Minibus licensing requirements and insurance

If you offer a minibus service as part of your nursery or care home, you will need to have the appropriate credentials including the correct licence, insurance and breakdown cover. Below we answer some of the common questions relating to the use of minibuses as part of an organisation.

  • What is legally defined as a minibus?

  • Although minibuses come in different shapes, sizes and weights, the legal definition of a minibus is as follows:

    "Minibus" - a motor vehicle which is constructed or adapted to carry more than 8 but not more than 16 seated passengers in addition to the driver. (Construction and Use) regulations 1986.

    However, the above definition makes no mention about weight, and as a result minibuses could weigh anything from 2000-5500 kg gross vehicle weight or MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass)

  • What licence do my employees need?

  • Passed car test prior to 1st January 1997: All employees who passed their car driving test prior to 1st January 1997 can drive a minibus so long as it has 17 seats or less (including the driver).

    Passed car test after 1st January 1997 For those employees who passed their car driving test after 1st January 1997 the situation is more complex. Such drivers must have a PCV (Passenger Carrying vehicle) licence. Any driver now wishing to attain a PCV category must pass the DSA's (Driving Standards Agency) PCV theory and practical driving tests, in addition to those already taken for a normal car licence.

  • What insurance do I need?

  • It is vital that your minibus is insured correctly as driving under a standard business use motor policy could leave you uninsured. Where you transport service users (even if no fee is charged) you could be deemed to be carrying them for 'hire or reward'. Employers must recognise, that a paid member of staff who drives a minibus without the correct driving licence is breaking the law and the terms of the vehicle insurance.

  • What about breakdown cover?

  • When the minibus is used to transport service users, special attention should be paid to breakdown cover as many recovery companies do not have the ability to remove a full minibus to a place of safety.

Next Steps:

At Towergate we have facilities in place with leading UK insurers to provide the correct motor insurance together with a specialist breakdown cover. For more information about Towergate and our minibus cover please contact us on 01443 420 690, alternatively, email us at

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