Modified van insurance

Whether you've given the van a new paint job or turned it into the ultimate mountain biker's vehicle, find out more about modified van insurance.

These days vans are more than just a vehicle used by construction workers or florists. People have become incredibly creative when it comes to changing their van.

From paint jobs to putting on a bike rack, a modification is any change you make to the van once it has been produced in the factory. So, if you think you might have to take out modified van insurance, we explain what it is and how you can cut costs on your premium too.

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What is modified van insurance?

In a nutshell, you’ll need to get this type of insurance if you’ve made any modifications to your van. Maybe you’ve whacked in a massive new stereo? Or you’ve fitted the interior with storage space, chairs or even beds?

Whatever the case, you may have to get tailored van insurance. Even if you don’t think it poses a threat on the road, your renovations might make your vehicle appealing to thieves. Or make your van more of a fire hazard.

Plus if you have an accident and you hadn’t told your insurer about any modifications, your provider might say your policy is void.

So it’s crucial you get insurance fit for purpose.

What do insurance companies class as modifications?

When insurance companies say “modifications”, they include the more blatant changes, such as putting in chairs or installing a new stereo.

However, there are more subtle modifications too, like fitting heavy duty locks. Here’s a general breakdown of changes insurers will want to know about:

  • Adding or removing seats
  • Adding different power supplies
  • Putting in or taking out windows
  • Racking and storage
  • Alloy wheels
  • Changing audio system
  • Body kit
  • Spoilers
  • Upgraded exhaust
  • Turbo or supercharge engine
  • Putting in a refrigerator
  • Fitting catering equipment
  • Lifting equipment
  • Dog grooming equipment

Will all modifications alter my insurance?

No. Painting the van a different colour is hardly likely to change your premium, while some insurers aren’t fussed if you change the sound system or wheels.

Even if you are just painting your van green, you should still let your provider know just in case. Any changes you make to the machine’s performance will almost certainly affect your insurance premium though. If you tinker with the engine and make the van faster, for instance, then an insurer will probably see it as a higher risk on the road.

Plus a new paint job or fitting a bike rack on the van can make it more appealing to thieves. A rack, for instance, might suggest you’ve got expensive bikes stored inside.

Whatever the case, whether you’re putting advertising signs on the side of the van or changing its suspension, tell your provider.

Should I get a specialist van insurance policy?

If you’ve only made minor modifications, like putting on different wheels, then you can try and take out normal van insurance. Get some quotes online and ask the providers if they will cover your modifications – and what it will cost.

For any serious modifications, you might have to get specialist van insurance. Check out your options online or find one through a broker.

While it will charge a fee, you can be sure to find the policy suited to your van – whether you use it for cycling, surfing or just getting around.

How can I lower the cost of my modified van insurance?

  • Avoid auto-renewing. If your policy is up in a few weeks, shop around. Insurance companies often don’t reward loyalty, so compare your options and find a better deal. Then go back to your provider and say you’ve found a better deal elsewhere. It might try to lure you to stay.
  • Higher voluntary excess. Excess is the amount you initially pay when you make a claim before the insurer starts paying. Taking out a higher excess shows your insurer you’re more invested in not making a claim – which in turn could cut your premium.
  • Telematics policy. Fitting your car with a blackbox or using a telematics app can cut your premium if you drive safely and responsibly. Reckless drivers beware though, it might do just the opposite.
  • Experienced name driver. Putting a driver who has years of no claims under their belt as an additional driver on your policy can help cut your costs.
  • Exclude riskier drivers. Under-25s, seniors and learner drivers are all seen as higher risk so keep them off your policy if possible.
  • Your choice of van. The make and model of your van has a bearing on your overall insurance premium, so try to buy a van that is smaller, less powerful or comes with a number of modern safety features.
  • No claims bonus. Drive responsibly and avoid making any claims over a period of around five years, then your insurer might reward you with a “no claims bonus”. This in turn lowers your premium.
  • Security. Parking your van in a garage or another secure place will make it harder for thieves or vandals to get to. This could lower your costs.
  • Use discounts. Browse the Internet and see if there are any deals on offer. Some providers might offer loyalty discounts or cheaper rates for new customers.

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