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What type of van insurance do I need?

Van insurance isn’t just a legal requirement, it’s a valuable safety net in case something goes wrong, and you need to make a claim. But having the wrong type of van insurance can mean that any policy you do have is invalid – leaving you to cover expensive repair costs.

To ensure you get the right policy for your needs, here’s what to consider when it comes to the different types of van insurance.

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What are the different types of van insurance?

When it comes to van insurance, there are two main types to choose from:

Private van insurance

This is suitable only if you use your van for personal or domestic activities. This can include school runs, weekly shopping trips or visiting friends and family.

Private van insurance is also referred to as ‘social use only’.

Business (commercial) van insurance

You’ll need business van insurance if your van is an essential part of your work or business, for example if you’re a courier. The cost of van insurance is typically higher for business use than private use, because business driving tends to be riskier (e.g. more miles, driving on unfamiliar roads, making stops at roadside, etc.).

In many cases, you’ll also need this type of policy if you drive to work each day, even if it’s to the same location. This is because van insurance doesn’t come with a social, domestic and commuting policy like car insurance does. That said, insurers set their own conditions, and some may be willing to add commuting to a private use policy, so it’s worth asking just in case.

If you need business van insurance, you’ll also have to choose from one of three classes of use. These are sub-categories that cover specific risks different business users face; they are:

  • Carriage of Own Goods. Covers you to carry your own belongings or tools.
  • Carriage of Goods. For Hire and Reward – you’ll need this by law if you’re a taxi or delivery driver. Essentially, this class of use allows you to transport people or deliver multiple items to different places in exchange for money.
  • Haulage. Aimed at haulage companies covering hundreds of miles, picking up and dropping off goods at pre-determined locations.

In any case, van insurance is often more expensive than car insurance—something to keep in mind when buying a new vehicle.

Does van insurance cover the contents of my van?

Van insurance doesn’t automatically cover the contents of your van—it only covers the van itself. If you regularly transport goods or carry tools from job to job, it’s a good idea to add on Goods in Transit (GiT) insurance to your policy. Goods in Transit cover specifically protects the items you carry in your van and insures them against loss, damage and theft while you’re out and about. GiT cover isn’t a legal requirement but without it, you’d be responsible for covering any losses which could be significant.

What levels of cover are available?

Both private and business van insurance come in three levels of cover, so you’ll be able to choose from:

  • Third Party Only (TPO). This level of cover compensates other people (third parties) for any damage you cause to them or their property. It’s important to know that TPO does not cover the cost of repairs to your own van. It’s also the minimum level of cover you can have by law.
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT). This is the next level of cover and includes TPO, but it will also compensate you if your van is stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive. This is the highest level of cover you can buy. It includes TPFT but will also cover the cost of repairing or replacing your van if you have an accident (even if the accident is considered your fault).

In the past, TPO was considered the least expensive level of cover. However, our latest research shows that this is no longer the case. In fact, the average comprehensive policy now costs around 45% less than TPO cover.

Part of this shift is because insurers noticed higher risk drivers favoured third party policies. This resulted in a greater number of claims being made compared to comprehensive policyholders and is now reflected in the differences in premium.

What other van insurance features should I consider?

The majority of insurers also offer a range of optional extras which can be added to your policy for a fee. However, if you opt for comprehensive van insurance, there’s a good chance your policy may already include some of these features which makes them even better value for money.

The range of available options will vary depending on the insurer, but often include:

  • Breakdown and emergency roadside assistance
  • Legal expenses
  • Windscreen and glass cover
  • Misfuelling cover

What van insurance do I need if I use it for both personal and business use?

This is where van insurance can become tricky to choose between. If you use your van for both work and home use, you’ll need a business van insurance policy plus social use. This will ensure you’re covered whether you drive your van to work or use it to take the children to school. Our article "What’s the difference between private and business van insurance?" explains private vs business van insurance in more depth.

It's critical to choose the right class of use to ensure you're driving legally—learn more about van insurance classes of use here. For example, van drivers engaged in courier work need hire and reward insurance.

How much does van insurance cost?

Your van insurance premium is influenced by a whole host of factors, including:

  • Your age. Younger drivers generally pay higher than average premiums because under 25s are at greater risk of being involved in an accident.
  • Where you live. Areas with higher crime rates attract steeper premiums.
  • The type of van you have. The more powerful (or desirable) your van, the more you’re likely to pay as it’s at greater risk of theft.
  • The class of use you need. The more you’re on the road or the greater the risk of an incident taking place, the costlier the premium. For example, business use plus Carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward is likely to cost more than business use plus Carriage of Own Goods.

With all this in mind, it’s vital that you provide your insurer with all the information they ask for. If you don’t, it could invalidate your policy which means you won’t receive any compensation if you make a claim.

Compare van insurance for peace of mind

Searching for van insurance can be confusing and time consuming so we’ve made it easy to find and compare cover that suits you.

Simply answer a few questions and our friends at QuoteZone will take care of the rest. With up to 60 available insurance providers, we’re confident you’ll find van insurance that gives you exactly what you need. Click here to get quotes.

Find van insurance today.
Powered by QuoteZone.

Get Quotes



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

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