Motor insurance

Details of policy

Insurer: Zurich Municipal

Cover: Comprehensive

Excess: £250.00 (including windscreen damage)

Certificate: Please click here

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

New Highway Code rules

Please familiarise yourself with the new rules, to be found here.

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 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.

Becoming a University authorised driver:

Drivers have to be authorised by their department. They must be aged over 21 to drive cars and over 25 to drive minibuses, as well as held their full driving licence for over 2 years.

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 If the driver has a photocard driving licence the paper counterpart to this was no longer valid from 8th June 2015 and so they will also need to log in to the DVLA website and provide us with a printed copy of the page which shows whether they have any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. See here for categories of licence required for all vehicles.

Drivers must also complete a Driver Declaration Form (PDF, 214kB)‌ 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 and the Highway Code 

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.

Important – pre-existing damage: 

It is required that the driver checks the vehicle thoroughly for any pre-hire damage.

Take date and time stamped photographs or video of any damage and write a note on the hire paperwork and ask the dispatcher at the hire company to sign to accept the pre-existing damage.

Alternatively (having taken the photos/video), telephone the relevant branch immediately before driving the vehicle.

Also check the vehicle  post-hire, recording the same (date and time stamped photographs or video of any damage), this will ensure that there are no disputes after the hire has ended. 

If you have any concerns about the safety of the hire vehicle, you must not drive it.

Please also note that tyre damage is not covered by the insurance, and could incur costs for your department.

It is recommended that vehicles are not left unattended for collection by rental company staff.  Please consider using the free-pick up service offered by the rental company.  If you must leave the vehicle, please take photos or a video of the vehicle and the mileage. 

Any damage or loss caused after the vehicle is delivered and has not been notified to the hire company, or where the vehicle is still in the custody of the University (for instance left on the side of the road to be collected) and has not been ‘off-hired’ will be the responsibility of the hirer and will be charged to the school or department. It is very difficult to dispute a claim for damage unless the above actions have been taken.

Driving your own vehicle on University business

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have adequate insurance for your own vehicle whilst using the vehicle for University business and you should contact your own insurers for advice.  The University cannot insure employees/students own vehicles.

Drivers should note that the class of use known as Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SD&P) only, or SD&P plus commuting to and from the employee’s normal place of work will not cover business use. These classes of use will not cover the occasional trip to a meeting elsewhere.

If driving a vehicle that belongs to someone else (such as a spouse, partner or friend), you must ensure that the owner has extended their insurance to cover you whilst driving on University business. 

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

Driving abroad

Details of which countries may require an International driving permit what documents are required and rules on driving abroad can be found on the relevant web page.

University Vehicles (including mini-buses): There is no cover on the University insurance to take our vehicles overseas. If cover is required please contact the insurance office well in advance of your trip so we can contact insurers about arranging cover.  

Hire vehicles: The University’s motor insurance is a UK policy and cannot cover vehicles (including mini-buses) hired in an overseas country or hired in the UK and being taken abroad.

When hiring:

1)     A vehicle (including minibuses) abroad or

2)     A vehicle (including minibuses) in the UK which you are taking abroad

You will need to purchase insurance/breakdown 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.  The hire company may be able to offer a reduced excess for an additional cost.

Taking a University owned motor car or van abroad: You will need to take certain documentation with you.  See the Brexit guidance section.

Taking a UK hired vehicle abroad:  If you wish to take a UK registered hire vehicle overseas, you must tell the hire company that you intend to take their vehicle overseas.  They will provide you with the relevant documentation, which you must take with you.   It is recommended that you also arrange breakdown cover.

Brexit and motor insurance

I am taking a University owned/hired or leased vehicle overseas.  What do I need to do?

  • Firstly, you must be a University of Bristol approved driver.  Drivers have to be authorised by their department. They must be aged over 21 to drive cars and over 25 to drive minibuses.  Further information on procedures/cover and claims is available here

Do I need an International Driving Permit (IDP)/what other documents do I need to take with me and where can I find out about rules in the Country that I will be visiting?  You may need to apply for an IDP.  Details of which countries require an IDP and other information such as documents and rules on driving abroad can be found on the website.

Driving Minibuses

A minibus is defined as a vehicle that can carry 9 – 16 passengers plus the driver. Minibus accidents can be particularly serious, so the government imposes tight rules regarding the licensing, servicing and insurance of these vehicles

If you are going to use a minibus, training will be required for the majority of drivers.  Please refer to the University’s Driving at Work Policy which outlines full details of the driving licence requirements and obligations involved in driving a minibus. 


Any authorised 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 on University business under the University’s insurance.  To do so, they must have completed a University driver’s declaration form, have  been authorised to drive and comply with the University’s Driving at Work Policy.


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 whether 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 and the guide to maintaining roadworthiness for more information.

Tail lifts

Minibuses with tail lifts will be subject to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations

You must not attempt to drive the vehicle if a defect makes it unroadworthy.


How to make a claim

First things to do after an accident:

  • Try to stay calm and be polite.
  • 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 insurance details follow:
Insurer: Zurich Municipal,
Motor Claims Centre,
PO Box 3322 Interface Business Park,
Policy number: NHE-05CA06-0013-52
Telephone: 01489 882 110
  • If the vehicle is hired or leased, give the name and address of the owner to those involved.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • The Police are entitled to see our motor insurance certificate.
  • Never admit liability for an incident or offer payment.
  • Report the accident to the Insurance Office as soon as you can

Reporting the claim to the University:

Please email the Insurance Office at: 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 make, model and registration number of the vehicle you were driving.
  • The date and time of the incident.
  • The location of the accident.
  • The make, model and registration number of the vehicle that the other party (parties) were driving.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the third party.
  • Details of any damage caused to your vehicle or any third party vehicle

If anyone was injured, our insurers will also require their details. 

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

Third parties

Writs and Summons must be treated with great urgency - please do not respond to the correspondence, but pass all correspondence to the Insurance Manager.

If you consider a third party responsible for the accident, we have insurance to recover our uninsured costs (for instance, the 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, however, 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 will usually arrange for repairs to take place themselves.

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 for the days the vehicle is off hire and awaiting repair or for administrative costs.

The Procurement Office have arranged with Enterprise and U-Drive that they will not charge additional hire charges or administrative costs.  In the event that you are charged for these items, please contact the Procurement Office.   

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 National Windscreens on 0800 916 8872 and quote Zurich Municipal policy number NHE-05CA06-0013-52. National Windsceens 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.