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What are van insurance classes of use?

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When you search for van insurance, you’ll be asked about how you use your van, this is so insurers can establish your vehicle’s class of use. It’s important that the category you choose is an accurate description, if not, your policy might not give you the protection you need.

Here, we take a look at different van classes of use so that you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

Why are there different van classes of use?

Having different classes of use helps insurers understand the way you use your van. In turn, this allows them to make decisions about the risks you face which influences what you pay for insurance. For example, delivery drivers covering hundreds of miles are likely to pay more than leisure drivers who only use their vans once or twice a week.

Why is it important to have the right van class of use?

The correct class of use ensures your van is covered for the activities it’s used for. If it’s in the wrong category, it could invalidate whatever policy you have. This means your insurer can refuse to pay out if you need to make a claim.

Not only could you be left paying for repairs to your van, inappropriate vehicle insurance is treated in a similar way to having no insurance at all. As a result, you could face a £300 fine and have six points added to your licence. If you’re taken to court, you could be given an unlimited fine and be banned from driving.

With all this in mind, it’s vital to have the right class of use set out on your van insurance policy. If you change the way you use your van partway through your policy, let your insurer know so they can update it. This could mean your premium increases slightly but it’s likely to be significantly cheaper than being fined or losing your licence.

What are the different van classes of use?

Broadly speaking there are four main classes of use to choose from which are split between private van insurance and commercial (business) van insurance; they are:

Social Use Only (also called Social, Domestic and Pleasure Only)

This class of use falls under private van insurance and is only suitable if you drive your van for domestic or leisure reasons. This includes activities like the school run, food shopping and visiting friends and family. You can also choose this class of use if you use your van to transport equipment for hobbies, but only if you’re not earning an income from it. As soon as that hobby becomes a paid activity, you’ll need carriage of own goods (which we explore below).

Carriage of Own Goods

This is a type of business van insurance. You’ll need this if you use your van to commute to work every day—even if you’re based in one office. This is because (unlike car cover) van insurance doesn’t have a social, domestic, pleasure and commuting policy.

Carriage of Own Goods policies are also suitable if you travel to different customers and carry tools and equipment in your van. For example, if you’re a plumber, carpenter or mobile hairdresser.

Carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward

This also falls under the category of business van insurance and is aimed at anyone who carries passengers or goods in exchange for money.

It’s important to know that this particular class of use is a legal requirement. So, if you’re a taxi driver or courier, you should make sure you specify this when you arrange insurance.


This is another class of use that comes under the category of business van insurance. As the name suggests, it’s designed for hauliers travelling long distances, making one or two stops at pre-determined locations.

What class of use do I need?

The class of use you choose, must reflect the way you use your van but if you’re using it for both social and work reasons, classes of use can be confusing to navigate.

As a general rule, if you can confidently say you just use your van for domestic and leisure reasons, then Social Use Only will cover your needs. This will typically be the cheapest class of van insurance.

On the other hand, if you use your van to carry your own belongings and use it for anything that earns you money (such as work) then you’ll need Carriage of Own Goods. Another good example of when you’ll need this, would be if you get paid to coach a sports team or DJ in your spare time and carry equipment in your van.

If you’re in any doubt, discuss it with your insurer. Some providers are happy to extend a Social Only policy to include limited commuting.

The other two classes of use (Carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward and Haulage) are a little more straightforward, and it should be easy to work out whether you need either of them or not. (Read our article "What van insurance do couriers need?") Otherwise, your insurer will be able to advise you according to your needs.

Compare van insurance

No matter what class of use you need, you can search for van insurance quotes right here. Thanks to our partners at QuoteZone, you’ll be able to compare up to 60 insurance providers in just a few minutes—all you need to do is answer a few questions and our partners will see what they can do for you.

Find van insurance today.
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Get Quotes

  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on
  • Fill out one form, get up to 60 quotes
  • Buy online or by phone