Getting the best deal on your van insurance requires careful consideration, and often the amount of providers and offers available can leave many people feeling completely vanquished before they've even begun comparing policies.
Whilst you can get standard domestic insurance for your van, if it's being used in connection with a business, it's important that you have appropriate cover for commercial use of the vehicle. This will ultimately cost you more, but without it your claim will probably be rejected. If you're just using the vehicle for private and personal use such as transporting shopping, or your camping gear for a break in the Peaks, then you won't need to worry about this and can look for a regular private vehicle insurance policy.
What you need to know
Van insurance is very much the same as standard car insurance. Like cars, vans fall into certain categories and risk groups for insurers, and your cost will be dependant on size, weight, engine size, value, driving history etc. You'll be assessed and quoted based on the standard questions about vehicle type, age, mileage, usage purpose, along with more van specific related information, such as whether the vehicle will be carrying hazardous waste, or whether it has signage. Which can often reduce your premium, along with a 'How's my driving' hotline sticker on the rear bumper.
Levels of Cover
During application you'll be invited to select from the typical 'third party', 'third party, fire & theft', or 'fully comprehensive' level of cover, but it's particularly relevant to pay attention to the inclusions and add-ons as they vary greatly between policies
- Third Party: This is the most basic type of cover and therefore the cheapest. You might also consider this the minimum legal requirement. It basically covers any other parties should you damage their vehicle or property, but offers no coverage for any costs to the damage of your vehicle
- Third Party Fire & Theft: This is second level of insurance available and covers third party damage, as mentioned above, as well as covering any damage to your vehicle in the event of fire or theft
- Fully Comprehensive: This is the highest level of policy you can acquire. It will insure you for all of the above, as well as covering yourself for any accidental damage to your car. Typically you’ll also be insured for any personal effects in the car such as your sat nav, as well as (at least third party) coverage to drive another person’s car with their permission
Goods/Tool Cover may be an important consideration for you if your van is used to store or transport expensive equipment. Most policies won't include this as standard so you'll need to look to add it on. It'll cost more as it's generally aimed at tradesmen such as carpenters and plumbers, but it can be acquired for domestic situations when required. Generally you'll notice it as an option when stating the use of the vehicle, typically along the lines of something like: 'Carriage of own goods': covers tools amongst other things whilst in your vehicle or whilst stored in the vehicle overnight.
If you've recently started driving a van, and have an existing no claims bonus on your car policy, look out for providers who offer the function to transfer this to a van insurance policy. The same also applies if your situation is reversed and are changing vehicle from van to car – or bike. This will help force down the price on your monthly premium considerably. If you have your eye on a particular policy, and the provider doesn't offer no-claims switching, it's worth contacting them by phone and mentioning how many years you have as they may take that into consideration when providing a quote
As with car insurance the inclusions and add-ons available vary wildly, but you may want to look out for Breakdown Cover and Complementary Vehicle coverage, both of which can be very useful. If you're going fully comprehensive, many insurers offer such perks as an incentive to go with them, whereas those that don't will normally give you the option to add them in at your leisure, tailoring the policy to suit your own needs; for a slightly increased premium of course.Image: © Kaczor58 | Dreamstime.com