How does van insurance work?

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

Man standing by van

What is van insurance?

It protects you financially if your van is stolen, vandalised or damaged. It can also cover the cost if you injure another person, or damage their property.

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 personal van policy if you only use it privately, or a commercial policy if you use it for work.

Here is how commercial van insurance works

What types of van can you cover?

Van insurers cover most types of van, including:

  • Light vans

  • Box Luton vans

  • Pick-ups

  • Double or single cab vans

  • Tippers

Most insurers cover vans up to 3.5 tonnes, however some will cover up to 7.5 tonne vehicles.

Compare van insurance here, and pick an insurer that covers your type of van.

Do you need van insurance?

Yes, you cannot legally drive your van on the road without insurance.

You could face court prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 if you drive your van without valid insurance.

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 Notice (SORN).

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

If the vehicle category is:

What levels of cover can you get?

There are three levels of van insurance you can choose from:

  1. 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.

  2. 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 to cover the damage to your vehicle.

  3. 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 do they cover?

This depends on which cover level you choose from:

CoverFull CompTPF&TTPO
Third party damageYesYesYes
Fire damageYesYesNo
Accidental damageYesNoNo

Policy extras

You can extend your cover 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. Here is how to work out if you need legal cover.

  • Breakdown cover: This gives you assistance if your van breaks down when driving. It may be vital if you use your van for work. Here is 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. Here is how a no claims discount saves you money.

  • Replacement van cover: This can give you a van to use while your vehicle is being recovered or repaired.

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

If you use your van for business purposes, you may need extra cover for your tools, or any goods you transport. Here is what commercial van insurance can cover.

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.

Should you get private or commercial cover?

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 commercial cover. Some insurers insist you get commercial cover even if you just use your van for commuting to and from work, so check carefully before you buy.

Here is how commercial van insurance works

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.

You could also change the cost of your cover by adjusting the excess you would pay in the event of a claim. Here is how motor insurance excess works.