What is commercial van insurance?

Fact Checked

If you use a van to make a living, it is vital you get the right protection so that you are covered if something goes wrong. Read on to find out how commercial van insurance works.

Share this guide
Man looking at van with packages

What is commercial van insurance? 

Commercial van insurance an insurance policy that covers you when you use your van for business purposes.

You need commercial van cover if:

  • You use your van as a sole trader, e.g. builder

  • You run a business that uses vans, e.g. courier service

  • You use your van to commute to work, even if you do not use your van as part of your job

You can work out if you need private or commercial van insurance in our guide.

What does commercial van insurance cover?

Commercial van insurance can protect you financially against accidental damage, theft and fire. 

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.

You can get cover for:

  • Your tools: protects the tools you use for work if they are lost or damaged by fire, theft or in an accident

  • Goods in transit: covers any items you are carrying against loss, damage or theft while being transported in your van. Find out how goods in transit cover works in our guide

  • Multiple drivers: this means you can cover more than one person to drive your van. Some policies cover up to four drivers

  • Trailers: covers any trailer you attach to your van against damage, loss and theft

  • Courtesy van: this gives you access to another van if yours is in for repairs

  • Lost keys: covers the cost of replacing keys you’ve lost

  • Misfuelling: pays out to have your tank emptied if you fill up with the wrong fuel

  • Windscreens: covers the cost of windscreen repairs 

  • Legal costs: pays out for any legal costs that might arise if you’re in an accident

  • Breakdown cover: provides roadside assistance if your van breaks down

You may need to pay extra to include these options on your policy, but some policies offer them as standard. Think about how you use your van to work out what cover options you need.

If you own your business you will also need public liability and employers' liability insurance which will cover you against claims of negligence from either members of the public or your employees. 

You can find out more about how business insurance works, and what cover your business needs in our guide.

Compare van insurance

What level of cover do you need? 

As with car insurance, there are three main levels of cover to choose from with commercial van insurance: 

  • Fully comprehensive: this is the maximum level of cover and protects your van, your passengers and property, as well as any third parties involved in an accident

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

  • Third party only (TPO): this is the minimum legal requirement to be able to drive. It covers you if you injure someone or damage their property, but won’t protect your own van

What type of van do you have?

When you apply for a van insurance quote you will be asked to confirm what you use your van for, and what type of van you own. You’ll need to choose from the three following classifications: 

  • Carriage of own goods: suitable if you’re a plumber, gardener or builder and use your van to carry business goods. 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

  • Carriage of goods for hire and reward (courier cover): suitable if you’re a delivery driver as this covers you to transport other people’s goods for payment, with multiple drop-offs

  • Haulage: this is suitable if you deliver large loads over long distances, often to one destination per job

You should also check the weight of your van is covered because many insurers only cover vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. Anything heavier is likely to need a truck insurance policy.

Do you need to insure a fleet of vans?

If you own or run a large business and need to insure several vans together, for example for a courier or delivery business, you can get a fleet van insurance policy.

This can cover all the vans your business runs under one policy, rather than taking out separate cover for each vehicle.

What is not covered under commercial van insurance?

Exclusions will depend on the terms of your policy, but most commercial van policies do not cover:

  • Any damage which results from wear and tear

  • Mechanical, electrical or electronic failure

  • Theft if the keys have been left in your vehicle

  • Theft of personal items or tools if you leave your van unlocked

  • Goods or stock you are carrying, unless cover has been added for this

Always check the policy before you buy commercial van insurance so you know what you can and cannot claim for.

How much does commercial van insurance cost?

What you pay for your van cover depends on factors such as:

  • The type of van you have: the bigger it is, the more it will cost to insure

  • The type of business: some industries are seen as riskier than others and so your premiums could be higher

  • Your excess: the more you agree to pay for your excess, the lower your premiums will be

  • Your driving habits: including your annual mileage 

  • Your driving history: including whether you’ve made claims in the past 

  • Where your van is stored overnight: if you keep your van in a garage, your premiums will be lower than if you keep it on the street

  • Security features: if you have an alarm and immobiliser your van will be more secure, and your premiums will be lower as a result

You can find out what else affects the cost of van insurance in our guide.

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.

About Matt Fernell

View Matt Fernell's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.