How to tell the difference between a car and a van
Generally speaking, a car is built for the primary purpose of carrying passengers. This means it will typically have seats and windows in the back and carpets on the floor.
A van is designed for commercial or business use. This means it will have a load bay at the back instead of seats and windows.
But these features are just a rule of thumb. In fact, we found that over 50% of vans insured through MoneySuperMarket had three seats, suggesting people may be using these for social, domestic and pleasure reasons too.
As our data demonstrates – it’s not always possible to distinguish between a van or car just by looking at it.
Still don’t believe us?
Here are some examples of vans that can easily be mistaken for cars:
What’s the difference between car and van insurance?
Whether you drive a van or a car, there are three main types cover available to you. They are fully comprehensive, third party fire and theft, and third party-only.
For any one of these, the factors below will have equal weighting when it comes to the cost of your van or car insurance:
However, other pricing factors will have a different weighting depending on whether your vehicle is a car or a van. For example:
If you drive a van, what you do for a living provides a better indication of what the vehicle will be used for. In the case of car cover, your occupation only gives the insurer an idea of where the car is kept during working hours. Interestingly, the most common occupation given for van owners is ‘retired’, according to MoneySuperMarket data, while 6th place was ‘housewife or househusband’ – suggesting the vehicles will be largely used for social or domestic reasons
What the vehicle will be used for
If you are insuring a car, you’ll be able to state in the application whether it’s for social and commuting; social, commuting and business – or social-only. Insurance policies for vans tend to automatically encompass business use. (That said, it is possible insure your van solely for personal use too – almost 40% of people insuring a van through MoneySuperMarket chose this option.)
As vans typically carry and store more tools and equipment than cars, there is a greater pricing emphasis on the content and accidental damage element of cover
Getting the right cover is a legal requirement – if you buy a car insurance policy to cover your van, in the event of a claim you would not receive a pay-out as the policy would be invalid.