Van insurance FAQs
There are many similarities between car and van insurance. But there are also key differences. The more you know and understand about van insurance, the more likely you are to find the right policy for your needs.
On this page we run through some of the most frequently-asked questions so that you can approach the subject with increased confidence.
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What sort of van insurance cover is available?
Vans must be insured by law. As with car insurance, there are three main categories of insurance protection: comprehensive, third party fire and theft, and third party only.
The minimum legal requirement is third party cover. This covers the cost of claims made against you by other people for injury or for damage caused to their vehicles or property, but it will not pay for any damage to your own van. This makes it the cheapest sort of van insurance, so it could be your preference if you are on a tight budget.
Next level up from third party cover is third party fire and theft. This adds in cover for the cost of any damage caused to your vehicle by fire and also guarantees to cover the costs if your vehicle is stolen. It won’t pay out if your vehicle is damaged in an accident.
The most wide-ranging form of cover is fully comprehensive. Here you get all the protection mentioned above, and you are also covered for any damage to your own vehicle. Depending on the insurance provider, you might also be able to add in additional benefits, such as cover for tools and other personal belongings.
Of course, it could be that you are not looking for a conventional 12 month policy. If this is the case, then MoneySupermarket.com also compares short term van insurance deals.
You can read more about these different levels and types of cover in our van insurance guide.
Do the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) regulations apply to vans?
Yes. It is a legal requirement for vans, as for cars, that the registered keeper maintains an insurance policy on them at all times. It is an offence to keep a vehicle without insurance unless you have notified DVLA, by means of a Statutory off Road Notice (SORN) that your vehicle is being kept off the road.
The authorities compare the DVLA records with those maintained by the Motor Insurance Bureau to identify uninsured vehicles. You don’t have to be out and about to get caught.
If you fail to comply with the CIE rules you risk a fixed penalty of £100, your vehicle being clamped, seized, impounded and disposed of, and a maximum fine of £1,000.
Are vans allocated to insurance groups in the same way as cars?
Yes. Every make and model of van – or ‘light commercial vehicle’ (LCV) – is allocated to a group by the insurance industry. The prime determining factors are the vehicles size, weight, performance and cost of repair and the higher the group, the higher the insurance.
There are 20 van insurance groups (50 for cars) and you can find out details at www.thatcham.org – look for the LCV section.
Are there age restrictions on who can drive?
Again, it depends on the van insurance company. Some specify minimum and maximum driver ages – these might be, for example, 19 or 21 at one end of the scale to 65 or 70 at the other. It might also be a requirement that the driver or drivers have held their licence for a minimum of, say, 12 months.
Find out more about the impact of age on premiums in our guide to young driver van insurance.
Will I have to pay an excess if I make a claim?
Yes. Van insurers include a compulsory excess on all policies to deter small claims that are expensive to administer. So if you make a claim, you will have to pay the excess amount yourself. If you make a claim and it is determined that someone else was at fault, you should be able to recover your excess from their insurer.
In addition to the compulsory excess, you can opt to pay a voluntary excess. This will reduce your premium but will mean you have to pay more towards the cost of any claim you make.
As an example, if your compulsory excess was £100 and you opted for a voluntary excess of £200, you would pay the first £300 of any claim. Depending on the circumstances, you might have to find this amount before the insurer would pay the remainder of the claim, or you might receive a net settlement. For example, on a £2,000 claim, you might receive a cheque for £1,700 from the insurer.
Do I get a no claims discount?
Yes, you should do. The longer you drive without making a claim, the deeper the inroads you’ll be able to make into your renewal premium.
How about other drivers in my business?
If you are on the lookout for a business van insurance policy, then bear in mind that different companies have different requirements. You may have one van but two or more potential drivers. Or you may have several vehicles with several drivers.
With van insurance for all but the biggest firms, the business owner, managing director or a senior manager will be expected to be the main driver on the policy. You can then add other members of staff as ‘named’ drivers. You will need to provide their details to the van insurance company.
Depending on the policy you choose, each driver may be restricted to driving a particular vehicle, or any driver may be able to drive any vehicle. This latter option would give you greater flexibility but would probably be more expensive.
Does my trade or type of business make a difference?
In most cases, yes. The insurer will charge a higher premium if your van or vans are on the road for the bulk of the day than it would if they are driven to a destination, parked up for the day and driven home in the evening.
You might also pay more if your line of work means your vehicles are regularly driven at night. If you regularly carry hazardous materials, you might also pay more.
What about parking at night?
This will make a big difference. If you have a secure parking area you will pay less for your insurance than if the van or vans are parked on the street.
Presumably security measures will make a difference?
Yes, they will. To secure a discount, you will probably need to have an alarm and an immobiliser – and you and your staff members will need to remember to use them!
What about modifications?
If you make any change to your vehicle which alters its original specification it’s best to contact your insurer to see if they class it as a modification – and that includes any changes you make to the interior, perhaps to carry or store items or equipment. If the change is classed as a modification, your premium will probably increase. If you make what is classed as a modification and don’t tell your insurer, you policy may be invalidated and you may have difficulty making a claim.
Where do I find my van’s year of registration?
It’s in the V5 registration log book.
What can I do to get cheap van insurance quotes?
Taking advantage of a van insurance comparison site like MoneySupermarket.com could benefit you in your search for cheap van insurance quotes. We retrieve prices form some of the UK’s providers in our quest to find you the best deals.
For more specific advice which could help you lower the cost of your premiums, take advantage of our money saving tips.