The ultimate guide to van insurance

Whether you use your van every day for work purposes or only a couple of times a year for personal or family use, it is vital that you have the right insurance to cover you. Not only is it a legal requirement, but it also puts you at ease knowing that you are fully covered if anything were to happen.

There are many different types of van insurance that cover a huge range of vehicle models and different uses of vans.

But with so many different types of van insurance available, how do you know which one is right for you? How much does van insurance cost and how is that cost decided? And what can you do to your van in order to get cheaper van insurance premiums?

We are going to answer all of these questions as we take you through the ultimate guide to van insurance.

What is van insurance?

Van insurance provides cover for your van or vans against accidents, vandalism, theft, personal injury, or damage, depending on what level of cover you opt for. You need different van insurance for vehicles you use in a personal or private capacity to those that you use for commercial or business purposes.

Van insurance is generally split between these two groups, private and business. Then, within those two groups, there are subcategories, such as fleet van insurance or classic van insurance. It is vital that you inform your insurer of the exact use of your vehicle so that they provide you with the cover you need.

What vehicles are classed as vans?

It may seem an obvious question, but it is important to know exactly what does and doesn’t count as a van when you apply for any type of van insurance.

Most insurers will consider your vehicle a van if it has one or more of the following features:

  • A vehicle with more than eight seats in total.
  • A vehicle with a double cab. This is a separate area for the drivers and passengers from the tail end of the car.
  • A vehicle with a pick-up bed at the back, designed specifically for cargo. This may be with or without a roof.
  • A vehicle with no windows on the rear side panels.
  • A modified vehicle that was previously classed as a van.
  • A vehicle with a gross laden weight of over 1,000 kg.
  • A vehicle for which its original purpose was commercial.

Providers will usually accept the following types of vehicles under a van insurance policy:

  • Pick-up trucks. These are trucks that have an enclosed cabin and an open cargo area.
  • Dumper trucks. These are trucks that have a rear platform for cargo that can be tipped to dump the cargo.
  • Box vans. These are vans that have a large, enclosed cargo area that is usually separated from the cabin.
  • Light vans. These are small transit vehicles that have cargo space in the back.
  • Vans with single or double cabins. The cabins refer to the number of passengers that can be carried alongside the cargo space.

Levels of van insurance cover

As with regular car insurance, there are three different levels of van insurance available. Third-party is the cheapest and most basic, followed by third-party, fire and theft. Fully comprehensive offers the most cover of all three. You can also opt for optional extras.


Third-party van insurance cover is the most basic level of insurance and is the legal minimum requirement for all vehicles on road. It covers the costs to the victims of any damage or medical treatment needed as a result of an accident caused by your van. It does not cover the cost of repairing or replacing your van if it is stolen or involved in an accident.

Third-party, fire and theft

In addition to the cover offered by third-party van insurance, third-party, fire and theft insurance offers additional cover for your van against fire damage or theft.

Fully comprehensive

This is the highest level of van insurance. A fully comprehensive van insurance policy covers everything the other two do and also the cost of repairing or replacing your van, even if the accident was your fault.

Optional extra cover

You can also add some optional extras to get even more cover for your van. These include tools insurance and goods in transit insurance to protect the contents of your van, and breakdown cover so that you can call for help if your van breaks down when you’re out on a job.

Van insurance groups

Every van used for any purpose is placed into a van insurance group. Van insurance groups are an important factor in determining the overall cost of your premiums. There are twenty van insurance groups in total, the cheapest being level one.

The group that your van is assigned to is based on a number of factors such as its total value, the cost of spare parts, the size, the weight, and the performance of the van.

Although van insurance groups play a big part in determining the cost of your premiums, there are still other factors involved. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you buy a van in a lower insurance group you will automatically pay less for your premiums, though it will probably help.

Other factors that affect the cost of your van insurance premiums include where you park your van, your average mileage, whether the van is modified or not, how much of an excess you decide to pay, and whether or not you have a no-claims bonus.

Types of van insurance

Here, we will take a look at the main types of van insurance and who they are for.

Business van insurance

If you use your van for your business, you will need to make sure that you are covered by business van insurance, also known as commercial van insurance.

Business van insurance is a legal requirement for any van that is used for commercial purposes. Commercial purposes include anything relating to work, such as commuting or equipment transportation. Even if you use your van predominantly for personal trips and only occasionally for commercial purposes, you will still need business van insurance.

Within the business van insurance bracket there are different policies for different commercial usages, such as trade or courier van insurance. So you will need to tell your provider exactly what the van will be used for. You can also get optional extra cover for tools and goods in transit.

Fleet van insurance

Fleet van insurance, also known as multi van insurance, is a subset of business van insurance for two or more vehicles that are owned and used by the same business. Many businesses rely on multiple vehicles for their operation. Fleet van insurance is designed for such businesses. Fleet van insurance consolidates multiple commercial van insurance policies under one simple policy that suits the needs of your business.

A fleet van insurance policy will usually accommodate multiple makes and models, but the provider will require the details of every vehicle.

When getting fleet van insurance, you can opt for a “named driver” policy or an “any driver” policy. A “named driver” policy means only drivers that are named on a specific vehicle’s insurance can drive it. If your business only has a few drivers or if every driver has one designated vehicle, then the “named driver” policy is probably the best option.

The “any driver” policy is a more flexible (and more expensive) option that allows you to have any named driver driving any of the vehicles in the fleet. The drivers must still be named under the policy and have their details and driving history assessed by the insurance provider. This is a good option for businesses that have many different drivers driving different vehicles.

Private van insurance

Private van insurance, or personal van insurance, is van insurance for a vehicle solely used for social, domestic or leisure purposes.

Vans are often thought of as commercial vehicles, but many people use them for private purposes, such as moving house, going on holiday, sending family members off to university and so on. A private van insurance policy is specifically for those who use a van for such purposes.

It is important to remember that private van insurance does not cover the van if it is used for any commercial purposes. This can include something as little as carrying work equipment in the van or using the van to drive to and from work.

Temporary van insurance

Temporary van insurance, also known as short-term van insurance, is designed for people who very rarely use their van or who have rented or borrowed a van and the insurance isn’t included in the deal.

You may have a van locked in a garage and not want to pay insurance on it all year round. When you do use your van, you can then take out temporary van insurance to cover you for as little as one day. Temporary van insurance can also be used for commercial vans that are seldom used by the business.

Classic van insurance

Classic van insurance usually covers vans that are over 20 years old. You might want to consider a classic policy if your van is particularly old or rare.

You should inform your provider on how you intend to use the vehicle and whether there have been any modifications. If you intend to use your classic van for commercial purposes, you will need a business policy.

You may also consider an agreed-value policy. This is a policy in which you and your insurance provider calculate the value of your classic van rather than basing the premiums on the market value.

How can you save money on your van insurance?

There are many ways to bring the costs of your van insurance policy down. Here, we will take a look at just some of the things you can do to make sure you have an affordable van insurance policy.

Add security features

Adding security features to your van reduces the possibility of theft and vandalism. These features may include dashcams, extra alarms, or steering locks.

Consider the age of the driver or drivers

Older drivers are usually cheaper to insure than younger ones. Drivers over 25, and especially those over 30, will likely be cheaper to insure than younger ones. If you are a younger driver looking to buy a van, you will be able to save money on your insurance if you wait until you are over 25.

If you are a business person looking to insure multiple drivers under a fleet insurance policy, you might also want to consider implementing a minimum driver age.

Fit parking sensors

A significant number of driving accidents happen whilst parking. Parking sensors greatly reduce the chance of such accidents and therefore reduce the cost of your van insurance premiums.

Reduce your mileage

The less you drive, the less likely you are to have an accident. It is as simple as that. Therefore, if you show your insurance provider that your mileage is relatively low, they will often reduce your premiums. You can measure your mileage and usage by installing a black box in your van.

Raise the voluntary excess

The excess is the amount that you will pay for any insurance claims on your van. For example, if your excess is £500 and £1,000 worth of damage has been caused to your vehicle, you will pay £500 and your provider will also pay £500. The higher the excess, the lower the premium.

Keep the van safe

If you keep your van parked in a safe place, such as a garage or lockup, you greatly reduce the risk of theft or vandalism. This, in turn, will lower the cost of your van insurance.

Improve your risk management strategy

This is a tip for businesses with a fleet policy. Improving your risk management strategy may include regular training sessions for your drivers, annual checks on drivers’ personal licenses, and a quick incident report process.

Shop around

Before settling on a premium for your van, be sure to compare van insurance quotes from different providers. But remember, if you do find cheap van insurance quotes, they may not necessarily be the best option for you. The best van insurance deals are the ones that provide you with the exact cover you need with all the extras you want for a reasonable price.


It is vital that you get the right insurance for your van. Without the right insurance, you and your van will not be covered. But with so many options, it can be easy to miss something or get confused. We hope our guide has helped you understand exactly what you need for your van.

A-Plan is one of the largest van insurance brokers in the UK. Our experts tailor our policies to the unique needs of every customer to make sure both you and your van are covered on the roads.