The Association of British Insurers (ABI) determines which group each van is assigned to, and several factors help them decide which category to put them into.
First is the size and weight of the van. This has an impact on steering as heavier vehicles tend to be harder to drive. As a result, owners of bigger vans are usually charged higher premiums as they are considered a higher risk than small vans.
Second is the overall value of the vehicle. The more expensive the vehicle, the more it will cost to insure, for the simple reason that any claims are likely to be larger than for a cheaper vehicle.
The cost of repairs is also factored in, as cheaper models may not necessarily have spare parts that are easily replaceable. If they don’t then they will be assigned to one of the higher van insurance groups in order to reflect the larger expenses insurers could face in the event of a claim.
The ABI also look into how likely it is that the van will be stolen. A vehicle with a higher security level due to features such as immobilisers and alarms will be assigned to one of the lower van insurance groups than one without security measure in place, so this is worth considering when purchasing a van.
The impact of van insurance groups
Motorists who are considered to be high risk; such as young drivers or those with convictions should opt for a van in the lowest van insurance groups possible if they are concerned that they will not be able to afford cover.
But remember that vehicle size and performance (both speed and fuel economy) will need to be taken into account as well; especially for businesses. Visit the Thatcham site to find out what group any van you are considering has been classed in.
How do you plan to use your van?
How you use your van will have a huge impact on your insurance cover. If you are using it to carry your own things around – for example, you are a plumber and carry your tools in the back, then you should choose ‘carriage of own goods’ cover. If, however, you are using the van to transport other people’s goods for payments, and are effectively a delivery driver, then this type of cover is known as ‘haulage’ or ‘hire and reward’ cover.
Finally, you may plan to use your van for Social Domestic and Pleasure only. This type of insurance cover is most suitable for home-based drivers who use a van for everyday needs such as driving friends and family around.
Make sure you choose the right cover to suit your needs, as if you are discovered using your van for a purpose other than the one you stated on your insurance policy, your cover may be invalidated.
Other factors that influence premiums
There are several other factors that can have an impact on premiums. For example, where you plan to park your van is vital information for the insurer. If you are able to park your vehicle in a garage overnight, where it is more secure you will usually be offered cheaper quotes than if it is parked by the side of the road.
Having modifications made to your van can also bump up the cost of premiums, as repairs are likely to be more expensive in the event of an accident.
You can reduce your van insurance premiums by opting to pay a larger excess – the portion of any insurance claim which you must pay yourself. Remember, however, that you should always set it at a level you can afford, otherwise you might not be able to make a claim at all.