Van insurance typically costs more than other motor policies but read our guide to find out how to get cheap van insurance whether you’re using your vehicle for business, pleasure or simply for a day.
Van insurance is much the same as car insurance when it comes to what is covered, although if using a van for work the insurer needs to be informed to cover it for business use. There are three types of van insurance policy:
Third party: Covering the cost of injury of other people and damage to their vehicle and property. The policy holder and their belongings are not protected. Despite being the most basic package it is not necessarily the cheapest.
Third party fire and theft: Includes third party, but also damage to the policy holder's van in the event it is stolen or destroyed by a fire. Damage to the policy holder's vehicle through accidental damage, such as a crash, is not protected and neither are the van's contents.
Comprehensive: As the name suggests this is the highest level of cover, protecting against injury to the policy holder or third parties and damage to their vehicle or belongings in the event of an accident, fire or theft. It covers medical expenses and replacing a van's contents, which could be useful if the vehicle is used for a trade.
A company or individual may be responsible to pay for van insurance, depending on circumstances. If you use your own vehicle for work you are legally obliged to have your own van insurance. But if you drive a company vehicle it is the company's job to secure van insurance and they buy insurance for the whole fleet.
If an individual working for a company uses their own van, the business must ensure they have the correct minimum cover. The employee also needs to inform their insurer they are using their van for business purposes, as taking out cover for just domestic and social purposes could invalidate the policy.
Van insurance can cost a lot more than car insurance, partly because vans are often used by tradesmen or delivery drivers who are at several different locations a week or even a day, and the safety of those locations is hard to verify. Vans are bigger, heavier, and clock up a lot of miles so could be more prone to accident or breakdown.
However there are a few ways to get cheap van insurance, which we explain later in this article.
We’ve researched the cheapest and average cost for van insurance using the most popular van of the year for 2022 - the Ford Transit Custom. It’s widely considered a van has a lifespan of about 150,000 miles. For the purposes of our research we calculated van insurance quotes on a five-year-old Ford Transit Custom which travels 15,000 miles a year (therefore it is halfway through its estimated lifespan), worth £14,000.
Our driver is a 40-year-old electrician with no driving convictions and five years of no claims, who lives in Essex using their van - which is kept on a private driveway overnight – for business use. The policy has a £500 excess.
We found the cheapest comprehensive deal with Van Line Direct, a specialist provider, offering a policy for £545 as long as the driver travels with an app-based telematics monitor. The cheapest premium without needing telematics was £643 with Right Sure. The average price we found, when comparing 56 policies, was £1,233. Please note that policy prices change so these providers may not be the cheapest when you come to purchase your insurance, so it’s best to compare van insurance.
As you can see, it is cheaper to buy a fully comprehensive van insurance package over third party. This sounds counterintuitive, but insurers believe more irresponsible drivers will buy third party cover and would rather serve customers who are careful and less likely to make a claim, so make their comprehensive prices more attractive.
With van insurance costing more than car insurance, it’s always useful to compare van insurance quotes to find a cheap deal. Our partners at QuoteZone look at more than 60 providers and say they save the average user £326.
Our top tips to get cheap van insurance:
Write your business name on the van: Some providers offer a discount for sign-written vans. This is because it can help police track it down if it’s stolen, plus it may turn off potential thieves if they know what sort of business it is used for.
Establish your business: Some insurers provide a discount for established businesses.
Use racking: Vans with racking – fitted shelves inside the van – can help drivers get a discount on insurance and items inside are less likely to damage the van if they are safely stowed.
Use telematics: Our research found a comprehensive quote £40 cheaper if the van driver used an app-based telematics programme to communicate driving behaviour.
Compare van insurance: There are a few specialist van insurance providers who may offer a cheaper quote than household names known for car insurance. Using a comparison site like our partners QuoteZone identifies scores of providers on the market to save users hundreds of pounds.
Pay upfront: Paying annually rather than monthly can save more than £100. The cheapest quote we found for comprehensive cover worked out at £686 over the year when paid monthly, compared to £545 when paying annually.
Voluntary excess: Adding a voluntary excess will reduce the cost of your policy considerably. A voluntary excess is one the policy holder chooses to pay on top of the compulsory excess which is set by the insurer. It's a bit like a vote of confidence in the safety of their own driving, saying they doubt they'll be in an accident but if they are, they'll pay more towards the bill.
Increase your no claims bonus: Having a longer period without any claims can reduce your insurance premiums in the long run. Some consider no claims cover which allows customers to make one or two claims without it affecting the no claims bonus.
Don't park in the road: Vans parked in private driveways or garages overnight can have a cheaper insurance quote than those that are parked on the road as they are considered less at risk to thieves and vandals.
We looked at the cost of van insurance when used for social, domestic and pleasure (not commuting) while keeping all other credentials the same, and the cheapest quote was £586 - actually higher than when researched for business use. But it’s worth looking at the average for a true picture.
The average comprehensive van insurance for social, domestic and pleasure use was £1,162, which is £51 cheaper than the average premium for business use.
Someone only using their van in their downtime will probably drive a lot fewer miles. Perhaps they do a few road trips a year around the country, or head to a nearby beach every day with their surfboard.
We compared the cost of van insurance for someone driving the average car mileage in the UK which is estimated to be 7,400 miles. The cheapest van insurance came out much cheaper at £478 while the average was £977.
Day insurance for a van offers flexible and temporary cover to suit drivers who do not use their vehicle frequently. This can be useful for many drivers such as those who are borrowing a vehicle to move large items, are a sole trader who only needs to use a van occasionally, or who has just bought a van and hasn’t had a chance to sort their annual policy.
Temporary van insurance is similar but can be offered for longer periods, usually up to a month or four weeks. This can be handy for people who go camping or travelling in a motorhome a few times a year, are looking for a temporary courier job, or someone who will be selling their van shortly.
Day insurance for a van offers exactly the same type of cover as annual policies but is not offered by all suppliers and is more specialist.
The cost of the premium will depend on the same credentials as annual insurance, so if you usually pay a higher amount than average for annual van or car insurance, you’ll probably have to pay more for day insurance. However, the advantage of day insurance for a van is it will be cheaper than an annual policy.
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