Zoomcover founder John discusses the company and what makes it different.

What is Zoomcover?

Zoomcover is a brand new company specialising in on-demand motor insurance.

Why do customers need this?

Lots of motorists feel that annual motor insurance is too rigid and doesn’t always allow them to drive when/where/how they want to. Many of our policies are available by the hour, day, week or month to give customers complete flexibility – and ensure they are only paying for the cover they need.

What evidence do you have to prove customer demand exists?

We know that the police are impounding more than 500 vehicles every day, so there are certainly a group of potential customers who need our products to prevent them from driving uninsured. And they’re only the ones who’ve been caught, so that’s probably only a fraction of the total number of uninsured vehicles.

But at the other extreme there’s another group of motorists who are buying more insurance than they need – for example the driver who selects Business Use on their annual policy even though they may only use their vehicle for business once a year.

Our intention is to provide a better deal for both sets of motorists, and all those in-between!

“Some people are unwittingly driving uninsured, other are buying more cover than they need – our aim is to offer a better deal to both sets of motorists, and all those in between!”
Aren’t there companies who already do this?

Yes – but they haven’t got what Zoomcover have got!

So what makes Zoomcover different?

There are many things that make us unique, here are just 3 of them :

  1. We help the customer understand what insurance they’ve already got
  2. We’ve built the widest range of on-demand products
  3. We’ve got some of the best prices in the market
Can you explain these differences in a bit more detail? How will you help the customer understand the cover they already have?

Initially this will be by guiding customers through are specially designed question set, which will elicit what cover they have and what cover they may need.
And we’ve launched a sister site called Coverchecker.com which will provide a wealth of hints, tips and advice which will help motorists understand their current insurance situation. Questions like:

  • Does my insurance allow me to drive a borrowed car?
  • How can I check my policy is appearing on the MID (Motor Insurance Database)?
  • Does my policy allow me to use my car for business?
  • Can I buy daily insurance just on the days I use my car?
  • Is it legal for a vehicle to be covered under 2 separate policies?
How does your wide range of products help the customer?

The majority of our competitors only have one or two products : we’re delighted to have seven at the time of our launch, and we’ll be adding to this as we go along. The benefit of this to the customer is that we can offer them a product which is better targeted to their individual needs, meaning they get the cover they need but at the same time ensuring that they are not wasting their money on unnecessary cover. For example :

  • If a customer already has Social Domestic and Pleasure cover on their car but needs to make an Occasional Business Trip, we can cover the Business Use Only
  • If a customer has Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover on their annual policy but wants to borrow a car, the DOC cover will normally be restricted to Third Party Only cover. We can provide Vehicle Damage cover to dovetail with this Third Party cover to ensure the driver is fully covered
  • If a Learner Driver wants to borrow their parent’s care to practice driving we can provide that cover (whilst the Learner is accompanied of course!). Thus protecting the parent’s No Claims Discount (NCD) in the event the Learner has an accident.
What other products do you offer?

The full range at launch is :

  1. Zoomcover Learner Driver Own Car Insurance
  2. Zoomcover Learner Driver Borrowed Car Insurance
  3. Zoomcover Car Share Insurance
  4. Zoomcover Temporary Insurance
  5. Zoomcover Business Use Only Insurance
  6. Zoomcover Top Up Cover
  7. Zoomcover Impounded Vehicle Insurance
Isn’t that a bit confusing?

Don’t worry! By asking customers three Yes/No questions about whether they have a Full licence, own their own car and have annual insurance we can very quickly direct customers to the most appropriate product for their needs.

You mentioned pricing – how do you know your prices are competitive?

We check our prices against those of our main competitors and, whilst we’re not the cheapest every single time, our prices compare very favourably. We’re helped in this regard by having better targeted products – because we provide the cover the customer needs and only this cover, there’s no wasted premium being spent on unnecessary cover. Another factor in our favour is that our Administration Fees are much lower than those charged by many of our competitors.

“We aim to try and clear up some of the confusion about car insurance, and, once we’ve helped customers understand what cover they already have, to provide tailored, value-for-money products to plug any gaps they might have”
Why do you need to charge an Administration Fee?

We receive commission from our insurers on policies sold, but on its own this wouldn’t cover the costs of running the business. So we supplement this commission by adding a small charge to each policy sold – this covers the costs of issuing policies such as postcode lookups, vehicle lookups, fraud checks and payment processing fees.

How do your Administration Fees compare to those elsewhere in the sector?

We expect our average Admin Fee to be around £3 per policy. We believe the industry average is 2 to 3 times this amount, and we have found examples of companies charging more than 20 times this amount!

Are there any other benefits to customers of using Zoomcover?


  • Policies can be bought online in minutes – our question set is far smaller than for annual motor insurance products
  • We understand that consumers expect sites to be mobile friendly – ours certainly is, we’ve designed it using “mobile first” principles
  • We accept credit and debit card payments and our site is secure
  • We email documents instantly on completion of the booking to the customer’s inbox
  • So customers can be behind the wheel within minutes – with the risk of driving uninsured completely removed!
  • We update the MID every day, 365 days a year
  • We are authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and we only use insurers who are also fully authorized
  • All our policies are underwritten by specialist insurer ERS. They’re a Lloyd’s A+ rated insurer, so you can depend on them
  • We are a small UK-based company who only offer flexible, temporary motor insurance. This focus allows us to understand what our customers want and need, and to come up with innovative products that meet these needs.
Tell us about your insurance career up until now

I’ve worked in the insurance sector for 32 years. The first 20 years were spent with large insurers, for the last 11 years I’ve worked in the temporary insurance sector, for the last 3 years as CEO as one of the main players.

Why have you decided to set up Zoomcover?

I was part of a hugely successful team in my last role, but when the opportunity arose to start up my own business I jumped at the chance!

What is it about the On Demand sector that interests you so much?

It’s a fascinating sector to work in : fast-moving and dynamic. Given that motor insurance is a compulsory purchase and that there are over 30 million UK motorists, it still amazes me that the insurance industry as a whole has been so poor at clearing up the confusion that exists around how motor insurance works – simple questions like “Does my insurance cover me to drive another car?”. We aim to try and clear up some of this confusion, and, once we’ve helped customers understand what cover they already have, to provide tailored, value-for-money products to plug any gaps they might have.

What do you mean by “confusion”?

For my money, the “Driving Other Cars” extension is the most-misunderstood part of the UK Insurance Industry. On paper it sounds straightforward, it’s a clause that provides Third Party Only cover to the Policyholder of an annual motor policy. However…

  • not all insurers offer it
  • and they are not always clear in their communication as to whether or not they do
  • when it does appear, it comes with conditions :
    • it only applies to the Policyholder (not to Named Drivers on the annual policy)
    • and then only if the Policyholder is 25 and older
    • it provides Third Party Only cover (no cover for damage to the vehicle being driven)
    • insurers add further restrictions as to which vehicles can be covered
    • I’ve seen some that cover cars only, others exclude vehicles owned by family members, others exclude vehicles involved in the Motor Trade, others provide “emergency only cover (but don’t define “emergency”), and so on.
Can you provide any other examples?

Another good example is Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE). This was implemented to reduce uninsured driving – but what many people don’t understand is that it requires vehicles (other than those that have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)) to be insured whether or not that vehicle is being driven.

Business Use would be a further example. Many annual motor policies cover use for Social Domestic and Pleasure purposes plus Commuting. But what drivers don’t always understand is that this Commuting cover only covers journeys to and from their regular place of work. So motorists attending training courses, seminars, workshops, conferences at other venues, or visiting clients or colleagues, would not be covered within this definition – and may be driving uninsured.

So is Zoomcover.com a fintech company?

Yes, I suppose it is. But a more important question is to take the customer perspective and ask “What problem that customers face is Zoomcover trying to resolve?” The problem we’re resolving is that customers don’t always understand what motor insurance they have, and/or what cover they need. So on the one hand there are some motorists driving around unwittingly uninsured, and on the other hand some drivers are wasting money by buying more cover than they really need. We aim to provide a better deal for both sets of customers!

How have you found setting up and running your own business?

Lonely at times, but invigorating! I was CEO of a 45-person strong team at my last employer, so as you can imagine there was a lot of hustle and bustle and never any shortage of issues to get involved in. Nowadays it’s much quieter – but I’m loving the challenge of sailing my own ship!