Guide to Van Insurance
VAN INSURANCE IN THE UK A valid van insurance policy is required for all vans that are used on the public highway. If you do not have valid insurance for your motor vehicle, it could be impounded or even scrapped.
USAGE: There are different types of van insurance to choose from and drivers need to think about how the vehicle is used before applying for van insurance. Insurance companies base their rates upon the level of risk they associate with the use of a van so drivers need to understand the difference between the various categories that are used to describe vehicle usage. The categories are social, domestic, and pleasure use; carriage of your own goods; and haulage.
If the van is only used for social, domestic, and pleasure purposes, it means that it is not used for business purposes. If, however, the van is used to haul your own supplies for your business (for example, you carry garden equipment to provide landscaping services or you are a mobile hairdresser carrying hair supplies) then this needs to be listed as the carriage of your own goods. Alternatively, if the van is used to transport other people’s goods for profit, then this should be listed as haulage – for example, the truck is used for deliveries.
If the van is to be used for business purposes it will often be described as a “commercial vehicle”. If you are not using it for business your van will often be classified in the same way as a car by insurers.
WHAT TYPE OF VAN INSURANCE COVER DO YOU NEED? As for motor insurance, van insurance can be broken down into three cover types:
- Third-Party Only (TPO) – Provides the minimum level of cover required to drive a van on the road. The cover is provided if you cause damage or injury to a third party, but no cover is provided if you suffer damage to your own vehicle.
- Third-Party, Fire, and Theft (TPFT) – Provides cover for loss or damage to your vehicle caused by fire, lightning, explosion, theft, or attempted theft, in addition to the liability coverage provided under a TPO insurance policy.
- Fully Comprehensive insurance cover – this provides cover for accidental or malicious damage to the vehicle, in addition to the cover provided under a TPFT insurance policy.
WHAT AFFECTS THE COST OF VAN INSURANCE? One of the main things an insurer will take into consideration when rating (or pricing) a van for insurance cover is the intended use of the vehicle.
Generally, the premium you pay for your van insurance depends upon a range of factors including:
- Annual mileage
- The level of security protecting the vehicle
- The size and value of the vehicle
- The cost of repairing the vehicle
TYPES OF VAN AND INSURANCE GROUPINGSGenerally the bigger and heavier the van, the more costly the insurance premium will be.
Most insurance companies use the same five categories of a van as a starting point for pricing policies:
- “Car-derived van” or combi van: This type of van looks like a car from the front but the backseats are replaced with a cargo area and the windows are filled in. Examples of this type of van are the Vauxhall Astra van and the Ford Fiesta van.
- Micro-vans: The smallest size of van and one that is not derived from a car. Examples of this type of van are a Peugeot Blipper or a Citroen Nemo.
- Small/Light vans: These vehicles have double doors at the back and a raised roof. A common example is a Ford Transit Connect.
- Medium or panel vans: Perhaps the most popular “white vans”, they have a large load capacity and include the famous Ford Transit.
- Large vans: These vehicles are capable of carrying very large loads. A popular example often used in the removal trade is the Luton van.
WHAT OTHER COVER MIGHT BE NEEDED? Depending on individual needs, additional insurance products could be beneficial. Some of these are particularly useful if you are running a business. Most Fully Comprehensive van insurance policies will not cover tools carried in the vehicle but check with the insurer for confirmation of this. To ensure you are fully covered it is worth considering taking out a “goods in transit” policy which can be bought separately. Goods in transit insurance will insure your tools, materials or stock against accidental damage or theft that can happen while in transit. However, you will also need to check any exclusions on the policy if you intend to leave your tools of the trade in the van overnight.
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