When purchasing Van Insurance in the United Kingdom, it’s important to consider all the policies which may apply to you. We all want to save money for a rainy day, so it’s a good idea to compare cheap van insurance from a range of insurance brands.
Generally, you should choose a van insurance policy agreement for its options as well as its price. Premiums will vary depending on multiple factors, these can include the insurer, the type of insurance cover and the type of vehicle.
For example, commercial van insurance is typically more expensive than private van cover. Equally the style of van can make a huge difference to your premium price. Vans can range from many different models including (but not limited to) box vans, double cab, long-wheel base, pick-ups, curtain sided, sprinters and short-wheel base vehicles. Before you dive into a protection agreement it’s always a great idea to find out as much information as possible.
What Does Van Insurance 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.
Do I Need Van or Truck Insurance?
Typically, a van can be used for two purposes, personal use or commercial use. Usually a truck, also known as a ‘lorry’ which only be used for commercial reasons. A private van policy will generally be ‘cheaper’ than commercial, this is because of a wide range of factors. Private use is generally seen as more ‘safe’ to insures because the vehicle will only be used on an evening (after work) or during the weekends. Thus, it stands much less chance of having an accident.
Whereby, a commercial vehicle (particularly lorries) could potentially be on the road seven days a week. This obviously means the chances of an accident occurring are much higher. Equally, as a commercial van is getting used more often, there’s also a higher chance of general road repairs and damaged. This can mean failures on parts could potentially be higher, leading to the greater chance of an incident likely.
Some insurers however may take into consideration than ‘work’ or commercial vans will have access to on-site mechanics (if it’s a large company), or they may get checked more often. This could potentially lower premiums, however this is always decided on a case by case basis, and is most certainly not the ‘norm’.
If you’re searching for haulage or courier insurance please click on the link to find out more information.
How are Premiums Calculated?
Typically the amount you pay for van insurance, reflects how ‘likely’ an insurer thinks you are to make a claim. There’s many different factors which an insurance company takes into consideration before calculating your annual premium cost.
Here’s a comprehensive round-up of factors which may affect your insurance:
• Your Age – Generally your age is one of the ‘most important factors’ that insurance companies use. This is because younger drivers are viewed as more inexperienced when compared to older road uses. Equally, younger drivers are more likely to be statistically involved in an accident.This usually means that drivers aged around 17 to 25 face the highest premiums.
You may also find that if a younger driver is using a van for commercial use, some providers won’t even offer insurance until after a certain age.It’s not uncommon to find that drivers for commercial companies must be ‘over 25’ before they can be insured. This obviously varies wildly from different insurers, however it’s certainly something you need to be aware of.
• Your Occupation – Another important ranking factor when determining the cost of your van policy. As you can imagine, if you spend more time on the road then you’re premium is likely to cost more.
Your insurance could also cost more if you carry important equipment (for example), or work in ‘high-risk’ locations.You may also find that your job title also affects your premium price. For example, a ‘van driver’ may have a different premium to a ‘courier’. This once again varies massively and not all insurance companies judge occupations in the same manner. That’s why it’s important you shop around for the best van insurance deal.
• Your Location – Yes, unfortunately your location can also influence on your policy price. Your postcode will have a rating, insurers will determine whether you live in a ‘high-risk’ or ‘low-risk’ location. A high-risk area obviously relates to an address with a greater chance of theft, accidents or crime.Interestingly, a van which is two or three streets away, could potentially have a much lower premium. It’s certainly a ‘postcode lottery’, and not all providers use the same data.
• Type of Vehicle – As you’d expect, the kind of van you drive will have a great bearing on how much you pay for your insurance. The more expensive your van, the more it’d cost to replace, if stolen or written off in an accident.
Equally don’t assume that when a van isn’t worth much, it’ll be cheap to cover. Insurance isn’t just for damage to your own vehicle, it also protects other road users against accidents you might cause.Generally, the best piece of advice is to stick to well-known brands such as (but not limited to) Ford, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Citroen, Peugeot, etc. As these types of vehicles are getting insured on a daily basis (after all, there is over three million commercial vehicles on UK roads).
• Van Modifications – If you decide to modify your van, it improve performance or to look different, you should inform your insurer as this could affect your policy premium. Typically, any modifications will usually result in an increase to your premium, but if you don’t tell them, your cover could be invalid if you make a claim in future.
• How You Use Your Van – If you use your van for commercial use, then expect higher premiums compared to personal use. If a van is only used for commuting, this is still regard as a ‘commercial’ van.Equally the type of business you do, could also affect the type of cover offered. For example, couriers need a different level of insurance compared to a plumber. (You can read more about this below, in the ‘type of cover’ section).You should never lie when taking out a policy. As it could be invalidated, should an insurance company find out you’ve used the vehicle for something you haven’t originally specified.
• Your Driving History – Just like a car, your driving history and your no-claim bonus is a significant factor insurance companies will consider. If you’ve received no points on your license, and made no claims over a five-year period, this information should help to reduce the costs of your overall van insurance.
• Your Excess – Stating a larger voluntary excess on your policy is generally a good thing to do. This should potentially reduce your policy cost over the course of the policy date.On the other hand, if you choose ‘no voluntary excess’ then an insurer will most likely quote a higher premium. This is because they will have to cover the costs themselves.
Understanding Van Excess
Just like regular car insurance, van excess on a policy works in the same manner. It relates to how much you’re required to pay towards any claim that you make. Typically when you compare van insurance policies you will find two types of excesses on the market:
• Compulsory Excess – This is generally set by your insurance company. The figure is calculated and reliant on on the details you originally provided when you took out the cover policy. Usually younger drivers, and high value vehicles are more likely to incur higher excesses.
• Voluntary Excess – When you take out a new van policy, you will generally have to state how much money you want to pay towards the cost of a claim. The idea is, the more your willing to pay, the potentially lower your premium could be. It’s worth noting that in the occurrence of a claim this voluntary amount will have to be paid.
No Claim Bonus
Just as the name indicates, a no claim bonus is a reward for people who don’t make a claim on their policy. This is generally in the form of a ‘discount’ on their premium. Some people get confused, with a ‘no claim’ bonus, sometimes they relate it to a ‘no blame’ bonus. This means whether an accident is your fault or not when you make a claim. Generally, if you make a claim on your insurance (even if it’s not your fault) it may affect your no claims bonus, unless your insurer recovers their costs from the other driver’s insurance company.
Depending on the provider, it can be possible to ‘transfer’ a no claims bonus to another vehicle which you’ve drove. Generally speaking, you cannot transfer a car no claims bonus to a van.
For example, this rule may apply to a 7 year no claims on your old company van, onto a new van policy. Typically, this will vary depending on the insurance provider, so always check this out before committing.
Making a Claim
Unfortunately from time to time, accidents and incidents happen, they’re an everyday part of life. It’s important to let your insurer know as soon as possible if something has occurred. This usually applies even if you’ve had an accident and you’re not planning to make a claim.
If you have ‘comprehensive’ cover and your van needs repairing, your insurance company will generally provide you with their ‘approved’ mechanics in your area. This is important because if you get your vehicle repaired and then claim, your insurer will most likely not pay out.
How do I Make Changes to a Van Insurance Policy?
Generally, most insurers are fair when it comes to updated information on a policy. After all, they will use your details for marketing purposes when your policy nears its renewal date. Sometimes there can be an ‘administration charge’, when you make changes. Equally, premiums may also increase depending on what level of change is required.
For example, if you’re adding an additional driver, it may increase, or decrease. If you’re registered address has changed, the postcode may be a ‘high crime’ area, or a ‘low crime’ area. These types of factors can have an influence on your premium costs.
How to Cancel a Van Policy?
If you’ve decided to cancel a policy the process is quite simple. Before you contact your insurer check all policy documentation, there may be a ‘cancellation charge’ that you will have to pay. If your policy is paid on an annual basis then you may not get a refund for the months you haven’t used.
For example, let’s say you have a 1 year policy and it starts on the 1st of January. You have paid for a full year in advance. You decide on the 1st of September you want to cancel. Your insurer doesn’t have to ‘refund’ the three months of October, November and December. As each company is different it’s up to their own terms and conditions on whether you will be refunded or not. Therefore, it’s always recommended to read policy documentation and fine print before agreeing. After all, insurance is a legally binding document.
Do I need Business or Private Van Cover?
Van insurances can sometimes feel like a minefield, there’s a range of different options and it can be a challenge to select the correct one. A lot of people wonder what type of cover they require, do they need business or private van insurance? This simple and easy guide has been designed to cut through the jargon and help you understand the general information more clearly.
Let’s look at both types of cover in more detail:
• Private Van Insurance – Private van insurance is needed if you have a van and drive it for ‘social’ purposes. This can include many different reasons, but some examples are going to the supermarket, taking part in hobbies, going on family trips etc.
If you generally use your van for work, then a private van policy is not correct for your requirements. You will need a commercial insurance. Just like a car, private van cover has a range of different levels depending on the policy you decide to purchase.
Third party only (TPO) is the most basic level and will cover the cost of damage done to another vehicle, a person or property. Third party, fire and theft is the next level, covering damage arising from fire and the theft of your vehicle in addition to third party damage.
Fully comprehensive private van insurance is the most ‘extensive level’ and covers damage to your vehicle in addition to the above. Most standard vans, such as Sprinters, Transits, Pick-ups etc, can be driven on a standard UK driving license.
• Commercial Van Insurance
On average in the United Kingdom, there are around three million light good vehicles, also known as (LGVs). Commercial van insurance is required if you use a van for any commuting. This means to a single place of work, or for commuting to multiple locations. For example, if you’re a gas fitter and have jobs in numerous places. Equally you will also need a commercial van policy if you choose between carriage of your own goods, carriage of goods for hire, or reward and haulage cover.
Click Here to learn more about Commercial Van Insurances, what it does and doesn’t cover, and how it may apply to you.
Van and Commercial Driving Licenses
In the UK, there’s some confusion about what size of vehicle you can drive on a regular UK driving license. Vans weighing less than 3,500kg and with a maximum of nine seats (including the driver’s) are known as light goods vehicles (LGVs) and can be driven with a standard Car (Cat B) driving licence.
Even more confusingly minibuses (which usually have around nine seats) may not be able to be driven on a standard Car (Cat B) license. This all depends on numerous facts, which can include the following:
You may be able to drive a minibus with your car licence (category B) if all the following apply:
• you’re 21 or older.
• you’ve had your driving licence for at least 2 years.
• the maximum weight of the minibus is 3,500kg (or 4,250kg including specialist equipment for disabled passengers, eg a wheelchair ramp).
• you’re not towing a trailer.
• the minibus is used by a non-commercial body for social purposes.
• you don’t get paid except for expenses, eg fuel, parking costs.
• you provide the service on a voluntary basis.
If you plan to drive a minibus ‘professionally’ you must apply for a D1 minibus license. To drive a vehicle weighing more than 3,500kg you would need a Medium-sized vehicle license, this is technically known as a Cat C1 licence. If you gained your standard licence before 1997, it will include Cat 1 as standard.
If you’re planning to drive anything over 3,500kg, this will be regarded as a large vehicle or lorry. This is a category C license. To obtain this license you will need to take a category C test. If you need to take a driving test for additional licences for commercial use, then these costs will be your responsibility only. Sometimes companies will cover these costs, however this depends on an individual basis.
To find out what vehicles you can and can’t drive, please Click Here to visit the official Government Website.
How to Save Money on Van Cover – Insurance Tips
Finding the correct van insurance can seem like a real challenge, we all want to cut costs, so learn today how to save money on your van cover policy.
If you need commercial van insurance then finding the best price is always going to be at the forefront of your mind. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want cheap van insurance? The more money you can save, the better your bank balance looks.
Here are some great van insurance tips:
• Choice of Van – Although obvious, the size and specification of your van will certainly impact on any premiums. For example, a long wheel base van, will most likely cost more than a short wheel base.Equally a ‘hi-top’ van will most likely be more than a standard low top. Particularly over the last decade with the ‘emissions’ initiations, smaller vans tend to be more cost effective.
Larger vans will in general have better performance and engines, this will obviously attract a higher premium against smaller models.Sometimes insurance providers can also offer different premiums depending on the brand of the van itself. If the van is considered to desirable then the chances of it getting stolen are much higher. Sometimes external factors outside of the UK even play a lot. For example, let’s say a certain model is popular in eastern Europe, vehicles tend to get stolen ‘for order’. So, it’s always worth considering if your choice of vehicle will affect your premiums or not.
• Pay Annually – You will typically get a better premium if you pay for your policy on an annual basis. While this means your bank balance will be down in the short term, the long term benefits generally outweigh the bad. After all, when paying annually you usually get a month or two’s worth of discount. If you can’t afford the whole amount in cash today, some people even say that decent savings can be made if you pay on a 0% credit card – just make sure you can pay off the balance on the card before the interest-free period ends.
• Compare – Typically one of the worst things you can do is ‘auto-renew’ with an existing provider. This is how they make a lot of money and usually take advantage of the situation. These days it takes maybe half an hour to switch or compare van insurance policies.
There’s really no excuse for not comparing providers.Sometimes you will find that a policy was cheap for the first year, then inflated dramatically the second. This is typically how ‘the game works’. The first year was to lure you in, the second year, the insurance company made their profits. There’s nothing against the law from changing insurance companies on a yearly basis. At the end of the day, the only person who will lose out, is yourself.
• Your Work Status – As you would expect, the nature of your job influences any savings you may potentially make. For example, a ‘wood worker’ may pay a different premium to a ‘joiner’. You should always be honest to any insurer, as lying may invalidate your policy.
• Improve the Security – Just like a home, devices such as alarms and immobilisers may help to keep your premium down. This is because they have been designed to discourage possible thieves. Installing a tracker could also make it easier for your van to be recovered and returned if it’s been stolen, and it may reduce your premiums too. However, this will vary from different providers.
• Don’t Modify Your Vehicle – It’s never really a ‘good idea’ to do any vehicle modifications. Sometimes people do it to improve performance or as a visual measure. However, it could really increase the price that you pay for insurance. This is because ‘modified parts’ tend to be harder and more expensive to repair or replace.
• Increase your Voluntary Excess – Choosing a higher voluntary excess when you take out your policy should decrease the price of your policy. Remember, that if you make a claim, you may have to pay that excess before the garage will give you your van back.