It’s not uncommon to see a vintage van on UK roads, if anything they’re becoming extremely popular. Some of these vehicles can certainly be ‘attention’ grabbing, and alert your target market to the services you offer.
Classic van insurance is generally offered by most ‘mainstream providers’. However, there’s no ‘definite’ age when it comes to classification, each insurer will have a different age limit. Some providers will claim a van is regarded as a ‘classic’ after 20 years, while others may regard vans 25 years or old as classics.
Typically, for most insurance companies the age is not the most important factor in calculating the premium and level of cover. How you propose to use the vehicle has much more influence on the type of policy you have.
What Does Insurance for Old Vans Cover?
The British Government introduced the ‘Road Traffic Act’ in 1930, since then van insurance has been a UK legal requirement for all drivers on British roads. Just like a regular car policy, van cover is needed for the possibility you injure somebody else or cause damage to another person’s property.
For example, let’s say you’re driving along and hit a stationary car wing mirror, typically your van assurance policy will cover your mistake and pay for the repair to the other vehicle. However, of course, the more claims you make, the more likely your premiums will increase.
It’s important you obtain the correct van coverage because if you’re found to have no insurance, you could be fined and given a driving ban. Just like a regular car, the only time when insurance is not required is when the vehicle has been registered ‘off road’ with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN). You will have to declare this information to the DVLA.
Social or Business Use?
Traditionally vintage vans are used as an advertising gimmick, perhaps when driving to your place of work, or used as a ‘static’ advertising board outside of your premises. If this is the case then you’ll need a commercial policy to cover vehicle.
Generally a classic van won’t be the ‘main’ workhorse of a business, it might be used seldom but this can still effect premiums. A good tip is to ensure you’ve provided all the correct mileage and destination details, as this tends to play a big role in how your insurance costs are calculated.
Sometimes classic vans are usually kept for enjoyable and ‘recreation purposes’, typically these can be insured under the social, domestic and pleasure class of use. Though, you should be mindful that not all insurance providers will be able to cover rallies, meetings, events and exhibitions. This is because these activities are sometimes regarded as too much of a risk. Sometimes you can contact your insurer and ask for certain events to be covered, however this usually includes a charge. As each case is judged on an ‘individual’ basis, it’s impossible to know exactly what additional costs you may incur.
Modifications to Classic Vans and Insurance Costs
Traditionally any modification to a vehicle is a big no-no. This is because in the event of a claim, the part that needs replacing is likely to be unique to that vehicle. Thus, meaning it’s more expensive to replace. This in turn obviously means that insurers will cover themselves and charge the vehicle owner higher premiums.
Typically, most classic van owners work hard to keep their vehicles as close to the original specification as possible. However, it’s vital to understand your insurer’s ‘definition’ and ‘classification’ of modifications and how they could potentially affect you. Let’s say, a part needs replacing on your vintage van, replacement parts are not generally regarded as modifications. However, if the part in question is a ‘more modern part’ that could potentially improve the performance of the van then they might be classified as a modification.
This is obviously a ‘grey area’, as it could easily vary from different insurers. The best piece of advice is to simply contact your insurer and detail any parts you’re replacing to ensure they’re aware and have the appropriate cover in place.
‘Agreed Value Policies’ for Classic Vans
For some the whole enjoyment of owning a vintage van is the time and commitment you have invested in bringing a classic vehicle back to life. If you’ve invested time and finances restoring and maintaining your van, then you may benefit from an agreed value policy. Typically, these are offered by ‘specialist providers’ and are usually tailored to your unique vehicle and individual requirements.
This type of policy works differently from traditional alternatives. Basically, instead of covering the ‘market value’ of your type of van, the policy will be calculated to cover your van to the ‘value agreed’ between yourself, your insurers and an independent valuer. Be aware that these types of insurances will most likely cost more than a standard policy. The pro reason for this agreement is the fact you’ll know you’ll be suitably compensated should an unfortunate accident or incident occur.
It’s not unusual for the insurer to seek ‘evidence’ of the van’s condition and receipts for work done, either at policy commencement or in the occurrence of a claim.
How to Keep Premiums Low on a Vintage Van
Just like a classic car, you can easily do a few things which may affect your premium price.
Statistically speaking, classic van policies are already low, because the owners are usually considered as low risk. In the eyes of most insurers they’re considered responsible owners, who take pride in their vehicles and the maintain of these machines.
Here’s a few good tips you should think about:
Classic Van Club Membership – This can vary from insurer to insurer, however, most mainstream insurance companies will recognise certain classic van clubs. This means there could be a potential ‘discount’ for members on proof of membership.As stated this will vary wildly and some insurers won’t recognise these clubs at all, so it’s certain worth ‘shop around’ for the cheapest classic van deal. Equally you should also be aware that the cost of the membership fee to a specific van club, could potentially ‘outweigh’ any potential savings on insurance.
Security Devices – Just like other vehicles on British roads, insurers tend to like the fact that a vehicle has modern security devices to deter thieves. This is certainly a point to consider for a classic van. After all, it’s unlikely to have modern safety features as standard. In addition, it could theoretically be a ‘decent’ target for criminals. Think about van alarms, trackers and additional locks. These security measures could potentially decrease your premiums.
Mileage – Typically, the fewer the miles, the lower the risk. You should always be honest with how many miles you drive annually. It can be a great idea to keep a personal record to make sure you’re not over-stating the amount. If you travel only a few miles a day, you should see a possible saving on any premiums compared to higher road usage.
Should You use a Comparison Website or Specialist Insurance Company?
Before the invention of the internet, classic cars and vans would almost certainly have used a ‘specialist’ insurance provider. However, in the modern era this has slightly changed some-what. Although these providers still exist (and offer a great service in most cases), mainstream insurers are also ‘getting in on the act’.
Typically if your classic van is a standard model (for example, made by Ford), then most mainstream insurance companies will certainly have some type of policy for you. If you vintage can is more ‘unique’ or ‘rare’, or equally if it’s been imported from another country, then a specialist provider should certainly be heavily considered.
Generally, a specialist van insurer will have more ‘experience’ than alternatives, this is because it’s their main line of business. They will most likely have a larger network of specialised garages and a defined parts network. This could potentially mean their recommended mechanics could source parts cheaper than alternative companies.
There’s nothing wrong in ‘shopping around’ for the best deal. After all, we all want to save money if we can. Equally there’s nothing to say that mainstream providers won’t offer a better service than a specialist. It’s really down to personal preference, and should be compared on a case by case basis.