Van Insurance Advice: Everything You Need to Know

All across the UK there are millions of vans driving on roads every single day. According to the law, every one of those vans needs insurance. Insurance is designed to protect those involved in accidents from financial loss that might result from injuries and property damage. Not only is driving without insurance against law, it is also downright foolish.

Van Insurance Advice

Van insurance typically costs more than car insurance for a number of reasons. Therefore, it is more important than ever to comparison shop for your van insurance in order to guarantee you are getting the best deal possible. Do not forget that the insurance industry is very competitive. By researching and comparing, you be able to find the best overall deal and coverage amounts.

EU Insurance Law

The law in the European Union dictates that some sort of insurance covers every vehicle driven on the roads. The law also makes it mandatory for all EU countries to make sure insurance companies within their jurisdictions offer a minimum of three types of cover:

  • Third Party Only - This type of insurance is the UK equivalent of liability insurance in some other countries. Because it is a liability policy, it does not cover the injuries or property damage sustained by a person who causes an accident. It only pays the amount of money he owes to the victims of his carelessness.
  • Third Party with Fire and Theft - Some drivers want the protection against fire and theft in addition to their liability coverage. It affords some additional peace of mind and a slightly higher price. Note that this type of insurance still does not cover a driver or his vehicle in the event that he causes an accident.
  • Comprehensive Cover - For the greatest protection possible, drivers can choose comprehensive cover. This type of insurance takes care of liability issues, fire and theft, and injuries and property damage sustained by at-fault driver. It is the most expensive of the three but well worth it if your car is extremely valuable.

Passenger vans in the UK can get by with one of these three basic types of policies if the owner decides one is sufficient. However, commercial and transport vans are another story. Companies that operate such vans have additional liabilities requiring additional types of coverage.

Insuring Passenger Vans

When you are insuring a private passenger van for you and your family, it is no different from purchasing insurance for your car. Your car insurance company will determine what insurance group your vehicle falls into according to its size and weight, its value, and so on. The base rate for your insurance begins by determining your insurance group.

Next, the insurance company will ask some questions to determine the risk involved with insuring in your van. They will want to know things like:

  • who will be driving the van
  • what you do for living
  • where you live
  • the ages of your children
  • expected annual mileage

All of these things go into the formula that will determine your price for insurance. All are factors in determining how much risk you pose; not only in terms of your liability threat to other drivers, but also in terms of how much your insurance company might have to pay out in the event of a claim. The greater the risk for you and your insurance company the higher your price will be.

Understand that your record as a driver is the single most important factor insurance companies will consider when writing a policy for you. They do not like to see drivers who are careless, accident prone, and guilty of multiple violations. The safer and more responsible you are the less you pay for insurance.

Insuring Work Vans

Vans are great vehicles for lots of different occupations. For example, window washers and plumbers use vans because they provide just enough cargo space for tools and equipment yet are still easy enough to manoeuvre around congested city streets. Yet work vans are in a different category of insurance than private passenger vans.

For starters, any van used for work purposes might need to be covered under a business policy taken out by your company rather than as a private passenger vehicle. That all depends on how you operate your business and how it is classified for tax purposes. An insurance expert is the best one to help you determine what type of insurance you need.

In either case, you will want to consider extra cover needed to protect the value of your tools and equipment. A standard comprehensive policy will not apply for work related materials. This extra cover should be enough to replace the contents of your van at the current retail level rather than the street value. Otherwise, you may not get enough in a claim to replace your lost or damaged equipment fully.

Insuring Transport Vans

If you are purchasing insurance for a van your company uses to transport passengers, you are entering an entirely different insurance tier altogether. Not only do you need third-party cover to protect yourself against your own liability issues, you also need cover to protect your passengers.

This cover involves protecting them against financial loss should they be injured in an accident while riding in your vehicle. In some cases, you will need additional cover to protect personal property they may have with them during transport. Just these two things show that passenger vans used for commercial livery also have high insurance rates.

Extra Covers to Think About

Most of us would probably like to get away with the cheapest insurance possible. In some cases that is appropriate, but in others it is not. Here are some additional covers you should think about when shopping for van insurance in the UK:

  • Breakdown Cover - Just as you can purchase breakdown cover for your passenger car, it is also available for your van. Basic breakdown cover provides emergency roadside assistance to rescue you and your van should you break down on the road. You can add to basic breakdown cover to pay for things like rental cars, continuing your journey and even repairs in some cases.
  • Any Driver Cover - Small businesses that own just one or two vans may prefer purchasing any driver cover. This gives them the flexibility to allow any employee or contractor working on their behalf to drive the vans for business purposes. It is certainly more expensive than a standard business policy but less expensive than trying to insure every driver individually. The flexibility this type of cover offers is ideal for companies that need van services but do not run an entire fleet.
  • Legal Expense Cover - In the event of legal action following an accident, you may be responsible for some hefty legal bills. With legal expense cover, you be able to afford solicitor, court, and other fees resulting from legal action against you.

Temporary Van Insurance

Because Van insurance is expensive, it can be cost prohibitive for an individual or small business to carry a 12-month policy on a vehicle that will only be used every now and again. One example might be a delivery vehicle used by a business only during the busy shopping months of November and December.

From January through October such a company could have the van classified by the DVLA as being "off road" by filing a Statutory Off Road Notification form. This allows the company to store the vehicle for those 10 months without having to pay for van insurance.

At the end of October, the company could put the van on the road and purchase a temporary policy lasting only two months. During that time, the van's owner has all of the protection of a standard, 12-month policy but at a lower cost. The one thing to remember with temporary van insurance is that it is essential the van not be driven before or after the policy term. Otherwise, the owner risks serious penalties and the potential for having the vehicle seized.


With the exception of vans that have been classified as "off road,” it is illegal to own a van in the UK without having at least third-party insurance. As long as law requires it, you might just as well do your best to find great coverage at a price you can afford. You only accomplish that through shopping around.

There are plenty of van insurance providers throughout the UK to choose from. So take your time, understand what you are shopping for, and do not just sign the first deal that come along. With a little bit of investigation you will be able to find the van insurance that is right for you.

Purchasing insurance direct from providers is one way to go about getting a policy for your van. If that is your preference, here are some links to sites where you can buy insurance direct:

Comparison shopping using websites specifically designed to compare insurance quotes is a great way to be efficient and fast in your search. Here are some links to some of the UK's best-known comparison-shopping sites:

Compare the Market - Shop for both standard and customised van insurance policies here. This site also stores your quotes for retrieval at a later date.

Go Compare - Compare quotes from 37 different providers offering cover for both commercial and private vans. When you purchase through this site you can also be entered for a chance to win free van insurance.

Money Supermarket - Offers quotes from 20 of the UK's leading van insurance providers. You can search for quotes for both private passenger vans and commercial vans used by businesses. - Vans weighing less than 3.5 tonnes can be insured by one of the 19 providers quoted on this site. When you quote and purchase here you earn 2,000 nectar points.

Tesco Compare - Offering van insurance comparisons through their partner site, Vast Visibility. Van insurance can be searched by features or price. - Quotes for more than 115 different policies are available on this site. Providers include companies like Churchill, Swinton, and Post Office.

Money Saving Expert - This site provides you all the information you need to know about getting cheap van insurance. If you have a question, they probably have an answer.

Aviva - Van insurance from Aviva can be purchased for your passenger or commercial Van. They are currently running a 10% online discount as well as standard tool cover of £500 for commercial vans with fully comprehensive coverage.

Insure My Van Man - This insurance company is a specialist in van cover. As part of Unicorn Insurance, the company has more than 14 years experience providing specialist policies.

Churchill - Van cover from Churchill includes things like 24-hour road recovery, no claims discounts, and repair cover for up to five years. You can buy other types of insurance from this site as well.

Hastings Direct - Offers several different types of insurance including van insurance for both passenger and commercial vehicles. For commercial vans, you can get up to £500 worth of free tool cover.

Budget Insurance - Get your insurance quote here for the most basic coverage or a fully comprehensive policy with all the extras. You can retrieve quotes for later viewing if necessary.