given the icy conditions with the cold and the ease of accidentally drifting, the LDW is extremely helpful indeed.

 

Adjust the heating zone.

To save energy and maximise the efficiency of the cab, the driver can adjust the heating zone to focus on specific areas of the vehicle. When it’s a cold day and there’s no passenger at that moment, the cabbie can cut off the heating circulation to the back and use less energy in heating their own space – another benefit for winter.

 

Use the programmable timer to pre-heat the cab.

As the taxi charges, the driver can set a timer for the heating system to activate. This allows the cabin to warm before the driver/passenger enters and makes the cab even more welcoming upon entry.

 

Turn on the heated seats.

The two points above both emphasise how advantageous the heating apparatus is and without doubt it is largely beneficial. However, the system also uses quite a lot of energy. The TX obviously has a method to solve this – heated seats. Utilising the heated seat application provides that sense of warmth, essential during winter, whilst keeping the energy consumption to a minimum. It is a great feature which we recommend you to make the most of.

 

Play Christmas music using the onboard Wi-Fi.

The TX has a Wi-Fi hub attached within every vehicle. So, as a driver of cold passengers through the winter period, you could cheer them up and restore that festive feeling by utilising the Wi-Fi to access music services and play the classics. We think that your passengers would appreciate it and so urge you to consider it.

Minibuses are replacing buses in parts of rural Wales

The local politicians of Flintshire have decided to substitute local bus services, predominantly used by the elderly around the rural country area, with new minibuses.

Councillors agreed that minibus vehicles provide a more sustainable form of transport for passengers after a funding cut to existing bus operators.

The use of the new minibus fleets is being viewed as significantly more efficient – matching the demand for the service as well as reducing emissions.

Funding for the changes to the transport system came from the Welsh government and the European Union. Over the last few years there has been a big push for the reduction of emissions across the EU with significant funding available to make this happen.

Timetables and schedules for the daily running of the minibuses have been organised to give students lifts to and from school as well.

As a result, more rural areas have seen a greater independence of both the elderly and the youth with a beneficial drop in associated fuel costs and emissions.

The use of minibuses – in replacement of the expensive, less sustainable larger buses – has ultimately worked to better the communities whilst producing an effort against global warming and potential climate change in the long-run.

Minibus Summer Driving Tips

Summer driving brings unique challenges to driving, more vehicles locally, children playing outside, more caravans, cyclists and motorcyclists. This all equates to journey times increasing and traffic jams becoming more likely.

Those who manage drivers must be aware of the issues and schedules should be planned accordingly. Planning journeys for the undoubted holiday traffic jams. There needs to be an increased focus on vehicle conditions and symmetric information provided to drivers on allergies preventing fatigue and minimising RSI- Repetitive strain injury.

Vehicle maintenance

Check coolant levels regularly throughout the summer.

Keep washer fluid full and additional bottles within the car or boot, to prevent minimised vision.

Check tyres for damage due to hot weather increasing the risk of a puncture.

Make sure there is a suitable tread depth of 1.6mm minimum for your car to avoid slippery road surfaces.

Ensure air conditioning is maintained to avoid fainting and a lack of concentration during driving.

Avoid the glare

Glare from the sun can cause road accidents due to the distraction and the reduced vision during trips wearing correct sunglasses can reduce the glare and keep drivers concentration up and their vision. If a driver requires prescription lenses their sunglasses should have the same prescription.

Some lenses will not be suitable for drivers as they don’t in adequate light or they will let in too much due to the limitations as a light transmission. They should not obstruct your periphery vision.

Warm Weather Fatigue

Drivers are more likely to feel fatigued in warmer weather. Tachograph controls will indicate when a commercial vehicle driver should take breaks but drivers without this must follow the upcoming recommendations.

Break a 3-hour journey with a 20-minute stop

Take regular breaks to refresh yourself preferably ever two hours for longer journeys

Avoid eating heavy before driving

Make sure you are wide awake and possibly drink coffee to keep your reactions to a normal speed

Allergy Time

Hay fever causes itchy and watery eyes decreasing vision and concentration, this can be a big distraction to drivers and even a millisecond of not looking at the road can cause fatal accidents. It is advisable to ask drivers who suffer from hay fever to follow steps to reduce the likelihood of an outburst.

Use non drowsy Antihistamines such as cetirizine

Dehydration can decrease awareness and even lead to fainting so always keep an extra bottle of water in your car.

Wear sunglasses when the sun impair your vision while also keeping the pollen away from your eyes

Keep windows closed and use air conditioning to keep the vehicle cool

Provide vehicle purifiers to reduce pollen particles

The Country code

If your routes include rural areas it is better to know about the country code

Tractors can turn erratically and do not need indicators for daytime driving

Tractors have front loaders so the length of the vehicle could be more than you anticipate

Mud tracks left on the ground by tractors can be extremely slippery after rain, take caution.

Summary of key points

Driving in the summer can increase hazards that you may not notice, this can create unique challenges. It is recommended that managers raise awareness for these issues to avoid accidents.

Consider to plan your journeys to avoid the holiday jam and avoid the long queues.

Check that your sunglasses are suitable and with the correct prescription if need be.

Suggest to drivers without tachographs to take regular breaks and remind them about fatigue and the prevention of this.

Maintain your vehicle keeping it in the best shape to avoid controversy and potential danger to you and other drivers.

Monitor pollen count forecasts and work with drivers to ensure they can handle their hay fever.

Starting a Minibus Private Hire Business

Step 1. Research the Minibus Market

You most likely already have identified a gap in the market, it may be a contract that is up for renewal with a local council or school, or a lack of large people carrying vehicles in your local area.

For a business to be successful it needs to identify a niche or gap in the market and then offer a service or product that people want.

A few things to consider:

Where are the nearest local Minibus companies?

What do the competition offer that you could improve on?

Who needs your minibus service?

 

Step 2. Make a business Plan

New start-ups without a business plan have a far higher chance of failing than those that do.

Business plans are critical for the following reasons:

  • To raise money for your business – Such as a bank loan to finance minibuses.
  • To make decisions
  • Help identify and potential issues with cash flow etc.

 

Step 3. Plan your Finances

Starting a minibus company can require a lot of money particularly for purchasing of vehicles, insurance and paying for all the relevant licences. It is well worthwhile putting together a spreadsheet that collated all the costs and predicts cash flow.

 

Step 4: Your Business structure.

When you are starting a business it is worth speaking with a qualified accountant to ensure the business is set up correctly. An accountant will advise the correct business structure which may be as a limited company or a sole proprietor or a number of other ways.

 

Step 5: Pick a Name

Choose a name that appeals not only to you but also to your customers.

Step 6: Get the correct Licences and Permits

If you are setting up a Private Hire business and you have over 9 seats you will need to speak to VOSA and apply for an Operator’s Licence more details can be found on the VOSA website. You will also need to speak with the DVLA to ensure you have the correct extensions on your Driving Licence.

 

Step 7: Choose an accounting system that fits your business

A good accounting system is critical for managing budgets and cash flow, alternatively your accountant may deal with all of your accounting for you.

 

Step 8: Promote your business

To attract clients it is critical you promote your business be it distributing business cards, posters social media or adverts in magazines. It is recommended that you also put together a marketing plan to detail where you intent to receive your enquiries in.

 

If you need any help with the Insurance side of your new minibus business please do not hesitate to call our dedicated Minibus team on 0208 691 9691. We wish you many years of success!

London mayor put forward plans to pedestrianise large parts of Oxford street

Large parts of Oxford street are set to be pedestrianised by December 2018 in time for the launch of Elizabeth Line services.

Today the London Mayor Sadiq khan and Robert Davis the deputy leader of Westminster City Council have announced plans to stop Buses and black Taxis as well as other forms of transport as east to west traffic will be restricted from entering Oxford street between Orchard street and Oxford Circus.

The Mayor hopes that by restricting traffic this will deal with the air quality issues, frequency of accidents and serious congestion. The Elizabeth Line is hoped to have a positive impact on the number of visitors shopping in and around the Oxford street area.