Insurance. We all have to have it. Before you take any vehicle on the road, you need to make sure it is insured correctly. Whether you drive a van for work or for personal use, you need insurance in place as a legal requirement, to protect both yourself and other drivers on the road in case of an accident.
If you're new to the world of van ownership, whether for commercial or personal usage, you may have questions about how best to insure it. Will you need specific van insurance? What type of van insurance is right for you?
What is van insurance?
To answer the question we posed above, the answer is yes; there is such a thing as van insurance. It is a separate insurance product from car insurance - you can't insure a car on van insurance, and vice versa. You must have the right type of insurance for your vehicle, otherwise it may not be valid.
How do I know if my vehicle is a car or a van?
Your V5C log book can tell you whether your vehicle is classified as a car or a van. This is the document that registers you as the keeper and owner of the car with the DVLA.
Take a look at line J in your log book. If your vehicle is:
M1: It's a car and you need car insurance
M2: It's a minibus and you need minibus insurance, not van insurance
N1 or N2: It's a van and you need van insurance
Depending on the type of insurance policy you choose, van insurance can cover you financially if your van is damaged, stolen or vandalised, as well as if you cause injury to another person or damage their property while driving your van.
If you only use your van privately, you can choose a personal van policy, however, if you use your van for work you will need a commercial van policy.
What levels of van insurance cover can you get?
Fully comprehensive - This type of insurance will cover you, your van and any third parties involved in an accident. It will also protect your van from theft and vandalism.
Third party, fire and theft - This will cover any third-party property damage and cover your van against damage caused by a fire and theft. It will not cover you for damage to your own vehicle though.
Third party only - This will only cover your liability for damage to a third-party property or injury to others. It is the minimum legal requirement, and will not protect you or your vehicle.
What type of business insurance should I get for my van?
If you use your van commercially and need business van insurance, you will need to consider how you use your van to select the correct level of cover. There are different types of business cover to choose from, including:
Own goods - This type of insurance would cover your goods in your van, such as tools for your trade. It should be sufficient cover if you are just commuting to and from work in your van, delivering your own goods to customers, or picking up stock form a wholesaler, for example.
Hire and reward - This is a legally required policy if you are carrying goods that don't belong to you for people who are paying for the service. For example, this policy is suited to furniture removal vans, as the items transported belong to the person moving home.
Courier and haulage - This type of insurance will cover you for transporting items across long distances.
What extras should I get on my van insurance policy?
Depending on what you use your van for, you may need extra cover in certain areas. You'll need to ensure any van insurance policy covers all the eventualities that could come up, or you could be left out of pocket in the long run.
There are a range of extras you can add to your van insurance policy, including:
Courtesy van - Provides you with a temporary replacement if your vehicle needs to be repaired.
Tools in transit - Covers the cost of any tools you keep in your van if they are stolen or damaged.
Breakdown cover - Covers the cost if you need roadside assistance or breakdown recovery.
Legal cover - Covers any legal costs that may arise due to your driving.
How much does van insurance cost?
The cost of your van insurance will depend on a number of factors, including your personal information, your driving history and of course, the van itself. You can also change the cost of your van insurance by changing the excess you would pay if a claim was to arise.
As with any type of insurance policy, it pays to shop around. Don't just go for the lowest premium without checking it fully meets your needs though.
If you have more than one van, look for multi-vehicle discounts for insuring all your vehicles with a single insurer.
Tips for finding good value van insurance
The following tips could help you get a better deal on your van insurance:
By adding approved security systems or an immobiliser to your van, you could instantly save money on your insurance as it is at less risk of theft. It is also beneficial if you can find somewhere to park your van such as a secure garage or drive.
Higher voluntary excess
Voluntary excess is the amount you pay combined with the compulsory excess in the event of a claim. If you increase this, it can reduce your premiums, although of course this needs to be something that you could financially afford if an accident was to happen.
If you have the means to pay your van insurance annually, it can reduce your premium as you won't need to pay monthly interest.
No claims and good driving
Year on year, you can build up a no claims bonus on your van insurance to reduce premiums. Also, obvious as it is, you need to be a good driver to keep your premiums as low as they possibly can be. If you are caught speeding or incur points for poor driving, this can increase your insurance premium.
Finally, you must always be accurate and honest when applying for van insurance. If you are missing information or declaring inaccuracies, it can have a hugely negative effect if you come to make a claim.