Family cars today are getting larger. MPV's and People Carriers can have 7 or 8 seats.
But when does your family car become classed as a minibus? This is an important
distinction as it can have insurance implications and your driving licence may not be
The classification for a minibus is a vehicle that has between 9 to 16 passenger seats.
With more than16 passenger seats the vehicle is classed as a coach.
If your vehicle is classed as a minibus, do you have a valid driving licence? If you are
over 21, your license was obtained before 1 January 1997 and the minibus is not used
for hire or reward, then the answer is ‘yes'. All licences issued after this date need a
category D1 classification, which can be obtained by applying to the DVLA and
passing a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) test.
There are exemptions to this regulation that will allow you to drive a minibus on a full
category B (car) licence, but the following conditions need to be met:
1. The minibus is used for a social purpose but not for hire and reward.
2. You must be over 21 and have held your Category B license for more than 2 years.
If you are over 70 then you are required to meet the health standards for driving a D1
3. No payment can be accepted for driving the minibus.
4. The minibus cannot weigh more than 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 tonnes with special
equipment for carrying disabled passengers.
5. Towing a trailer of any size is prohibited.
6. The minibus can only be driven in the UK. Driving in Europe will require a D1
There are other regulations which apply to driving a minibus, not just a valid driving
licence. The Directgov website has more information about what is required.
If you find your vehicle is classed as a minibus then your standard car insurance
policy may not have the correct cover. A minibus insurance specialist such as the
MinibusClub.co.uk will be able to offer you guidance on this.
This article is intended as a guide. It is recommended to seek your own advice if you
are planning to drive a minibus or are in doubt about any of these issues.