With families growing in size across the UK, many car owners are looking to trade in their cars and upgrade to a larger vehicle; one option is to purchase a private minibus. Owning a minibus allows room for all of the family as well as luggage when holidaying and groceries when shopping. It can make day-to-day trips such as school runs a lot easier for both parents and children as everyone is not confined to the small space of a car which can lead to irritable kids (and adults).
Driving a private minibus may require that the owner has a special license to be able to operate the vehicle. A minibus is generally classed as so when a vehicle has upwards of nine seats, over and above 16 seats may be classified as a coach and will require a special license. There are requirements in place that allow people with a car license to be able to drive a private minibus that has up to 16 seats.
Anyone who passed a car driving test prior to 1 January 1997 is automatically eligible to drive a minibus that has between 9 and 16 seats.
Drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997 are not automatically able to drive a minibus, although eligibility may be given is the following criteria is met:
Due to the differences that driving a car and a private minibus of over 16 seats have, a driver will be required to have a PCV licence; this may also be required for anyone between the ages 18 and 21 wanting to drive a minibus of any kind. A PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) license will require a
- The person is over the age of 21
- The person receives no payment or consideration for driving the minibus
- The minibus weight does not exceed a weight 3.5 tonnes
- The person has held a Category B license for two or more years.
specially catered test.
It is important to remember that a private minibus must be kept as so, any use of the vehicle for hire or reward is strictly prohibited and could lead to a driver losing their license, it also against the law for anyone else to be able to accept payment for driving the minibus. Depending on the country it may be that the minibus is forbidden from leave the border of the country to which it is registered.
Insuring a private minibus will be more expensive to insuring a car; this is due in part to the vehicles size and the risk involved in driving such a large vehicle. Many of the largest insurance companies offer premiums to minibus owners including:
If you have been a careful driver over the years as a car or van owner you may have built up a few years of no claims discount or bonus, this can lead to you being able to get a cheaper premium on minibus insurance from many companies.
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