Working as a volunteer driver can be a varied and much valued service and there is always plenty of demand! If it’s something that appeals, making sure you are properly insured is essential. If the worst should happen, you do not want your insurance invalidated by the fact that you were performing a service, or carrying a passenger who is not part of your family or social circle.
Charities and groups usually have basic insurance that covers their activities and the people they are working with. But when it comes to drivers or car insurance, this is generally a separate issue and unlikely to be covered, unless you are driving their vehicle (though it’s still wise to check!)
Fortunately the insurers have listened to what charities and volunteers have said about the barriers and lack of clarity which have been experienced in the past and they have come up with a response.
Below we have the latest information for each type of driver volunteering.
Minibus / Bus
As you will most likely be driving the organisation’s vehicle (unless you happen to own a minibus), you would normally be covered by their insurance. However this is not always the case, and therefore it’s important to check with both the organisation and your insurance broker about any possible issues. You will also need to check the license restrictions for minibus / bus drivers.
The Association of British Insurers represents about 85% of the motor insurance market and has surveyed its members and put together a list of each provider’s policy on insurance for volunteer drivers. This is designed to reduce the number of issues that volunteer drivers have with insurance companies.
The ABI’s ‘motor insurance commitment’ to support volunteers using their cars to help out their local communities, promises not to charge extra premiums for drivers. The commitment has been agreed by 54 insurance brands and comes after talks with the voluntary sector about barriers volunteers faced, whether through extra charges or bureaucratic requirements.
The commitment applies to private car insurance policies only. Policyholders must be using their own vehicle and will be allowed to accept expenses up to the HM Revenue and Customs mileage rates (currently 45p per mile), but will not be permitted to use their vehicle for hire or reward.
This will depend on whether you are using your own bike, or one from the organisation you are volunteering with (for example members of The National Association of Blood Bikes). You may be expected to be older, have an unrestricted license and have some form of advanced qualification. In any case it’s worth checking with your insurer, as bikes are not covered by the ABI’s commitment.
This is a positive outcome for volunteer drivers, but you should only treat this information as a starting point. Reading Voluntary Action always suggests you check the situation directly with your own insurance broker. RVA’s volunteering opportunities denote whether insurance is arranged or not, but you should be aware that information provided by our client organisations is reproduced in good faith, and we would always advise you check the specifics yourself.