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How businesses can save money on their motoring costs

By James Billings
Practice Leader, Motor Risk Solutions

Some practical tips to help businesses reduce spending.

With rising energy costs adding to existing supply chain frustrations, these remain challenging times for businesses of all sizes, struggling to fulfil orders, generate income and balance the books.

To help, in this article we look at some practical ways that businesses with vehicles on the road can reduce their spending.

Motor insurance

Insurance is a vital part of running a business. With financial pressures increasing there’s a need to obtain value for money, so it’s worth exploring how insurance costs might be optimised.

When calculating the insurance premium, underwriters take various risk factors into account to determine how likely it is that you will need to make a claim. Some things that could help you to save money at your next insurance renewal include:

Excess - Offering to carry a higher excess on your policy could lower the premium as you would be agreeing to contribute towards the cost of any claim, for example by offering to pay the first £250 or £500 of any claim.

Eligible drivers - Restricting the number and type of drivers allowed to drive your vehicles could lead to savings, for example by excluding any drivers aged under 25 if you’re unlikely to need this.

Risk management - Demonstrating that you are managing risk in the business may lead to the insurer looking favourably on your commitment to risk and road safety, through initiatives such as:

  • Vehicle storage - Where are vehicles kept at night or when not in use? Is it safe and secure?
  • Vehicle security - Do the vehicles have any additional security, such as alarms and trackers?
  • Cameras - In-vehicle cameras help greatly with determining liability following an incident and defending fraudulent claims. They can also help improve driver behaviour.
  • Vehicle checks - Do you carry out daily vehicle checks looking for defects that could potentially lead to an incident?
  • Documentation - Detailing company procedures, health & safety policies and having a Driver Handbook all help to demonstrate a positive risk management culture.
  • Driver training - Is there evidence of ongoing driver training / coaching to instil a road safety mindset?
  • Incident reporting - Is everyone aware of what to do in the event of an incident, and the need to report incidents as soon as they happen?

Improved fuel economy

Experienced fleet managers will know that changes to driver behaviour behind the wheel can lead to significant savings, so there’s a lot that can be done around driver education.

Driving style - Talk to employees about their driving style. Aggressive driving, over-revving and late braking all use up more fuel, whereas smooth acceleration and braking, combined with moving up through the gears as soon as possible, will save money.

Watch your speed - Speeding carries the risk of a fine and points on your licence but it also uses more fuel, for example driving at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph (and remember that this is a limit, not a target - particularly as we head into darker evenings and inclement weather.)

Eco mode - If the vehicles have different drive modes, such as eco-mode for greater fuel efficiency, familiarise staff with how and when to use them.

Lighten the load - Removing any excess weight can lead to more miles per gallon, so look at what’s being kept in the boot or on the back seats. Do you need to carry all those bulky items all the time?

Tyres - Make sure that vehicle tyres are always inflated to the correct pressure. This will not only help with road safety but will also reduce tyre wear and improve fuel consumption.

Air conditioning - Avoid leaving air conditioning on for long periods as it can put a strain on the engine and use more fuel. Driving with windows open can also create drag and use more fuel.

Embrace technology - Vehicle telematics and driver management systems can help to identify problem areas and encourage drivers to be more considerate road users – leading to better fuel economy, fewer driving offences, incidents and insurance claims.

Route planning - Effective journey planning to avoid traffic jams and black spots will mean less idling in traffic and more efficient driving.

Avoid obstacles - Always be looking ahead so you can anticipate traffic lights, roundabouts, zebra crossings and other obstacles, ease off the accelerator if needed and keep moving, with fewer stop-starts.

Read the road - Planning ahead and using gravity to build up momentum when going downhill will help you get uphill with less accelerating and less fuel. Smooth progressive driving also helps reduce the risk of being involved in a collision. Anticipating hazards and using acceleration sense (varying the vehicle’s speed in response to changing road or traffic conditions with better use of the accelerator and brakes) can help to reduce fuel usage, cause less tyre wear and reduce carbon emissions.

Filling up

Check prices - Prices at the pump can vary quite dramatically between providers and will be more expensive at motorway service stations. To help you be mindful of how much it’s costing to fill up with fuel, there are several price checker apps and websites which list the cheapest places in your local area to refuel.

Fuel cards - Consider issuing company fuel cards to drivers to make it easier to fill up, monitor spending and manage fuel expenses efficiently.

And finally…

Suggestions welcome - Encourage all employees to come forward with suggestions for ways to save money. Maybe offer a prize for the best ideas.

Risk management services for QBE customers

QBE helps businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance.

Depending upon the size and complexity of the business needs, QBE customers can access a wide range of risk management services, self-assessment questionnaires and risk management toolkits which are focused on the key causes of claims, and on generating action plans for improved outcomes - including protecting employees, reducing risk and making claims less likely. You can find out more about how QBE helps businesses to manage risk here.

Need to claim? Report it early

Finally, a reminder that if you have an incident and need to make an insurance claim, it’s important that you report it as soon as possible, ideally the same day. Reporting a claim early can save time and help you to receive any claim payments faster, as well as allowing us to help mitigate the cost of third-party claims.