Boom in online spending ‘insures' growing demand for couriers

Online shopping has been embedded into our daily routines, and with so many more people working from home, fewer are getting the dreaded ‘You Missed A Delivery’ note
Angela Stewart

LAST year was a watershed moment when it comes to how we shop.

The amount of money spent on online retail sales in 2020 increased by an incredible 46.1 per cent compared with 2019 as a whole, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Intermittent lockdowns meant it was hard for shoppers to hit the high street and the ease of shopping from the comfort of your own home saw four in 10 people from the UK conduct more online shopping.

There have also been a number of supporting factors which are helping to embed online shopping into our daily routines. The move towards working from home has meant the delivery process has been largely positive – fewer people are getting the dreaded ‘You Missed A Delivery' note.

Retailers are also becoming increasingly more sophisticated in terms of their delivery options with same day and next day deliveries now becoming the norm.

The explosion in online spending is unsurprisingly driving a major boom in courier and delivery services. This sector was in line for annual growth of 23 per cent in 2020, the biggest increase for five years.

Some existing courier businesses are expanding their fleets while there have been a number of start-ups created to take advantage of a booming market. Statistics from ManpowerGroup shows drivers are currently the most eagerly sought employees in the UK.

But what are the insurance requirements for courier businesses and sole traders?

Firstly, if you are carrying out work as a courier service in return for payment you will need specific cover, your standard private car policy is unlikely to be enough. The types of cover range from Third party, third party fire and theft and fully comprehensive.

• Third party is the lowest level of cover for van insurance and only provides cover for third party injury or damage to their vehicle.

• Third party fire and theft covers your van for loss or damage due to fire or theft as well as any injury or damage to third parties.

• Fully comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicles and any injury or damage to caused to third party vehicles in the event of an accident.

For the vehicle's contents, a goods in transit policy covers items that you are transporting from one place to another as part of your business, protecting them against theft loss or damage during the transportation process itself.

The best insurance brokers can provide policies tailored to the needs of your business at the best possible prices. You don't need to be an insurance expert either, they will keep you right and explain which additional benefits might be suitable to boost your van and wider business cover with the right level of liability cover built in.

As Northern Ireland's largest insurance broker, AbbeyAutoline can connect you with a large panel of insurers from across the UK and Europe and can tailor a policy to suit your business needs.

:: Angela Stewart is account manager at AbbeyAutoline (

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