Should you get short-term van insurance?

If you only need a van for a couple of days, it won’t be cost-effective to buy an annual van insurance policy. This is where short-term cover comes in. Read on to find out how it works.

Man standing in front of van

What is short-term van insurance?

Short-term or temporary van insurance is a policy that covers your van for a short period of time. Most policies offer cover from one day up to a maximum of 30 days, although some policies will offer cover for a couple of months. 

What does short-term van insurance cover?

With short-term van insurance you’ll get the same protection as annual van insurance, including cover for:

  • Accidental damage

  • Damage or loss caused by fire

  • Theft of your van

  • Damage you cause to third party property

Most short-term van insurers only offer fully comprehensive policies, but you might be able to find third party, fire and theft cover. 

This might be slightly cheaper, but you will only be covered for damage caused to third parties – your own van will not be covered for anything other than fire and theft. 

Read our guide to find out what van insurance covers.

When do you need short-term van insurance?

You might need a short-term van insurance policy if:

  • You are moving home, and want to borrow someone's van for a couple of days to transport your things

  • You need a van for work purposes, but only from time to time

  • You need to drive a new van home before you arrange an annual insurance policy

  • You want to share the driving of a friend's van on a long journey or holiday

Short-term insurance is a good option if you need to borrow a van from a friend because it means if you have an accident while driving it, their policy and no claims bonus will not be affected.

You could also use short-term cover to insure a van you only use occasionally. However, you must declare it off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) when it is not being used. If you do not get a SORN for an uninsured van, you could face a fine. Read our guide on how to get a SORN for your vehicle.

How much does short-term van insurance cost?

The price you pay depends on several factors, including:

  • The van you want to cover

  • Your age and driving experience

  • How long you want cover for

For one day of cover you may be quoted between £20 and £30, but it could be more than this depending on your circumstances.

Find out what affects the cost of van insurance in our guide.

Are you eligible for short-term van insurance?

Insurers are often stricter about who they offer short-term cover to, so you may not be able to get cover if:

  • You are under a certain age, e.g. 21

  • You are over a certain age, e.g. 75

  • You have eight or more points on your driving licence

  • You have had your licence for less than a year

  • Your van is worth more than a certain amount, for example £60,000

  • Your van weighs more than 3.5 tonnes

Not all insurers have the same exclusions, so it is worth checking the policy documents to see if you would be eligible for a policy.

What are the pros and cons of short-term van insurance?

Pros

  • You only pay for the time you need

  • It can be quick and easy to arrange

  • If you had to make it claim, it won’t affect your no claims discount or that of the van owner’s

  • You’ll usually be given comprehensive cover in the UK, plus third party cover in Europe as standard

Cons

  • You’ll be paying more per day than you would with an annual policy which means it can get expensive if you need to use a van several times over the course of a year

  • It can be more expensive than being added to someone else’s policy as a named driver

  • You may not qualify

Remember: 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 and for the purpose you have stated – you cannot do a second job, or help out a mate, transporting items, or for a purpose, you have not declared to your insurer.