Whether you own a van for business or personal use, you’re required by law to insure it. Van insurance provides financial protection against the usual risks that all drivers face, from road accidents to theft. However, there are some important things to keep in mind when taking out a van insurance policy.

In this blog post, we answer some FAQs about van insurance.

Is van insurance different to car insurance?

While car insurance and van insurance are similar, there are some key differences. For example, whether you use your car for business or pleasure, you’ll be insured under the same policy. Of course, you must declare its use and this may impact the premium.

Van insurance comes as two separate policies: personal and business. Personal van insurance is similar to a standard car insurance policy. Business van insurance has three main options to suit different commercial uses:

  • Carriage of own goods: for anyone who carries their own goods, such as tools for business use, eg. tradespeople
  • Carriage of goods for hire and reward: for anyone who carries goods for other people in return for payment, such as delivery drivers
  • Courier and haulage: for anyone who carries goods for other people across long distances, such as importers and exporters

Most personal and business van insurance policies offer similar add-ons to car insurance. For example, no claims protection, misfuelling cover, breakdown cover or windscreen cover.

How much is van insurance?

There’s no simple answer to how much van insurance costs, as a range of factors will impact the price. These factors include:

  • How long you’ve held your driving licence and whether you’ve received any points
  • Your driving history and no claims discount
  • The make, model and age of the van you wish to insure
  • How you use the van (personal use or commercial)
  • The level of insurance you need (comprehensive, third party only, third party fire and theft)
  • Whether you want any additional add-ons
  • The amount of excess you’re willing to set

Nimblefins conducted research into the average cost of different van insurance policies. The sample driver was aged 35, and the research used some of the UK’s most popular vans. Here are the findings for the average annual cost of each type of insurance:

Comprehensive - £1,315 with an excess of £495

Third party, fire and theft - £2,299 with an excess of £592

Third party only - £2,412 (there is no excess on this type of insurance as the policy doesn’t cover damage to your own vehicle)

The research found that third party, fire and theft policies had the biggest variation in price. Some insurers quoted over £1,000 more than others for the same vehicle and driver details. A very large excess was also forced by some insurers, quoting up to £3,000 for compulsory excess.

It may seem surprising that insurance levels with less protection are more expensive. However, insurers have found that higher risk drivers often favour third party policies.

Why is van insurance so expensive?

Van insurance is typically more expensive than car insurance, for a number of reasons.

Most vans have a solid back and sides, meaning the driver has reduced visibility. Due to this, accidents are more likely for those who aren’t used to van driving. Vans are also bigger and heavier than cars, with more powerful engines, increasing the price of a premium.

If the van is for commercial use, insurance premiums tend to be higher. This is because commercial vans tend to spend more time on the road. Insurers view this as a higher risk for accidents. Certain jobs will require specific add-ons to the policy, bumping up the price. For example, tradespeople who carry tools in their van are likely to add on cover for their tools.

Having a wrap on your van, such as your company logo or contact details, can sometimes impact the price of your premium. Whether this is a positive or negative impact will depend on the insurer. Some insurers view this as a modification, which can raise the cost of the policy. Others view this as a positive thing, assuming you’ll drive safer since you’re clearly representing a business. Having branding on your van also makes it more identifiable and can deter thieves, which could lower your premium.

The age of the driver also tends to have a bigger impact on van insurance premiums than it does on a car. Drivers under the age of 25 are usually quoted a significantly higher price than older drivers. This becomes even more expensive if the driver has never insured a van on their own policy before. Drivers who have only recently passed their driving test are also likely to see an increased premium cost.

Can I drive a van on my car insurance?

This varies between insurers and policies. Some car insurance policies may allow you to drive a van, but it’s uncommon. It often doesn’t come as standard. Even if you’re covered to drive a van under your car insurance policy, it may not provide the same level of protection. For example, you may have comprehensive cover for your car, but you’re only covered for third party in a van.

Always check your policy wording thoroughly and never just assume that you’re covered.

Finding a comprehensive van insurance policy that suits your needs is only half of the process. You should also be confident that the insurer is reputable and has a good customer service track record.

Check customer reviews for your prospective provider before taking out a van insurance policy. This is one of the best ways to gain valuable insight into how a provider treats and values its customers.