Motor insurance

Details of policy

Insurer: Zurich Municipal

Cover: Comprehensive

Excess: £250.00 (including windscreen damage)

Certificate: Please contact the Insurance Office via the e-mail for a copy.

It is advisable to keep a copy of the motor certificate in the vehicle in case you are stopped by the police.

Acquiring new vehicles or disposing of old vehicles

Please let the Insurance Office know immediately if you acquire a new vehicle or dispose of an old vehicle. We are required by law to register all of our vehicles on our insurer's database. It is important that our records are up to date because we risk a £5,000 fine if a vehicle is not registered.

Getting authorisation to drive

Drivers have to be authorised by their department. They must be aged over 21 to drive cars and over 25 to drive minibuses.

Departments must ask drivers to provide them with a copy of their paper driving licence (if the licence pre-dates 1998) or their photocard driving licence. If the driver has a photocard driving licence the paper counterpart to this was no longer valid from 8th June 2015 and so they will also need to log in to the DVLA website and provide us with a printed copy of the page which shows whether they have any convictions on it.

If a department wishes to log in to the DVLA website: and verify that the details on the print-out are correct, the driver will need to provide them with the check code from the website and the last 8 digits of their driving licence number.

When checking a driving licence it is important to check that the licence hasn't expired (4b on the photocard) as the photograph must be updated every ten years, check that it has an up to date home address recorded and check that the driver has the appropriate licence for the type of vehicle they will be using e.g. a car licence to drive a car, category D1 to drive a minibus.

Drivers must also complete a Driver declaration form (PDF, 69kB) before they can drive.  If a member of staff answers "Yes" to any question on the form, a copy of the form must be referred to the Insurance Office.

Departments should retain copies of these documents on file and ask drivers to complete new forms annually and inform the Insurance Office if any changes in their situation occur during the year.

Please see the University's Driving at Work Policy for guidance on the Health and Safety aspect of driving.

Please note: the government introduced new rules about drug driving from March 2015, which include the use of prescription drugs including temazepan, lorazepan, diazepam and morphine. Please check your prescription carefully before driving on University business or indeed, for any other purpose, as penalties for anyone convicted of a drug driving offence will be severe - you could be banned from driving for a year, fined up to £5,000 and have an endorsement on your licence for 11 years. Convicted drivers may also face difficulties obtaining motor insurance in the future and/or visas for entry to countries such as the USA.

Breakdown cover

The Procurement Office can arrange AA Emergency Breakdown Assistance, including European breakdown.

Vehicle usage logs

Our insurers recommend that a log of the usage of University owned vehicles is held in case of any query in relating to a claim.  This should include the driver's name, the start date and time of the journey, the end date and time of the journey, the purpose of the trip, the destination, the start mileage reading and end mileage reading and the location where the vehicle is parked at the end of the trip.

Hire Vehicles

All car hire should be booked via the University’s purchasing system with one of the University’s nominated providers, please see the Procurement Office website for details of these providers. Your hire details will be logged for insurance coverage based on your booking on the purchasing system. 

Insurance cover will not be provided for vehicles booked outside the purchasing system, i.e. on a purchasing card, unless you have contacted the Insurance Office and requested cover.

Important: If you have booked a hire for more than 14 days please provide the Insurance Office with details of the vehicle registration, make and model.  We are required by law to register these details on our insurer's database and we risk a £5,000 fine for not doing this.

If you are using Enterprise's Car Club please note that you will be covered under Enterprise's insurance arrangements (not the University of Bristol motor insurance policy) and so you will need to contact them immediately if any damage occurs to the vehicle.

If you are planning to hire a large vehicle (such as a lorry of over 3.5t) please check that you have the correct driving licence category:

You should check the vehicle throughly for any pre-hire damage, take date and time stamped photographs of any damage that is present and write a note on the hire paperwork and get the dispatcher at the hire company to sign it - to ensure there are no disputes after the hire has ended.

It is recommended that vehicles are not left unattended for collection by rental company staff.  Any damage or loss caused after the vehicle is parked that is recorded on collection will be the responsibility of the hirer and will be charged to the school or department.  Please consider using the free-pick up service offered by the rental company which will prevent such a situation from occurring.

Please also ensure you have followed the steps above to get authorisation to drive.

Driving your own vehicle on University business

It is the responsibility of each employee to make sure they have adequate insurance for their own private cars used for University business.

The mileage allowance has been calculated to cover petrol, depreciation and insurance.

We do not have business cover for employees to use their own vehicles for University business. Employees should take all steps to ensure their vehicle is insured for business by disclosing their use to their insurer.

Employees are warned that some insurers provide quotations for Social, Domestic and Pleasure purposes only, plus commuting to and from the employee’s normal place of work. This is not the same as 'business use' and will not cover the occasional trip to a meeting elsewhere. Equally, if you are named as a driver on someone else's motor insurance you will only normally be insured for Social, Domestic and Pleasure purposes as above.  Please check you are insured to drive for business purposes and not just for Social, Domestic and Pleasure purposes before you drive a private car on any University business.

Driving abroad

The University’s motor insurance is a UK policy and will not cover vehicles registered abroad. If you hire a vehicle abroad you will need to purchase insurance cover from the hire company.  Please check the excess on the collision damage waiver carefully because you may still be liable for a substantial amount of the cost of the damage if you have an accident and it may be worthwhile considering whether to pay for super cover for a zero excess.

We are not insured to take minibuses abroad and “Section 19” small bus permits (see minibus guidelines) are not valid abroad.

If you wish to take a University owned motor car or van abroad you will need to take the vehicle registration document V5 with you and you will also need a copy of the You should also ensure you have adequate breakdown cover in place and familiarise yourself with the driving requirements of all countries you will be driving through – you can find guidance on the RAC website on driving abroad.

Most European countries, no longer require you to carry a green card showing that you have the minimum insurance cover for driving in that country and so carrying the University’s motor insurance certificate should be sufficient evidence of cover if you are stopped whilst driving abroad. However, it is advisable to check in advance that you are not driving through a country where having a green card would be useful.

If you wish to take a UK registered hire vehicle abroad in addition to the above considerations, you will need to obtain a Vehicle On Hire Certificate to show you have the permission of the hire company to take the vehicle abroad.

If you are planning to hire a vehicle abroad or take a UK registered hire vehicle abroad, it is advisable to contact the hire company in advance to check what their requirements for checking your driving licence will be.  Since the DVLA has changed their system for recording drivers' convictions you may need to obtain a log-in code for the hire compnay to check your licence or they may still ask for the paper counterpart to your licence.  There is an article on the BBC news website that provides more infomation on this - article on hire abroad.

Driving Minibuses

A minibus is defined as a vehicle that can carry 9 – 16 passengers plus the driver. You must ensure the driver is the correct age and has an appropriate licence, there is a valid permit displayed in the vehicle and the vehicle is roadworthy.  

Minibus accidents can be particularly serious, so the government imposes tight rules regarding the licensing, servicing and insurance of these vehicles. These rules are complex and contacts for more information on this are given at the end of this page.

If you are going to use a minibus, training maybe required, please refer to the "Driving at work policy". 


Any employee or post graduate student of the University aged over 25 with D1 entitlement on their licence (automatic for driving tests passed before 1 January 1997) can drive a minibus under the University’s insurance as long as they have completed a University’s driver’s declaration form and been authorised to drive.

There is a very restricted allowance for drivers with a Category B licence, who do not have D1 entitlement on their licence, to drive a minibus. The Insurance Office does not recommend driving using Category B licence because this allowance must be approached with a great deal of caution particularly as the maximum vehicle weight must not exceed 3.5 tonnes and most minibuses provided by hire companies exceed this weight. We also aware that police checks on minibuses are increasing and drivers without a D1 entitlement on their licence will have the minibus weight checked and will risk a fine if they are driving a bus which exceeds the maximum weight allowed by their licence.

UK domestic rules apply on driver hours apply. These do not have to be recorded (i.e. a tachograph does not have to be fitted). However, the following precautions should be observed - do not embark on a long trip after a full day’s work (whether that work involves driving or not) and build breaks into the journey of at least 10 minutes every 2 hours.


You are only legally allowed to drive a minibus if you have a "Section 19" Small Bus Permit. This permit must be displayed in the vehicle. For further information on how to apply for a Permit or wether one is required please see here

Vehicle maintenance

If your department owns a minibus there should be a procedure in place to report defects and a regular inspection regime. Please see the University’s driving at work policy for more information. You should not attempt to drive the vehicle if a defect makes it unroadworthy.

Seatbelts should be fitted to the front seats. They are only required for the rear seats if the vehicle is used to carry more than 3 children aged under 15 years.

You should check the vehicle is not overloaded. You can do this by weighing the fully fuelled vehicle at a weighbridge (without any passengers or the driver). This gives the kerbside weight (KW). Deduct the KW from the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW is shown on the registration document). This gives you the Payload (PL). Divide the PL by the maximum number of people in the vehicle. If your sum is less than 75 kg (the amount available for each person, their luggage and equipment) you may be overloaded.


How to make a claim

First things to do after an accident:

  • Call the police and/or an ambulance if required
  • Call Security Services on 0117 331 1223 if assistance is required
  • Give the University's and our insurer's name and address and vehicle registration number to those involved in the accident (our insurers are: Zurich Municipal - Policy number NHE-05CA06-0013-52, Motor Claims Centre, PO Box 3322 Interface Business Park, Swindon, SN4 8XW, tel 01489 882 110
  • Give the name and address of the owner to those involved, if the vehicle is not ours, e.g; it is a hired or leased vehicle.
  • For each vehicle involved, take a note of the registration number, name and address of driver and owner (if different) and name and address of insurer.
  • Ask any witnesses for their names and addresses.
  • Make a note of the location details, damage to other cars and property and the number of any Police Officer attending the scene. Take a photograph of the scene if possible, or do a sketch - a free accident sketching tool is available here.
  • Show the police our motor insurance certificate if they need to see it. You are required by law to provide details of your motor insurance, when requested to, at the scene of an accident. If you cannot comply with this you must report the accident to the police within 24 hours.  In fact all University vehicles should be logged on the central MIB database.
  • Never admit liability or offer payment.
  • Report the accident to the Insurance Office as soon as you can

Reporting the claim when you get back to the University:

Please contact the Insurance Office on 0117 39 41828 or to report the accident. We will provide you with a claim form to complete so that we can register the claim with the insurance company as soon as possible.

You will need the following details for the claim form: the registration number of the vehicle you were driving, the date and time of the incident, the location of the accident and details of any damage caused to your vehicle or any third party vehicle, as well as the registration number and name of any third party involved.

Third parties

If anyone has been injured in the accident the insurance company must be notified as soon as possible as they only have 15 days to investigate these incidents and establish liability.

Writs and Summons must be treated with great urgency - please pass all correspondence to the Insurance Officer, unanswered.

If you consider a third party responsible for the accident, we have insurance to recover our uninsured costs (e.g. £250.00 policy excess, cost of any hired vehicles) and for our driver to pursue a legal claim for compensation for any injuries.

Repairs to University vehicles

You will need to obtain an estimate for the damage and send it to the insurance Office to obtain approval from the insurers. It is best if you use one of the insurer’s Approved Repairers – please contact the Insurance Office for details.

The insurers will pay the garage for the repairs directly once they are approved but you will need to pay the £250.00 excess from your budget on collection of the vehicle.

Repairs to hire vehicles

If the vehicle is owned by a hire car company, the hire company can usually arrange for repairs to take place themselves. If the damage is minor, it is best to instruct them to proceed immediately. If the damage is serious please contact the Insurance Officer immediately and the insurance company may need their engineer to inspect the vehicle.

The hire company will invoice you for the repairs. You will need to raise a requisition on the purchasing system and pay the hire company from your budget. If you then send the Insurance Office a copy of the bill and details of the charge code you used, we will arrange to obtain reimbursement for you minus the £250.00 excess.

Please note, when invoicing you, the hire company should not charge you for the days the vehicle is off hire and awaiting repair or for administrative costs. The negotiated contract that the Procurement Office have arranged with Enterprise and U-Drive states that we "shall not be liable for any costs associated with loss of use of any vehicles by the tenderer under any circumstances."

Immobilised vehicles

If the vehicle is immobilised by damage please contact the Insurance Office (or the insurers directly if outside office hours) immediately and the insurers can arrange for recovery for you. Alternatively, if the vehicle is proving an obstruction, the police may instruct the removal and bill the insurers later.

Stolen vehicles

If a vehicle is stolen the Insurance Office will require the following documents to process your claim: vehicle registration document, MOT certificate, service record, purchase receipt (if available), keys. A note of the vehicle's mileage and any special features eg: air conditioning, that would increase its market value will assist us to negotiate settlement of your claim.

Windscreen damage:

Please call Autoglass on 0800 363 636 and quote Zurich Municipal policy number NHE-05CA06-0013-52. Autoglass will bill the insurers for repairs but we will need to pay the £250.00 excess. Do not pay the VAT on the repair bill as we have an arrangement with the insurers for them to pay this for us.