Confused by van insurance cover levels and policy documentation? Read our guide to help you through...
Since the Government brought in the Road Traffic Act (1930), van insurance has been a legal requirement for all drivers on the road.
You're legally obliged as a driver to be insured against the possibility that you may injure another person or cause damage to another person's property.
For example, if you reverse your van into someone else's vehicle, your van insurance will pay for the repairs to the vehicle.
Anyone who doesn't have van insurance could receive a fine or driving ban if they're caught. The only time when you're not required to have insurance is if the vehicle is registered as off road with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN).
It's your responsibility to answer questions relating to your insurance application truthfully. If information is found to be incorrect then any claims that you make could be invalid and the insurer may not pay out.
Before you make your final decision, always make sure that the policy that you choose has the right level of cover as well as all the features you require.
Insurers consider many different factors when calculating an insurance quote, including:
Claims history: Prior claims that you have made can raise premium prices
Occupation: Your job will have an impact on your premium
Security: Improving the security of your van could have a positive effect on the price of your premium
Use of vehicle: What you use your vehicle for will have an effect on your premium, whether it's carriage of your own goods, carriage of goods for hire and reward, haulage or for social reasons only
Read more in our article on how van insurance quotes are calculated.
Once you've taken out your van insurance policy, your insurance provider will send or make available to you:
There are four main types of policy available with differing levels of cover for van owners, these are:
Telematics is a growing area of van insurance, providers relying on a black box or mobile phone app to calculate your premium based on your driving habits.
This is the minimum level of cover required by law in the UK. It covers:
However, it doesn't cover accidental damage to your own vehicle - that will have to be paid by you.
This covers everything that third party covers, plus:
Comprehensive is the most extensive van insurance cover and includes everything third party fire and theft does, and usually the following:
Some van insurance companies offer cheaper 'comprehensive' policies that will provide you with less protection, known as 'stripped down' policies - for example, windscreen cover may have been removed.
Always check your policy documents to see exactly what you're covered for.
An excess is how much you're required to pay towards any claim that you make. There are two types of excess:
If you're using your vehicle to transport goods, it's important that you have the appropriate cover, such as goods in transit protection.
For more information, read our article on haulage and courier insurance.
As the name suggests, this is a reward for people who don't make a claim on their policy, usually in the form of a discount on their premium.
Note that it's a 'no claim' bonus, not a 'no blame' bonus, so whether an accident is your fault or not when you make a claim, it will affect your no claims bonus, unless your insurer recovers their costs from the other driver's insurance company.
Cancellation rates can be found in your policy booklet. They're usually made up of a percentage of your premium, as well as a cancellation fee
It may be possible to 'mirror' or transfer a no claims bonus from any vehicle you've driven - including, perhaps, a company van - onto a new van policy. It may be worth asking...
In the unfortunate case of having an accident or your van being stolen, it's important to let your insurer know as soon as possible. This applies even if you've had an accident but aren't going to make a claim.
If you have a comprehensive policy and your van needs repairing, your insurer will provide you with approved repairers in your area and arrange for your vehicle to be fixed.
If you need to make any changes to your policy, it's important that you tell your insurer so that they can update their records.
There may be an administration charge, and be aware that your premium may change depending on the change that's been made.
If the insurance company has incorrect details and you make a claim, it may be invalidated.
Cancellation rates can be found in your policy booklet. They're usually made up of a percentage of your premium, as well as a cancellation fee.
Remember that you won't be able to drive your van until you take out a new insurance policy.
The Motor Insurers' Bureau was set up in 1946 to provide a way of compensating the victims of uninsured or untraced motorists.
All motor insurers must be members of the Motor Insurers' Bureau and contribute to its funding.
The Bureau has a Motor Insurance Database which helps identify uninsured drivers. It's run by the Motor Insurers' Information Centre and holds details of all private and fleet motor insurance policyholders.
The police have access to the database so they can carry out on-the-spot checks on motorists to confirm they have current and valid insurance.
When an uninsured or untraced driver injures a third party or damages their property, the third party should receive compensation from the Motor Insurers' Bureau.
If a car is stolen and the car thief damages property or injures someone, the insurance company for the car covers these costs.