Vans are rather versatile vehicles; they can aid in anything from transporting goods in between locations, delivering equipment to events, and acting as a mobile place of business for tradesmen like electricians, plumbers, and delivery drivers.
What constitutes a van?
Vans come in a variety of sizes; from smaller vehicles just a little bigger than a saloon car to larger vehicles that may come with built-in tail lifts and hoists to help with the transportation of products.
The maximum size for a van is usually one which has a gross weight of 7.5 tonnes, anything heavier than this is considered a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV), and for these vehicles, you’ll need specialist HGV insurance policies in place.
Do I need a specialist van insurance?
Van insurance is legally required in the UK, so unless you have declared your vehicle as off-road by sending a SORN notice to the DVLA, you will be liable for a fine if you are caught driving a vehicle without insurance.
Whether you’re using the vehicle for social, domestic, and pleasure (SDP) or commercial use, van drivers and their fleet owners need to be insured while on the road.
There are four main types of cover available on a van insurance policy:
- Third Party Only
Third Party Only (TPO) insurance cover is the minimum requirement required by UK law and covers the bare minimum when it comes to protection.
This level of cover helps to cover not only passengers but also those who are injured as a result of you causing an accident. Damage to property is also covered in TPO cover, but any damage to your vehicle and the costs of repairing it will ultimately be down to you.
- Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT)
In comparison, Third Party Fire & Theft cover helps to protect your vehicle against damage sustained by fire and if your van is stolen – whether it’s parked up during a job or from your driveway of a night time.
TPFO cover helps to cover you in the event of an accident of which you were at fault, paying out any damages for medical expenses or vehicular damage of the person you injured as a result of the accident.
If your van is stolen, the insurer will expect you to pay the excess on your policy, so make sure you can afford the payment on your policy before arranging a cover. Depending on the value of your van at the time, you may not have to pay in the event of an accident, so it could be worth thinking about how much you want to secure against your van when you come to insure it.
- Fully Comprehensive
Fully comprehensive van insurance, while being the most expensive level of cover, is also the one that gives the most cover. Covering everything on a TPFT policy, including any damage suffered by your vehicle as the result of an accident, fully comprehensive cover is recommended if you can afford it.
It doesn’t cover everything though, and you may need to arrange additional extras on your policy – including breakdown cover to insure you in the event of engine failure or other incidents that renders your vehicle undrivable.
Some insurers will offer you the chance to track your driving using an onboard black box. This type of cover is becoming more popular because it allows companies to save money on their fleet insurance policies by keeping track of how their drivers are driving.
Not all insurers offer this type of cover yet, but the technology has grown in popularity, so you may see more companies offering this type of cover in future.
I work from my van, can I cover my equipment?
Commercial van insurance is different from regular van insurance and is available for business users of varying sizes. Whether you’re a self-employed painter and decorator or run a small fleet of delivery vans, your vans will require a specific type of van insurance for commercial use.
The price of your premium will be dependent on factors such as annual mileage, where you park the vehicle during jobs and even any additional named drivers – including co-workers and even apprentices.
A fully comprehensive van insurance policy is usually better for insuring vans which are always on the road throughout the day, and such policies help to cover any equipment contained within the vehicle – including tools and other equipment needed to do your job.
I’m a courier, do I need any extra cover?
Couriers will usually need to have some additional cover to protect their vehicles and the contents they carry:
- Goods In Transit protection – used by those in the haulage and courier industries, Goods In Transit cover helps to protect those who regularly use their vans to deliver goods, materials and services for a living.
- Employer’s Liability Insurance – if you employ staff to drive your vehicles, this level of protection helps to protect you against any claims brought against you by your drivers as a result of incidents which occurred as a result of your negligence.
It may be worth looking into specific courier van insurance to ensure all aspects are covered before you deploy the fleet.
So whether you use your van for transporting goods or just taking rubbish to the local tip, having the right level of van insurance cover can be beneficial, so it’s something worth looking into to ensure you are appropriately covered.