How does van insurance work?

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Understanding what insurance you need if you drive a van is important if you want to get the right cover at the right price. Find out more in our guide.

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Whether you drive a van for personal use or for work, you need to insure it before you take it on the road. Here, we explain everything you need to know about van insurance.

What is van insurance?

Van insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects you financially if your van is stolen, vandalised or damaged. It can also cover costs if you injure another person or damage their property.

Who needs van insurance?

You need van insurance if you:

  • Use a van privately for commuting or social driving

  • Use a van as a sole trader

  • Use a van as part of a business

You can get a private van insurance policy if you only use your van for personal use, or a commercial policy if you use it for work.

What levels of cover can you get?

Like car insurance, there are three levels of van insurance you can choose from:

  • Fully comprehensive: this covers you, your van, your passengers and property, as well as any third parties involved in an accident. It also protects your van against vandalism and theft

  • Third party, fire and theft (TPF&T): this covers the cost of any damage to third party property you cause, but also provides protection for your van against theft and damage caused by fire. It will not pay out for any other damage to your vehicle

  • Third party only (TPO): this covers your liability for injury to others including any damage to third party property only. This level of cover is the minimum legal requirement for motorists in the UK

What does each level cover?

The table below outlines what type of cover you’ll get with fully comprehensive, third party, fire and theft and third party only cover:

Updated 20 April 2023
CoverFull CompTPF&TTPO
Third party damageYesYesYes
Fire damageYesYesNo
Accidental damageYesNoNo

Should you get private, business or commercial van insurance?

If you use your van for business and personal use you may be unsure which type of cover is right for you.

Most insurers only offer private van insurance if you use your van exclusively for social and domestic driving.

If you use your van professionally, for example as a builder, you will need business van insurance. You will also need this cover if you use your van for commuting to and from work, so check carefully before you buy.

Business van insurance

Standard business insurance comes in four categories:

  • Business van insurance class 1: provides cover for driving between a number of different places of work or to visit clients and customers. You won’t be covered for door-to-door sales. This is typically the cheapest class of cover. 

  • Business van insurance class 2: provides the same cover as above but also allows you to add a named driver – most policies specify this must be a colleague. Again, door-to-door sales are not usually covered.  

  • Business van insurance class 3: provides cover for long-distance driving, which makes it the most suitable option if you make door-to-door sales. However, you will only be covered to deliver samples, so if you are delivering commercial merchandise, you will need commercial van insurance. 

  • Commercial van insurance: you must tell your insurer the type of goods you will be carrying and for what type of business. You will only be insured for carrying the goods you have named for the purpose you have stated.

Commercial van insurance

If you’re taking out commercial van insurance, you’ll need to choose from one of the following classifications:

  • Carriage of own goods: covers you if you use your van to carry business goods, for example, if you’re a builder or plumber.

  • Carriage of goods for hire and reward (courier cover): covers you to transport other people’s goods for payment, for example, if you are a delivery driver. 

  • Haulage: covers you if you make long-distance deliveries, often to one destination per job.

Read our guide to find out more about how commercial van insurance works.

What types of van can you insure?

Van insurers cover most types of van, including:

  • Light vans

  • Luton box vans

  • Pick-ups

  • Double or single cab vans

  • Tippers

Most insurers cover vans up to 3.5 tonnes, but some will cover up to 7.5-tonne vehicles (if you have the correct driving licence).

Compare van insurance on our comparison tables, and pick an insurer that covers your type of van.

What happens if you don’t insure your van?

You cannot legally drive your van on the road without valid insurance. If you do, you could face court prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

If you own a van that you do not drive, you must insure it, or declare it off the road with a Statutory off Road Notification (SORN).

If you are unsure if your vehicle needs to be insured as a car or a van, check your V5C vehicle logbook.

If the vehicle category is:

What extras can you get with van insurance? 

You can extend your van insurance to include:

  • Legal cover: this can cover legal costs following an accident that was not your fault and can include a 24-hour legal helpline. Take a look at our guide to work out if you need legal cover.

  • Breakdown cover: this will provide roadside assistance if your van breaks down when driving. It may be vital if you use your van for work. Read our guide on how commercial breakdown cover works.

  • Protected no claims discount: this means your no claims discount will be protected if you need to make a claim. Find out more about how a no claims discount saves you money with our guide.

  • Replacement van cover: this gives you access to a van to use while your vehicle is being recovered or repaired.

  • Public liability cover: this covers you if a member of the public makes a claim against you due to damage to their property or an injury.

  • Employers’ liability cover: this covers you against claims of negligence by your employees – it can be useful if you use your van for business and employ others.

  • Foreign use cover: you can upgrade your insurance cover to give you the same protection you get in the UK when you drive your van in Europe.

  • Tool cover: if you use your van for business purposes, you may need extra cover for your tools, or any goods you transport.

Not all insurers offer the same extras, so check carefully before you buy. You will likely need to pay to include each option on your policy.

How much does van insurance cost?

The price of your van insurance premiums depends on:

  • Your van: the value, age and engine size of your van will influence the cost of your cover. For example, an expensive new van with a powerful engine will cost more to cover than an older vehicle with a lower spec engine.

  • Your personal information: your age, occupation and address are all considered when your insurer calculates your premiums. For example, you may pay more if you are under 21, or you live in an area of high crime.

  • Your driving history: your driving experience and no claims bonus also affect the price you pay. For example, if you have a clean record with several years no claims bonus, your premiums will be lower.

How can you save money on van insurance?

There are a number of ways to reduce the amount you pay for van insurance, including:

  • Paying upfront: choosing to pay for your insurance in one go each year will be cheaper than paying monthly.

  • Avoiding modifications: modifying and making changes to your van can push up your premiums.

  • Increasing your excess: the higher your excess, the lower your premiums will be, but make sure you could still afford the excess if you had to make a claim. Read our guide to find out about how motor insurance excess works.

  • Improving security: installing immobilisers, trackers and alarms can lower the risk of your van being stolen and cut your premiums.

  • Parking in a garage or on a driveway: if you can keep your van in a garage or on your driveway when not in use, this will also help bring down your premiums.

Compare van insurance

Car insurance is just one of the costs of keeping your car on the road along with tax, petrol and servicing, so cut your insurance costs by comparing the best deals for you.

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