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Check the registration document. Vehicles in category M1 are classed as cars, while those in categories N1 and N2 are vans.
Getting the right business use - or commercial use for those carrying cargo - is vital. You're only insured for what you tell your insurer you will carry.
Even if your van is just for personal use - carrying your hobby in the back - you need to have van insurance for social, domestic and pleasure use.
Whether you commute, work at several locations or visit clients in their offices or homes, you need the right level of van insurance.
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Before you borrow a friend's of relative's car, do you know whether you're insured? Even if you have your own comprehensive car insurance policy, you may not be covered to drive another vehicle. Find out which circumstances you're covered in when driving other cars.
If you have a van or commercial vehicle that is in use on public roads, you’ll need to take out van insurance. Third party insurance is a legal requirement to protect other road users. Depending on the level of cover you choose, you may also claim back costs if you cause an accident.
Third party only (TPO) van insurance will cover you for the cost of damage to third-party property and for any third-party injuries you cause in an accident. It will not cover any damage to your own van or property.
Third party, fire and theft (TPFT) cover will also pay out if you van is stolen, vandalised or catches fire
Comprehensive insurance will repair or replace your van even the damage is your fault
Comprehensive insurance is often no more expensive that either third party or third party, fire and theft.
Just like car insurance, van insurance comes in three different levels:
Some van insurance policies will come with extras or you can add them for an additional fee. These can include:
When deciding what level of van insurance cover, you need you will first need to decide what exactly you want to insure your van for.
For leisure only (called social domestic and pleasure)
Using your van for work (called business, or commercial, use)
A mixture of business and leisure use
The quotes will differ depending which type of cover you choose, the type of work you do, and how much of your driving will be for work.
Standard business van insurance covers you for:
Commuting to work
Driving between different locations for work
Driving to see clients or customers
Travelling to the bank for work purposes
Driving other employees or business contacts
Attending company events
Standard business insurance comes in four categories:
Business van insurance class 1: provides cover for driving between a number of different places of work or to visit clients and customers. You won’t be covered for door-to-door sales. This is typically the cheapest class of cover.
Business van insurance class 2: provides the same cover as above but also allows you to add a named driver – most policies specify this must be a colleague. Again, door-to-door sales are not usually covered.
Business van insurance class 3: provides cover for long-distance driving, which makes it the most suitable option if you make door-to-door sales. However, you will only be covered to deliver samples, so if you are delivering commercial merchandise, you will need commercial van insurance.
Commercial van insurance – 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 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.
The difference between a car and a van may seem clear, but it's not always as simple as you’d think. Sometimes larger family vehicles such as multiple passenger vehicles – MPVs – may be classified as vans.
If you have a camper van or MPV, you may be unable to get a car insurance quote because your vehicle may actually be classed as a van or another type of commercial vehicle. If you're unsure you can consult your V5C logbook.
Vehicles in category M1 are classed as cars, while those in categories N1 and N2 are vans.
If you work for a company that uses a number of vans in its fleet, you may need to find a fleet policy. These can include pickup insurance, fleet van insurance, courier van insurance, multi van insurance, any driver van insurance.
As with multi-car insurance you can also get multi-van insurance, this allows you to:
Insure several vans under one policy
Have a single renewal date
Save on having to take out multiple van insurance policies
Like car insurance, there is no set price for a van insurance policy. The cost of cover will depend on the type of van, its value, your driving history and how the van will be used.
However, you should bear in mind that many vans will be used much more frequently and cover much more mileage than the average family car and can also carry more high-value equipment. This may mean that your van insurance costs more than insurance for a small run-around car
There are specialist van insurers that provide tailored cover for a reasonable price.
Most types of insurance policy, including van insurance, will include an ‘excess’ figure. This is the amount that you will have to pay when you claim on your policy (or the amount that will be taken off any claim that is paid out).
Your insurer will set a compulsory excess but you can increase the total by adding a voluntary excess. Although this can reduce your van insurance premiums, make sure it is an amount you could afford in the event of a claim.
Just like on a standard car insurance policy you can build a no claims discount for every year you hold a van insurance policy without making a claim.
The best way to shop around for commercial van insurance is to compare quotes. You will need to have:
Your van registration number and details, including model, year of purchase, usage and any security devices that have been fitted
Your driving history, including details of any claims or convictions
Your estimated annual mileage, including an estimated split if you van will be used for personal and business miles
Your policy requirements
Details of your business, including your cargo
If you don't provide accurate and truthful information, your van insurance provider may refuse or reduce any claim you make on your policy.
Your insurer will send you a policy document, either online or by post. This provides full details of the cover you've paid for. if you want to cancel your van insurance policy - you have a cooling-off period of 14 days.
Make sure you keep all your van insurance documentation safe, in case you need to make a claim at a later date.
Shop around – use comparison tools to compare quotes
Have a no claims discount – providers offer a no claims bonus based on the number of years you’ve been driving without making a claim.
Pay a larger voluntary excess – the larger you pay up front then the cheaper your premiums but check you can afford the total amount.
Fit safety features – an alarm, locks and immobilisers fitted to your van can reduce your premium but check with your insurer first.
Only insure what you need – additional extras you don’t need will increase the cost of cover.
Drive fewer miles – being on the road less means you’re less of an insurance risk.
Pay up front – paying in monthly instalments means you end up paying interest on your insurance. Paying a lump sum annually can save a small amount from the overall cost of your van insurance.