Beginner’s Guide To Van Insurance

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.

  • Telematics

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.

RELATED: No Claims Bonus: Save on Your Insurance

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.

Van Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

Vans are a common sight on the roads of the UK and are used for a variety of purposes – from transporting packages as part of a courier service, or allowing tradesmen to move themselves and their tools to their sites of work.

There are even those who collect older, more classic vans – including the iconic VW Westfalia campervan – restoring and showing them at special motor meets and trade shows.

Whether you use a van for work, own a fleet of vans as part of your business, or own a classic or vintage van for showing purposes, you’ll need to make sure your vehicle is covered with van insurance.

What Is Van Insurance?

Van insurance helps to cover your vehicle and yourself in the event of an accident or incident that damages your property. Van insurance is a legal requirement for anyone using vans for the purposes of business and personal interests – including showing vehicles.

If you have a fleet of vans as part of your business, it can be worth looking into taking out some fleet insurance and securing all your vehicles under one single policy. This could save you money by insuring them collectively rather than one-by-one. Not only could this save you money, but could also save on administration costs by reducing paperwork.

What Levels Of Cover Are Available?

Much like with a regular car insurance policy, there are multiple levels of cover available on a van insurance policy:

  • Third-party only  

The cheapest cover available, third-party only cover, helps to cover the costs incurred by a third-party – including passengers – as a result of an accident. While this level would cover the cost of the third party, you would be responsible for covering the cost of any repairs that are needed as a result of the accident.

  • Third party, fire and theft (TPFT)

TPFT cover helps to cover your vehicle against damage by third parties, fire damage and in the event of your vehicle being stolen.

  • Fully comprehensive

Fully comprehensive insurance covers everything that is on a TPFT policy, as well as additional extras such as medical cover, windscreen cover and personal effects cover

Some brokers may offer the chance to take out a policy which is ‘stripped down’, essentially removing some of the effects of a comprehensive policy, ask your broker if you’re unsure and if this flexibility will be available for your policy.

Age And Experience

Like with car insurance, age and experience can make a difference when it comes to insuring a vehicle. Younger drivers will have trouble finding a cheaper policy because of their driving experience, while older drivers who have many years experience can find a cheaper quote.

Whether you drive for a fleet or as a sole trader, building up some No Claims Bonus on your van by driving carefully to build up some NCB can save you money on your policy going forward.

Insuring Fleets

Depending on the size of your van fleet, looking at getting some van fleet insurance can be worth looking into. Fleet insurance policies allow you to insure multiple vehicles using a single policy, rather than insure each vehicle individually, which could work out cheaper for you in the long term.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance

How Can I Reduce My Premium Price?

There are a number of ways you can help to reduce the price of your van insurance policy, some may take time but some can work in your favour immediately:

  • Build up some No Claims Bonus – through careful driving over a period of time you can accumulate some NCB and help to reduce your premiums by proving to an insurer that you are a careful driver.
  • Install additional security – invest in some additional security for your van, including wheel locks and alarms, in order to keep your van safe from thieves. Bear in mind where you leave the van at night, and try and use a secure location rather than in the open on the road if possible.
  • Consider your mileage – try and work out an approximate mileage per year for your usage, although this can be tricky if your business is countrywide and unpredictable. If you use a van for show purposes only, consider taking out a ‘limited mileage allowance’ on your policy which sets a mileage limit per year that could save money on your policy.
  • Cover your contents – look into putting an additional extra onto your policy that will help cover the cost of any tools and equipment that might be left in the van overnight, or consider taking your tools out of the van and into safe storage at night in order to make it less attractive to criminals.
  • Membership of a trade – some brokers may offer discounts if you are a member of a trade organisation; such as the Federation of Master Craftsman or NICEIC, so be sure to disclose this information whatever your trade is.