Van Insurance – The Ultimate Guide

antoine fruchard Antoine Fruchard  updated on September 8, 2020

It’s no great secret that van insurance is more expensive than car insurance.

This is because vans have bigger engines, higher seating capacity and are assumed to be driven more for commercial purposes rather than personal usage. This directly pushes up the cost of insurance. 

No matter what you plan to use your van for, we’re here to help you find cheap van insurance that is right for you. 

This article is your all-you-need-to-know guide to van insurance with tips to reduce the cost of your premiums and tools to compare van insurance policies. Stay tuned!

What is van insurance?

Vans pose a different set of risks than regular cars. As such, van insurance is designed to address the specific risks associated with driving vans depending upon the purpose and the size of the vehicle. Think of it as car insurance but for larger vehicles. 

For example, if you run a business which requires a van for making deliveries or pick-ups you would need to be covered for any untoward event such as an accident or fire involving loss of your cargo, damage to other people’s property or third party injuries, as well as damage to your vehicle or personal injuries. 

Alternatively, you may use a van for non commercial reasons. Let’s say you have a big family that travels together on a regular basis. Depending on the level of coverage you take out, van insurance will give you peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones are protected in case of an accident.

That’s why it is very important to know what coverage you must get to be able to protect yourself, your family or your business from any of these potential outcomes by taking out van insurance.

What are the best van insurance deals?

InsurerQuote (without NCB)Main featuresOur commentSee offer
logo the van insurer£856,32
  • Private, commercial, multi-vehicle, any driver and temporary van insurances available
  • Specialist broker for van insurances
  • Compare more than 55 competitive quotes
  • Reviews from real van drivers available on each provider
  • Refund warranty if cheaper quotes found online
Get quote (discount with this link)
logo esure£865,15
  • Provides insurance only for small vans for personal purposes
  • Offers a 75% discount for a driver that has up to 10 years No Claims Bonus
  • Third party cover for up to 90 days in the EU
  • Average customer satisfaction rates
  • Their website does not contain all the necessary information
Get quote (discount with this link)
logo axa£873,08
  • Cover any type of use of your van (business, family trips etc.)
  • Courtesy van provided in case your vehicle breaks down
  • Accident recovery, roadside repairs, uninsured driver promise included as standard
  • Very reliable insurance policy with 4,6/5 global rate from customers and 5 stars at Defaqto expert rating
  • Very competitive rates with an additional 10% discount if applying online as well as up to 60% NCB to build up
  • 99,9% of claims paid out
Get quote (discount with this link)
logo churchill£1 236,48
  • 24-hour accident recovery
  • Guaranteed repairs for 5 years with approved repairer
  • Breakdown car assistance from anywhere in the UK
  • Vehicle replacement cover for theft or damage of vans by fire
  • One of the oldest insurance providers in the UK with high customer service satisfaction rates and competitive pricing
At any insurance agent
logo admiral£1 459,36
  • Own goods cover
  • Haulage cover
  • Option to bundle car and van insurance in a Multi-car cover policy
  • Ranked by The Personal and Finance Awards website as best car insurance provider of the UK for the past three years
At any insurance agent
logo hastings direct£1 530,96
  • Courtesy vehicle cover
  • Upto £750 cover for in-van entertainment system
  • Upto £250 personal goods cover
  • 24 hour helpline
  • Recommended for fair pricing and high customer satisfaction
At any insurance agent
logo liverpool victoria£1620,35
  • Option to keep your no claim discount If the other driver is not insured and the accident is not your fault
  • Wrong fuel cover
  • Misplaced key cover
  • Recommended for fair pricing and user friendly website with up to date information
At any insurance agent
logo rac insurance£3 369,39
  • Up to £100,000 of Legal cover 24/7 helpline
  • Windscreen cover
  • Accidental damage and vandalism cover
  • Average customer service satisfaction rates due to high admin fees and overall high pricing structure
At any insurance agent
Best van insurance companies and their features

Those quotes are for a single 31 – 40 years old driver living in the South West of England with no driving history and no NCB for a comprehensive policy.

What does van insurance cover?

Much like regular car insurance, van insurance offers you three broad levels of coverage: third-party only, third-party fire and theft and comprehensive insurance.

  • Third Party This is the lowest level of cover required by law and is meant to cover you for causing injuries or damage to other people and their property. However, it does not cover you or your van for any resulting loss or damage.
  • Third Party Fire and TheftThis is the second level of cover available. In addition to  providing coverage for third party losses, it also covers you if your vehicle is stolen or damaged by fire. 
  • ComprehensiveThis level of coverage includes everything that is covered under third party and third party fire and theft as well as coverage for any damage or repairs to your vehicle, personal injuries to yourself and the passengers travelling in your van.

It is a common mistake to assume that lower levels of coverage are cheaper but the fact is that a comprehensive policy is most likely to cost you less as long as you don’t take out coverage for things that you don’t really need. We would highly recommend opting for this level of cover. 

How do I compare van insurance quotes?

Van insurance comparison is easier now than ever before. 

All you need to do is use our online comparison tool such as ours, to search for the cheapest van insurance quotes from hundreds of insurance providers in the UK.

Simply enter your the following details to get started:

  • Your personal information – Your age, where you live, previous driving record if any.
  • Information about your van – Registration plate number, make and model, modifications made if any, and estimated value.
  • Your intended use for the van – Whether you plan to use it for commercial or private purposes, estimated mileage if possible. 

It’s always better to be as specific as possible. Based on this information, we’ll give you a bunch of quotes, adapted to your specific situation, to help you compare the best van insurance policies on the market. 

What type of van insurance do I need?

The type of van insurance you need depends on what you need it for. 

You will need to know the exact details of your van as well the specific purpose of your vehicle, especially if you’re planning to use it for commercial purposes. 

Van insurance offers coverage to protect you against certain eventualities that are quite different from those you might face if you were driving a regular car. 

Once you have decided the level of cover (third party, TPFT or comprehensive) you need, it is important to pinpoint the exact nature of use of your van. For example, do you plan to use it for commercial or personal purposes?

Personal and commercial van insurance types

To understand this better, let’s take a closer look at some of the possible reasons why you might need to use a van:

Types of van insurancesExplanation
Personal or Social UseIf you only plan to use your van for personal or social reasons such as going on vacation, visiting friends or relatives, going to the movies, shopping or dropping your kids to school, this is the type of coverage you should be getting. It must be noted that you will not be covered under this type of insurance if you use your van to drive to a place of work.
Commercial UseIf you plan to transport any kind of goods or work related tools, or if you drive your van to a place of work, you would need to get commercial or business van insurance. Depending on the level of coverage you choose, you could be offered protection for your vehicle, yourself, as well as the goods being transported. Broadly, the transport of goods falls under two sub-categories.
Types of van insurance

Van insurance types for commercial use

There are different types of commercial van insurance as well:

Types of commercial van insuranceExplanation
HaulageHaulage is the transport of large amounts of cargo usually over long distances. This type of insurance covers all the goods that are being transported from point A to point B. While this type of van insurance also includes social usage, it does not cover multiple destinations. So, if you plan to drop off your cargo at multiple destinations it might be better to consider Courier Insurance instead.
CourierThis type of commercial van insurance covers you if you are transporting other people’s goods to multiple destinations. If for example, you run a parcel delivery service, you would be required to get courier insurance rather than haulage insurance.
Own goods carriageIf you use your van for commercial purposes, but also carry your personal possessions such as clothes, books or tools in the same vehicle, this type of coverage will cover any loss to the items you own.
Goods in transitThis type of commercial van insurance is different from own goods insurance in that it covers the loss of all the goods stored in your van, whether personal or work-related.
Fleet InsuranceFleet insurance is a type of commercial van insurance that is designed for businesses with multiple vehicles. It’s a good way to avoid high insurance costs and extra paperwork involved with insuring multiple vehicles. Instead of insuring each vehicle separately, fleet insurance is a single policy that covers all the vehicles owned by the business. Typically, the minimum number of vehicles required to be considered as a fleet is two, whereas maximum number could be in the thousands depending upon the insurer.
Commercial van insurance types described

Once you have decided your level of coverage and the specific type of coverage required, there are a few additional factors to consider which directly impact the cost of van insurance.

What is the difference between commercial and private van insurance?

Still confused about the difference between commercial and private van insurance?

In a nutshell, private van insurance restricts the usage of your van for social or personal reasons only. If you use it for any other reason whatsoever, you need commercial or business van insurance.

Let’s look at the key differences between the two with some simple examples:

Private van insuranceCommercial van insurance
Hobbies – Using your van for hobbies or recreational activities such as playing golf, going to band rehearsal, art or dance classes.Work – Using your van to drive to work or any place of work such as a construction site, concert venue, bar or restaurant where you work.
Personal Visits – Visiting friends and relatives or going on family vacations, picnics and excursions in your van.Official Visits – Visiting any location in an official capacity such as carpenter, plumber, electrician, lawyer or consultant.
Personal Chores – Such as dropping your children to school, driving to the supermarket or hardware store to buy and transport goods for your personal or home needs.Official Chores – Such as a trip to the hardware store to buy and transport tools for your work or making deliveries in an official capacity.
Classic Van Shows – Taking part and travelling to and from vintage van shows or rallies. Transporting Goods – Transporting or delivering goods for sale, changing their storage location or hauling other people’s goods for payment.
Key differences between private and commercial van insurance

How much does van insurance cost?

The cost of van insurance depends on the type of policy you choose. 

Van insurance can be much more expensive than regular car insurance because of the following reasons:

  • Bigger engine and seating capacity – Vans have often more powerful engines than regular passenger cars. A bigger, more powerful engine means you are able to drive faster, hence increasing the possibility of an accident. Similarly, more seating capacity means a greater number of people are at risk of injury in an accident. This pushes up the cost of insurance.
  • The kind of goods transported – Transporting high value goods such as jewellery, or high-risk goods such as flammables would require extra protection. Courier insurance is a better option than standard commercial van insurance in this case. 
  • Higher risk of theft – Due to the bigger storage capacity of vans, it is assumed that they are more likely to be targeted by thieves who are out to steal valuable goods stored in the van. This makes vans more risky for insurers and hence drive up the costs.
  • Higher chance of driving on unfamiliar roads – Drivers of delivery vans often find themselves delivering goods to new locations on a regular basis. This means that the driver is less likely to be familiar with the roads, thereby increasing their chances of having an accident. 
  • Your driving history – Young, inexperienced drivers with no previous driving history as well as drivers with a poor driving record or past convictions will see higher quotes than others.

Let’s take a look at some of the lowest average annual costs we found for a fully comprehensive van insurance policy under the different types of cover available: 

Van insurance typeAnnual insurance premium
Private or Social Use Only £560
Personal Goods Transport£620
Courier or Transport of Goods for Payment£2020
Haulage£1700
Cost per van insurance type

With so many factors to consider, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for van insurance. Always assess and evaluate your reasons for using a van to be able to find a policy that is best suited to your needs.

Is it possible to get temporary van insurance?

Much like short-term car insurance, it is also possible to get short term van insurance.

If you need to drive a van occasionally, temporary van insurance is the perfect solution to only pay for what you need. 

With a coverage period ranging from 1-84 days, it provides short-term, comprehensive cover for the amount of time you plan to spend driving a van.

For example, if you are moving home and plan to use a van to shift furniture from one house to the other, you would need to take out temporary van insurance for the period of time you plan to spend moving.

If you are renting a van then you needn’t worry about taking out temporary cover as the van rental company would have already factored in the cost of insurance.

What extra cover do I need for my van insurance?

The extra cover you need depends entirely on your requirements.

Different insurers provide different kinds of extra coverage options for vans but in general, you should be able to find the following options:

  • Valuables and Equipment – You can cover the loss of any stolen or damaged valuables and equipment that you keep in your van.
  • Breakdown Cover – This covers the cost of roadside assistance or repairs by a mechanic in the event your van breaks down on the road.
  • Windscreen Cover – This covers you if your windscreen or windows are damaged or vandalised. Ordinarily, the cost of replacement windscreens is not included in a standard insurance policy. 
  • Personal Accident Cover – This covers the cost of medical treatment for any injuries you may have sustained in an accident.
  • Replacement Vehicle Cover – This covers the cost of a replacement vehicle to keep you mobile during the time your van is immobilised or being repaired.
  • EU Cover – If you drive your van outside the UK, you can get EU cover for a limited period of time.

Can I add multiple vehicles on my van insurance policy?

If you want to add more than one vehicle to your van insurance policy you can.

Some insurers call this multi-van insurance whereas others call it fleet insurance. 

While fleet insurance is more suited to business owners who have a fleet of vehicles, multi van insurance can be found for a minimum of two vans. 

If you own more than one van it could be a good idea to opt for a multi-van insurance policy instead of taking out a separate policy for each van.

There are a number of insurers who provide fleet insurance. The best one depends entirely on the value of your vehicles and your specific use for it.

For example, Quote Me Today offers fleet insurance which covers commercial use, replacement vehicles and windscreen cover, without a limit on the value or the size of your vehicle, whereas Aviva offers similar coverage but only for vehicles valued below £35,000 and weighing less than 3.5 tonnes.

So, if you run a tourism company, you might only need a fleet of mini vans for simple shuttle services such as picking up your customers from the airport, taking them sightseeing, etc. Choosing a fleet insurance policy with limited vehicle capacity could be the right solution for you in this case, to avoid the higher cost of insuring larger vehicles. 

Alternatively, if you run a home moving service you would most likely need bigger capacity vehicles to transport heavy furniture and large quantities of goods. In this case, you would be better off with a policy that does not specify a limit on the size of the vehicle. 

No matter what your requirement, having fleet insurance could greatly reduce the amount time, paperwork and cost of insuring each vehicle separately provided you choose one that is best suited to the nature of your business.

How can I reduce the cost of van insurance?

To be able to reduce the cost of van insurance, we need to understand the factors that affect the cost of insurance. 

Your age, where you live, how much you drive, the size and capacity of your vehicle, your experience as a driver are just some of the factors that affect the cost of van insurance so it’s very important to do your research. 

Apart from this, here are some interesting tips to avoid paying unnecessarily high premiums on your van insurance.

  1. Choose the right amount of coverage – The lowest amount of coverage may seem like the best way to avoid paying high insurance premiums but the fact is that the opposite is usually the case. It is important to try and understand what your policy covers and if you would be able to afford the cost of damages to your vehicle or goods in case you are not covered for it. You would end up paying a lot less in the long run.
  1. Choose the right van – Always choose a van that meets your needs. Nothing more, nothing less. For example, If you need your van only to transport yourself and your family apart from running personal errands, you would save money by buying a minivan rather than a large one. Insurance policies for vans that are used for personal or social needs are the cheapest of all van insurance policies.
  1. Know your vehicle category – The cost and type of van insurance policy depends on the type of van you own. There are a wide range of options available from micro and mini vans to passenger vans and medium and large utility vans. Your van insurance prices will vary depending on the category your van falls into. 
  1. Opt for multi-van insurance – If you own more than one van, it is always cheaper to club them under the same insurance policy rather than take out separate policies for each. 
  1. Opt for security features – Vans are considered to be more likely to be stolen or broken into. Installing security features such as alarms and trackers could help bring down your premiums.
  1. Off-road parking – Vans that are parked on main roads have a higher chance of being targeted by thieves and vandals or being damaged by passing vehicles. Opting to park your van in a garage or private property would therefore be safer and result in lower premiums.
  1. Compare, compare and compare – One of the best ways to bring down the cost of your van insurance is to compare many different van insurance quotes online. Every insurer offers different deals and discounts, different rates and fees. Use an online comparator such as ours to find the cheap van insurance quotes for your personal or business needs.
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