What are the different types of taxi?

Written by Michael Foote, Insurance and Finance Expert

Michael Foote is the founder of Quote Goat and has over 13 years experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors. Since launching Quote Goat he has appeared on TV as well as many of the largest online publications including Forbes, The Telegraph and The Metro. Prior to Quote Goat, he worked in finance in the city for a number of firms including HSBC.

As a taxi driver it is important that you know the classification of your taxi so that you can arrange for proper licensing and appropriate insurance cover. There are two main categories of taxi insurance:

Public Hire

A public hire taxi is one that can pick up passengers without being pre-booked. They are also referred to as Hackney Carriages or Black Cabs. To become a public hire taxi driver you need to be licensed by the correct authority, for example the public carriage office or the local authority. Public hire vehicles will often have a light on top to indicate when they are in use or available to pick up passengers. The iconic Black Cab that is most famously seen in London requires drivers to take a test known as “The Knowledge”.  This test takes weeks to prepare for and requires a driver to be able to navigate the streets of London without a map. To compare insurance quotes for a public hire vehicle you can visit our taxi insurance page.

Private Hire

Private hire taxi’s also known as minicabs require a booking for a trip to be made and therefore cannot be hailed from the side of the road. Taxi apps such as Uber & Lyft also fall into this category. There are a variety of vehicles that can be used for private hire including MPVs, saloons & minibuses. The way you apply for a private hire license depends on whether you are going to operate inside or outside London. If operating inside London then you will need to apply via TfL (Transport for London), however if you operate outside of London you will need to apply to your local council. To compare insurance quotes for a private hire vehicle you can visit our Minicab Insurance page.


This type of taxi actually falls under private hire however due to the fact that chauffeurs often drive high value vehicles, insurance providers can offer specialist policies to reflect the increase in vehicle cost.