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Private Van Insurance

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What is private van insurance?

Vans are pretty useful vehicles. Many people choose to drive a van not only for commercial reasons but also for private use too.

Like car insurance, private van insurance is a must if you are planning on driving your van on the roads. However, it can be confusing to know which type of van insurance you need.

Insurers usually make the distinction between business and private van use. Commercial use is anything involved with making money. If you only use your van for leisure or use when you are not working, then you probably need to take out private van insurance instead.

Do I need it?

It’s illegal to drive a vehicle on the roads without a minimum level of insurance coverage in place. Private vans are no different in this respect. Unless your van is declared officially off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) then you will need to have a policy in place. Failure to have the right insurance could lead to a fine of up to £1000.

What types of private van insurance are available?

Private van cover is similar to car insurance, in that you can choose the level of coverage you need. There are three main types of private van policy:

  • Third-party only

This policy will only cover you for damage to third parties. If you are involved in an accident and your van needs repairing, the policy will not cover the cost. This is the minimum amount of cover required by law.

  • Third-party fire and theft

As before, this cover will pay out to meet any claim made against you by a third party. In addition, if your van is damaged by fire, or stolen, this insurance will cover the costs of repair or replacement.

  • Comprehensive

This is the highest level of coverage available for private van drivers. With a comprehensive insurance policy, all of the coverage detailed above is included. You are also covered for any damage to your own van in the event of an accident.

As owning a van can represent a big investment, many private van owners will choose comprehensive insurance as best suited to their needs.

How is the cost calculated?

As with all insurance policies, there is a range of factors which will determine the cost of van insurance.

The type, size and power of the van you drive are one consideration. If your van is very powerful or has a large engine, the cost of insurance is likely to be higher than for smaller models. The age of your van will also have an impact on your premium costs too. Older vans are likely to see a slightly lower premium cost, as the value of the van will typically be lower. This means lower risk to insurers if you make a claim.

Your insurer will also take into account your driving history. Younger drivers are likely to see higher costs for private van insurance. Those drivers with less experience are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident, which increases the chance of a claim.

If you have a no-claims discount built up, this is likely to lower the overall cost of your premium.

Frequently asked questions

How can I reduce the cost of private van insurance?

Make sure your van is stored securely, fit alarms, immobilisers or other security devices. These will all reduce the risk of theft, lowering your risk of a claim.

I only drive my van occasionally. Do I still need insurance?

Even if your van is only used very little, by law you still need to have insurance in place. The Continuous Insurance Enforcement act means you must have insurance for a vehicle unless it has been declared officially SORN.

I use my van to commute to work. Do I need private or business insurance?

If you only use your van to drive to your regular place of work, then private van insurance will cover you. If driving your van forms any part of your employment, for example transporting tools, materials, or driving to and from customers, then it is likely to be classed as commercial use and you will need a specialist policy.

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