Commercial van insurance

We walk you through getting your business van insured and how you can lower insurance costs.

Your van might be the backbone of your business? So should it get damaged or even stolen it might be an incredibly costly situation.

Find out how commercial van insurance can protect not only your van but your other goods and tools. Plus for anyone looking to lower their van insurance costs we explain all the different tactics for lowering your premium.

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What is commercial van insurance?

Commercial van insurance is made for anyone who uses their van to make a living. From florists to construction workers, if you use your van to make cash then you can’t just get a standard insurance policy.

Here are the three types of people who need to take out a commercial van insurance policy:
1. Anyone who uses their van as a sole trader, a builder for instance.
2. You own a business that uses vans, like a flower delivery company.
3. You commute to work using your van, even if you don’t actually use it for your job.

What types of commercial van insurance are available?

There are two types of commercial van cover. You’ll need to tell your insurer which kind applies to you and your business, as some providers won’t protect you if you’re moving other people’s goods and possessions around.

This coverage protects you if you use your van to lug around your own equipment. If you’re a gardener, plumber or carpenter say. What’s more you’ll be covered for social, domestic and pleasure use.

This covers you if you’re moving around someone else’s goods for payment, for example if you’re a delivery driver. Likewise, you’ll be covered for social, domestic and pleasure use.

What level of van cover do I need?

Much like with getting standard car insurance there are three basic levels of coverage.

Third party coverage is the bare minimum you need to legally take to the roads. With this, the insurer will pay to fix someone else’s vehicle should you have an accident, but not yours.

Third party, fire and theft offers the same benefits as above, but your van is also protected if it’s stolen or damaged due to fire.

Then there’s the top dog, comprehensive. As the name suggests you get the same coverage as third party, fire and theft. On top of this, though, the insurer will give you financial help should your van get damaged.

This might be in an accident or from a falling tree branch. Check your policy to see exactly what you’re getting.

Extra levels of cover for your van

Given your van is the life blood of your business, you might want to protect more than just the vehicle itself. Depending on your insurer you can get some of the following as standard. Other providers will make you pay though.

  • Tools and equipment. Often this isn’t included as standard, but given their potential value, you might want to pay extra to protect your tools being stolen, or damaged by fire, theft or accident.
  • Goods in transit. This protects any items you’re carrying in your van against any loss, damage or theft.
  • Courier insurance. Similar to goods in transit cover, this is more specifically made to protect couriers for any goods they’re driving around against loss, damage or theft.
  • Breakdown cover. Your van breaking down could cost you a day’s work and a lot of money. Breakdown cover could help you get to where you need to go.
  • Courtesy van. If your van suddenly breaks down and is in need of repairs, a courtesy van might ensure you don’t miss out on work while it’s on the mend.
  • Windscreen cover. Your insurer might include this as standard but check, with others you might have to pay a bit extra.
  • Trailers. This protects any trailers you attach to your van against loss, damage or theft.

Are there any policy restrictions?

How you use your van. Some insurers won’t cover you for certain uses, delivering goods for instance.

  • Weight of van. Many insurers only cover vans that weigh up to 3.5 tonnes, so check your vehicle is valid before getting it covered.
  • Age. Most insurers refuse to offer commercial van insurance to anyone under the age of 19 or 21.
  • Trailer. Some providers will refuse to cover any damage to a trailer, if you attach that to your van for work.

How much is commercial van insurance?

You’ll need to get a quote to know for definite. However there are several factors that will affect your premium.

  • Your vehicle. Powerful, fast and heavy vans will be seen as higher risk and could lead to higher prices.
  • Personal details. Your age, medical history and where you live can all impact your insurance prices.
  • Driving history. If you have blemishes on your record this will bump up your overall van insurance cost.

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

  • Don’t auto-renew. If your policy is ending soon then shop around. Use comparison sites and get quotes directly. If you find a cheaper one then use it as leverage and ask your current insurer to offer you a cheaper deal.
  • Higher voluntary excess. Excess is the amount you pay towards a claim before the insurer’s coverage kicks in. Opting for a higher excess shows your insurer you’re less likely to make a claim, which in turn could cut your premium.
  • Telematics policy. Fitting your car with a blackbox or using a telematics app can really lower your premium costs if you drive responsibly. Behave recklessly on the road though and you’ll see the reverse.
  • Add an experienced driver. Putting a more experienced driver as a named driver on your policy can help cut your costs.
  • Exclude certain drivers. If possible avoid adding under-25s, seniors or learners as additional drivers on your policy. These groups are statistically more likely to have an accident, so are deemed higher risk.
  • Vehicle type. The make and model of your van has a huge bearing on your overall insurance costs, so next time you’re looking to buy a new van maybe opt for a smaller, less powerful machine with plenty of safety features.
  • Build a no claims bonus. Drive safely and avoid making any claims over a period of four or five years. Your insurer could well reward you with a “no claims bonus”.
  • Security. Parking your van in a garage or another secure place makes it far harder to steal. This could lower your premium.
  • Use discounts. Really look around see if there are any deals on offer. Some providers might give loyalty discounts or cheaper rates for new customers.

Frequently asked questions

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Written by

Esther Wolffowitz

Esther Wolffowitz was a publisher at specialising in insurance. Esther holds an MSc in Media and Communication Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). See full profile

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