Can I drive a van on my car insurance?

Find out if you can drive a van on your car insurance policy, and what to do if you're not covered.

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There may be times when you need to borrow or hire a van – for example, if you’re moving home or planning a big IKEA trip. But while you might assume that you can drive a van on your car insurance, this isn’t always the case.

Even if you need to drive a van for a short time, driving without the appropriate insurance is illegal. If you’re caught, you’ll get a £300 fine and 6 points on your licence (at a minimum). We explain how to make sure you have the cover you need.

Am I covered under my car insurance if I want to drive a van?

Maybe – it depends on your car insurance. If you want to drive a van on your car insurance policy, even if only temporarily, read the small print of your car insurance policy to make sure you’re covered.

If you’re still not sure whether you can drive a van after reading your car insurance details, don’t assume it’ll be OK. If you go ahead and it turns out you’re not covered, you risk being convicted of driving without motor insurance. Get in touch with your insurer to check.

Even if you are able to drive a van under your car insurance policy, you might not have the same level of cover as when driving your own car. Most policies will only cover you on a third-party basis. This means that if you have an accident, your car insurance will only pay out for damage to any other vehicle involved.

What if my car insurance is fully comprehensive?

If you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, you’re more likely to be covered to drive a van. Some fully comprehensive policies include an extension that allows the driver to use other vehicles, including vans. This is usually on a third-party basis.

What is the “drive other vehicles” clause and how does it affect what I can drive?

The “drive other vehicles” (DOV) clause is an extension that your main car insurance policy may include as outlined in the terms and conditions. It indicates whether you are insured to drive cars or vans that you don’t own.

It will usually only give you third-party cover to drive other vehicles. This means that you won’t be covered for any damage to the van or other vehicle that you’re driving under the terms of this extension.

Importantly, it’s designed for temporary use only and is not suitable for regular use of another vehicle. If you plan to drive someone else’s van frequently, consider getting formally added to their insurance policy.

Check the criteria of the extension carefully as there may be exclusions. Common criteria include the following:

  • The driver must be 25 or over.
  • The driver must have the permission of the van’s owner.
  • The van must not be a hire van (see below).
  • The van must be insured by its owner.

What are my options if my car insurance doesn’t cover (or fully cover) me to drive a van?

If your car insurance policy doesn’t cover you to drive a borrowed van or you want comprehensive cover, there are a few options to consider.

  1. Check if the van owner can add you to their existing policy, temporarily or permanently. This may increase their premium, but it could work out cheaper than the alternatives.
  2. Buy temporary van insurance. If you only need to borrow a van as a one-off, such as to move house, you can get cover for a short period. This could be a few days or weeks, or even as little as an hour.
  3. Consider hiring a van from a rental company instead. Relevant insurance cover will usually be included as part of the hire deal.

Does my car insurance cover me if I borrow a van?

If your car insurance has a “drive other vehicles” extension, you will be covered (usually third-party) if you borrow a van for a short period. It’s not designed for extended use, though. If you want to borrow a van for a few days or more, look into alternative van insurance options.

Does my car insurance cover me to hire a van?

Probably not; “drive other vehicles” clauses usually exclude hire vans. But this is unlikely to matter as hire packages usually include the van insurance cover you will need.

Can I drive a car on my van insurance?

The same rules apply as driving a van under a car insurance policy. If your van insurance policy has a “drive other vehicles” clause, you will be insured to drive a car on your van insurance. This will typically be on a third-party basis and assumes you meet all of the criteria.

Can I transfer my no claims discount from a car to a van?

You can only use your motor insurance no claims discount (NCD) on one vehicle at a time. This means you are only likely to want to transfer your NCD if you’re swapping your car for a van permanently.

Some, though not all van insurance providers, will accept an NCD that you’ve built up on a car or other type of vehicle. If you’ve earned a large NCD, it’s worth shopping around to find one that does as it could reduce your premium substantially.

If your van insurance provider lets you transfer your car insurance NCD, you may need to provide recent proof.

The bottom line

You can’t always rely on your car insurance policy to cover you if you want to drive a van, and even if it does, it may not cover you fully. Read your car insurance policy carefully, and look out for a “drive other vehicles” clause. If you can’t drive a van on your car insurance or want more comprehensive cover, there are temporary van insurance policies that can give you peace of mind and make sure you stay on the right side of the law.

Frequently asked questions

*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (June ’22). 51% of car insurance customers could save £330.51

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