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  • any recomendations for Sign Shop Insurance in the UK

    Posted by Neil Kelly on November 18, 2002 at 3:46 pm

    Can any one recomend an insurance company that will cover a Sign Shop
    I am currently on a retail scheme with separate insurance for working away ( employers liability public liability ) My existing company will only renew if I combine the two as they have decided this year I was wrongly catorgorised last year and they want to double (:) my last years premium can anyone else who works in a sign shop enviroment help.

    Regards Neil…

    Phill Fenton replied 21 years, 4 months ago 7 Members · 23 Replies
  • 23 Replies
  • Martin Pearson

    November 18, 2002 at 5:27 pm

    Dont know what the others do Neil but mine was arranged through a broker I know and trust, I know if you are a member of the Federation of Small Businesses they have preferential rates for their members this might help. I know my insurance went up quite a bit last time due to all the claims the insurance companies are paying out. Maybe a lot of the increase you are being asked to pay has something to do with this.

  • Johnny S

    November 18, 2002 at 5:38 pm

    I arranged mine through hsbc. Their’s was the cheapest of a bunch I tried.

    I don’t think you have to bank with them to be insured.

    if you need any numbers give me a shout

    Johnny S

  • Neil Kelly

    November 18, 2002 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks Martin, Johnny
    re increases my first couple of year’s at the shop I was paying about 400.00 for building content and liability all in. 2002 it rose up to 943.00 this year they are quoting 1804.00 ill try HSBC ill let you know if they come up trumps
    does anyone know of any signmaking schemes I used to use a broker that had a scheme for photographic studios with they adapted for retail sign shops but they discontinued the plan 2 years ago.
    re Federation of Small Businesses I haven’t heard of them have you any info/ tel no’s

    Kind Regards Neil………..

  • John Childs

    November 19, 2002 at 6:10 pm

    Insurance. A subject close to my heart having paid my premium today. 🙁

    Presumably most of us are working on vehicles so how do others insure them whilst in their custody and control? We have a motor trade policy, but is that the only way?

  • Martin Pearson

    November 19, 2002 at 7:31 pm

    To be honest John I have never thought about motor insurance for vans, our customers bring them here to us and come and collect them from us so I have never even given it a thought. I dont know how I would stand if a vehicle was somehow damaged whilst in the shop.
    Federation of Small Businesses, I an surprised you have not heard of them Neil, they are a big organisation with about 300,000 small businesses as members. I will post a contact number tommorrow.

  • Phill Fenton

    November 19, 2002 at 7:36 pm

    We also have a motor traders policy. I was advised that this was the best way to ensure we were covered for any vehicles left with us to be worked on. This also means I can drive any customers vehicles on public roads if required. I used to do without this type of policy but took it out for peace of mind as I was often having to drive my customers vehicles when left in my care and I believe the typical customer would expect to be able to make a claim if the vehicle was damaged while left with us.

  • Martin Pearson

    November 19, 2002 at 7:43 pm

    Phill, if you dont mind me asking how much does this cost you, is it fully comp and what sort of excess is there ?

  • Phill Fenton

    November 19, 2002 at 10:20 pm

    I’ll need to check back Martin – but I think the last renewal was about 650 pounds – fully comp – there is an excess but I’m not sure how much without checking the policy (which is at work – I’m at home now) I’ll check it out and let you know. My Broker is Coggans Wood – they have an office in Edinburgh and one in Fife (Kircaldy I think).

  • John Childs

    November 19, 2002 at 11:03 pm


    Is that just for Road Risk cover for you personally?

    I am paying an awful lot more than that.

  • Phill Fenton

    November 20, 2002 at 8:56 am

    I’ve just checked my policy and renewal details:-

    Details are – Comprehensive cover, three named drivers. Covering a Renault traffic Van and any vehicles in the custody or control of the insured for the purpose of upkeep or repair (Haven’t a clue what that means 😕 ) Excess £100 pounds.

    Incidentally the renewal for this was £512. We’ve not had any claims on this policy.

  • John Childs

    November 20, 2002 at 10:39 am

    Thanks for that Phill. Perhaps I should try your insurance company next year. It sounds cheap.

    For me the beauty of a motor trade policy is that everything can be under one roof. We have the buildings, equipment, business interruption, public and employee liability and all the normal guff. On road risks we have six permanent staff plus any number of unspecified casual drivers. We can have as many as forty customer vehicles here overnight although a realistic average is probably about a dozen so we have cover for £200,000, which is probably not enough.

    For this I had to write a cheque yesterday for £11563.66. To be fair we did have a couple of minor accidents last year.

    There is one benefit in that myself, my wife, two children and my parents are covered for personal use at company expense which I suppose saves us a bit.

  • Neil Kelly

    November 20, 2002 at 11:00 am

    Jhon Intrested to see you have a Motor traders policy we dont move customer vehicles that mutch and its normally left to me as I am our main policy holder it gives me 3rd party cover on any vehicle but the private cars included might be a great advantage, also does this include your sign making equipment as well as buildings public liability etc.

    I would be interested in a Quote if you woudnt mind sharing your contact

    regards Neil…

  • John Childs

    November 20, 2002 at 12:34 pm


    It is a constant source of wonder to me that a customer will quite happily leave a quarter of a million poundsworth of vans with us without checking whether there is adequate insurance cover. In fourteen years nobody has ever even asked. I do wonder whether some of our competitors are cutting corners in this area.

    I don’t know if you can get a Motor Trade policy with third party cover but for me an even greater advantage than the one umbrella thing is that we can all drive anything belonging to anybody at any time and its all fully comprehensive, provided that they are driving with permission. That even extends to getting somebody to drive me home from the pub when I have imbibed a little too freely. The only exception is my biggest bike, which is restricted to me alone.

    We have never had to inform anybody when we change vehicles, just give them a list of the ones we own at renewal time. However, I understand that with a new EU directive this is going to change from early in the new year. We will then have to notify any changes as they happen on a web site somewhere.

    All our equipment is covered whether office, signmaking, tools, personal belongings etc etc.

    There are very few insurance companies doing this sort of policy these days but ours is with the Norwich Union. Available at any good broker near you.

  • Martin Pearson

    November 20, 2002 at 5:57 pm

    Phill, thanks mate, if this policy covers your works van as well its not going to be that much extra, I’ll have to look into this in more detail.
    John, it might not be a case of your compeditors cutting corners it might simply be a case of not thinking about it. Untill someone mentioned customers vehicles I had not thought about it myself, our customers bring their vans to us and collect them, normally they put them in the workshop themselves as well, allthough I sometimes have to move them outside once they are done. I suppose because I have never been asked to drive a customers van on the road it did not occur to me. Granted we are very small and the competition you are talking about is no doubt a lot larger but it might be the case that they simply havent thought about it. I would imagine this policy could be used as a good sales tool as well.

  • John Childs

    November 20, 2002 at 11:27 pm

    Martin, you may well be right. I have been involved in the motor trade all my working life and am perhaps more aware than many of the dangers of having custody and control of customer vehicles.

    Nevertheless I would expect that our competitors of a similar size should be aware of the need for cover but seriously doubt that they all have it.

    I would, however, recommend that any sign shop, no matter how small, assess the risks in their own particular instance and their exposure to a claim. A £25k van with perhaps another £1k of racking, £500 of graphics and maybe even up to £10k of, say, spare central heating spares in the back can make a big dent in the bottom line in the event of a total loss in a fire.

  • dicko

    January 31, 2003 at 2:36 pm
    quote johnchilds:


    Is that just for Road Risk cover for you personally?

    I am paying an awful lot more than that.

    Hi John – can you let me know your Broker’s contact details?
    I am getting quotes for new Sign Shop around £2100 – much too much. 👿


  • John Childs

    January 31, 2003 at 3:33 pm


    The insurance certificate says CGU AND Norwich Union on it. (They keep changing their name ands I am not sure what the current incarnation is.)

    Our broker is;-
    Country Mutual (part of the NFU)
    Stuart House, Elizabeth Street, Corby, Northants.
    Tel: 01536 408800 Fax: 01536 402004
    Our contact is Mike Blenkinsop

  • Fat Bob

    January 31, 2003 at 10:21 pm

    Hi guys

    Nasty one this im afraid to say first off Phil You Better get a letter of confirmation from your brokers as I think youll find that a motor traders policy Does not cover you cause you aint a motor trader. If thats the policy he sold you then shift the liability on to him cause if you have a good claim the insurance company aint going to pay (TRUST ME)

    We have just managed to get a specialist policy to cover movment of customers vehicles and cover when on the premises £2500 and thres not enough room to write down all the restictions and we only managed to get this as the main mans brother is a broker.

    Talking of restictions have any of you bothered to check your public liability latly. The cheap end of the market will not cover you on heights between 6 – 10 mtrs on the Quotes Ive been looking at. Not allowed any heat Sources. No chemicals of any kind
    and wont cover any body but you.(how often do you get someone to help)
    A lot of them £500 Excess and guess what if you dont have a health and safty tickrt with some of them you aint covered to work in public. Not allowed to touch road signs
    and a shed full of places you cant work like museums, docks, crown properties,chemical factories…………………the lists on some of these policys are frightening and seriously
    useless for what we do and its going to get worse and so are the prices.

    So the morel of this my friends is please check what you are being sold dont just settle for a price or what a broker gives you as in the end its your donkey thats on the line

    Any body got tax problems ?

  • Phill Fenton

    January 31, 2003 at 10:44 pm

    What is the point in going to an insurance broker if they are just going to sell you worthless insurance?

    Many people now cut out the middleman (by buying insurance direct from the insurers – direct line is a good example) thinking it will save them money. This may or may not be the case. I happen to trust my insurance broker as he is the expert – not me – in insurance.

    A brokers purpose is the look at all the products available – and source the best suited product for your needs. I can’t do this because I don’t know the insurance business inside out – but my broker does.

    It’s a bit like someone coming to you with a sign their talented mate designed (Usually it’s crap – because the talented mate knows nothing about signmaking).

    Similarly – I know nothing about insurance, so I use a well established and reputable broker to find the best policy for my needs.

    The policy I mentioned earlier is a motor policy that covers me and two others to drive my business van and any of my customers vehicles. I have a different type of policy altogether to cover public liability and premises, equipment etc.

    I would urge anyone to take advice from a reputable broker rather than buy insurance direct from an insurance company. These companies have a vested interest in selling their own policies whereas a broker is impartial.

    Why am I being so defensive about insurance brokers?

    My wifes Brother runs the insurance broking company I use which was founded in 1969 by my father in law.

    If I can’t trust family – who can I trust? 😉

  • Martin Pearson

    January 31, 2003 at 11:37 pm

    I have to agree with you Phill, we moan about customers who think they know all about design and then we go and do exactly the same ourselves. I use a broker for my insurance because as you say they are the experts.
    It was like the Spanish inquisition with all the questions Julie asked me about my business before looking for a suitable policy and she warned me that if there was anything she haddent asked about that I felt she should know I would be best to tell her as most insurance companys wont pay out if they can get away with it. I might have paid more for my insurance that some others but I should have the best policy I can get for the job I am doing now.

  • John Childs

    February 1, 2003 at 6:53 am


    I think that you have been misinformed. You don’t need to trade in motors to qualify for a motor traders policy. Indeed, our local village garage doesn’t buy or sell cars, they just repair them. The only difference between our requirements and theirs is that the engineering section is deleted from our policy as we don’t have compressors, hoists etc.

    You will struggle to get a proper motor trade policy (even if the main man’s brother is a broker) because the insurance companies don’t like issuing them due to the potential for abuse of the great freedom they allow. Nevertheless, provided that you can demonstrate that that type of policy best matches your requirements you should, with a lot of negotiation, be able to get one. It is exactly the same getting hold of a set of trade plates, another motor trade benefit that is essential to us.

    Despite that, and as you say, the list of restrictions gets longer every year. In years past we had practically no restrictions whatsoever but that has changed and we won’t see those days again.

    You raise one of the current high profile aspects with Health and Safety. Whereas we have always taken great care in this area, and have attended to any potentially dangerous points promptly, this is no longer good enough. We now need to cope with all the bureaucracy and paperwork that goes with it. We need a written H&S policy statement and to document regular safety checks using the HSE?s five point plan as a basis.

    We were told a month ago that we were no longer covered for anything that could have been prevented by the use of such a system. The stupid thing is that we are not required to do anything differently, just to have some paperwork to go with it. As soon as I find the time to spend a couple of hours on the word processor our cover will be reinstated. We don’t need a health and safety ticket, just a documented system.

    We have recently had an inspection and I specifically raised two of the other points you mention. I was told that restrictions on heat sources were more concerned with naked flame, like welding equipment, and that our heat guns were not a problem. Similarly, I showed him the limited amount of chemicals we use, meths, thinners and degreasers, and was assured that they were fine.


    I don’t think that any of us could go to a direct insurer. Unless your name is Joe Average and you drive a Mondeo they are just not geared up to deal with you. Anything out of the ordinary and they are lost. I totally agree that a broker is the place to go.

  • Fat Bob

    February 1, 2003 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Guys

    In deed john Iam greatful for some of the comments you have made and I am waiting on
    Phil to check with his broker on what his position is if he confirms what you say then I will be going to have a serious word with our Broker.

    On the Heat comment this is the case with the policy which I have picked but the way they are worded does not state this fact and I had this clarified in Writing but 2 of the policy of the 12 we looked at and checked stated no heat source. On enquiring further with them they stated it meant no heat source including A heat can imagin what my thoughts are. The point being most of them are worded the same way and even they make different judgements so what chance have we got.


  • Phill Fenton

    February 4, 2003 at 9:42 pm

    I have spoken with my broker today who has advised me of the following:-

    Our policy is a Motor Serve policy with MMA. (This is not quite the same as a motor traders policy – which is what I understood it to be). However, it is the right policy for our circumstances and I would re-iterate that it provides the following cover

    Details are – Comprehensive cover, three named drivers. Covering a Renault traffic Van and any vehicles in the custody or control of the insured for the purpose of upkeep or repair. Excess £100 pounds.

    Incidentally the last renewal for this was £512. We’ve not had any claims on this policy.

    If anyone needs advice or is interested in a similar policy, my broker would welcome any enquiries:-

    Contact details are:-
    Coggans Wood
    49 Manor Place, Edinburgh
    Tel. 0131 225 7777
    (ask for David Sutherland and mention you were given their contact details from the UK signboards)

    They also handle all our other insurance in relation to our business. David Sutherland (who runs the insurance side of things) is my wife Alison’s brother.

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