Van insurance has increased across the board by 15.5% since the year before with the average business van driver now paying around £1,129 premium a year. This average considers premiums as low as £691 for drivers over 50, to a whopping £3,153 for drivers under 25!
It’s shocking to note that business motor premiums have shot up by 52.4% since 2014, when Consumer Intelligence first started to collect data. It’s made even more difficult for the trade by adding recent rises in fuel prices and increased materials costs to the mix.
Believe it or not, there are still some potential savings to be had, and we are here to help. When your policy comes up for renewal, here are Howden’s top tips on what to consider for a reduction on your next premium.
1. Have you sorted public liability insurance?
Having public liability insurance in place can reduce your overall risk profile, and have a beneficial effect on the cost of your premium. Mention this when you ask for a quote – not just for your van but for any other insurance for your business!
2. What’s your business birthday?
Has your business been established for over two years? Certain insurers look at a range of factors that would demonstrate whether you are a better risk or not. If your business has been established at least two years, you represent a better risk for the insurer from a business practice point of view because you are showing stability.
This two-year period also covers various lockdowns during the pandemic, so do mention it to your broker if you have recently celebrated your second anniversary.
3. Are you married?
If you are the sole main driver, you could include your spouse as a casual driver on your van insurance policy.
Just be aware that you must still declare yourself as the main driver otherwise you can be at risk of what is known as ‘fronting’. This is when a driver chooses to cut the costs of another driver’s insurance by declaring themselves as the main driver in their place – which could invalidate your insurance policy.
4. Using your No Claims Discount
Declare any no-claims bonus and make sure you’re aware of how many years you have on all the vehicles you own – whether for another company vehicle or for your own car, or both. You may be able to use it to lower your van insurance.
If you have a higher level of No Claims on another vehicle, some insurers will ‘mirror’ this discount on your van. This is not the same as transferring your No Claims from one vehicle to another, it just means that you can effectively enjoy the discount on both vehicles at the same time. There are restrictions on eligibility, but it is worth checking.
Even if you don’t have your own NCD, some insurers will still recognise, and allow a discount, for a proven claims free driving history as a named driver on, for example, your common law partner’s car. There will be exclusions, but it is worth mentioning when obtaining your quote.
5. Is everything up to date?
It sounds obvious but you’d be amazed how many drivers forget to do this. Even a move up the road, or to the next industrial unit, using a slightly different postcode can make a difference on cost.
6. What’s in a name?
Remove ‘unnamed drivers’ from your van insurance policy. Naming drivers can attract better premiums. If your vehicle will be driven by other people, you must tell your insurer in any case. In some instances, this will help bring down the cost of your premium because you won’t be the only person driving the car and the associated risk is reduced.
7. Do away with ‘any driver’ van insurance
Did you know that ‘any driver’, ‘open driving’ or having no age restriction are generally the more costly options? If you have opted for ‘any driver’ cover and this is no longer needed, it can be far more economical to name each individual driver that will be driving the vehicle.
8. Time to revalue your van?
Get an up-to-date valuation of your vehicle to make sure you’re not overpaying on your premium. It’s worth noting that you may find that your particular van may have a higher valuation at the moment due to stock shortages.
It may be better to wait until the market cools, however it is worth doing the research. If you do increase the value of your cover, at least the current value of your van will be covered should the worse happen. In the current economic climate, it is not worth the risk of being left out of pocket when it comes to sourcing a replacement of the same value, and that value not being fully covered.
9. Get your van purchase date right
It’s a small admin error to make, but make sure that when you apply for van insurance, you note the exact date you purchased your vehicle and don’t just match the date you require cover from (although if cover date is in advance this can help too, so ensure you get both right).
Big discounts can be had by illustrating you have owned and driven the vehicle for two years, so make sure you have the relevant paperwork to hand to check this.
10. Strength in numbers
Have you become a member of any professional or registered trade bodies or any affinity groups, for example, NICEIC or GasSafe? Some insurance brokers offer their members access to specialist schemes which will reduce the cost of your premium.
11. Anti-theft devices
Thatcham approved security measures (alarm, immobiliser, tracker, steering, gear stick or handbrake locks) can help to keep the cost of your insurance down so make sure to mention any that you have fitted, especially if you have changed anything in the last 12 months.
12. Fit a Dash Cam
Did you know that having a Dash Cam fitted can also generate additional discounts with certain insurers? They are also helpful in the event of a claim.
13. Don’t shelve this idea for later!
Fit your van with shelving or racking for lower van insurance premiums. It can be surprising to learn that if you have a professionally racked van, you can reduce your insurance costs. Having unsecured tools and equipment in the back of your van can be seen by insurance underwriters as higher risk. Fitting racking demonstrates improved safety and greater commitment to the care of the vehicle.
14. Think twice about leaving tools in your van overnight
Tool theft is a booming trade in Britain, so where possible, remove them from the van.
15. Secure van storage
Overnight location is a key factor for van insurance. Is your van garaged overnight? This will be the lowest risk option in terms of potential theft of your van. If not, is it on a driveway, private property or in a locked compound? The more details you can give your insurance provider of how your van is stored when not in use, the better chance they will have of finding you a good deal.
Be warned however that some insurers will charge more if they suspect someone is playing the system. They will know that something like a 4m Mercedes Sprinter is unlikely to fit into a garage.
16. Side-hustling in your van?
Have you started (or stopped) a side hustle that has changed the use of your van?
Be aware that using your van for other work can have a sizeable impact on your insurance quote, so make sure you let your provider know if there are any differences from last year.
17. Is your van signed or branded?
Does your vehicle have your business/contact details on the side? Statistically speaking, if it is easy to identify then it is less likely to be stolen. There is also a difference on how your van is sign written. Magnetic signage may be seen as less permanent than wrapped so let your insurance company know the full details when they get you a quote.
All over wrap? It is worth double checking any cover limits for a replacement, as not all insurers will cover fully wrapped vehicles.
18. Check your annual mileage
Has your mileage reduced over the last year? While lockdowns are hopefully a thing of the past, the increase in fuel prices and new congestion charges has seen many drivers more selective about the area they work in.
Discounts can be applied if your annual mileage has reduced so it is worth giving your insurer an up-to-date estimate.
19. Spread the cost
Do you pay your van insurance in full or via instalments? While you are likely to save a few percent by paying annually, you may find that with the rise in fuel bills and materials prices it is more affordable to manage it via a monthly payment. Ask your broker to break down the two options.
20. Talk to us!
Here at Howden, we get to know you and your business. It’s a major part of what we do and who we are. Whether you choose to pop in with your renewal or pick up the phone, we will always have a knowledgeable van insurance specialist who will know the right questions to ask, and can answer any questions you may have.
If you believe that any of these points mentioned are likely to impact on your premiums, it’s important to get in touch – we’re here to help. Find your local business branch here.
Sources: Consumer Intelligence