Guide to classic van insurance
- As with any van insurance, shop around for cover, making sure you enter accurate vehicle details
- If your van's above book value, think about an agreed value policy
- There's no standard definition of a classic van - this varies between different insurers
- Cheap premiums can often be found for classic vehicles as owners are considered low risk
- Gocompare.com can offer options for most vans, but particularly unusual vehicles or usage may require a specialist insurance provider
From Del Boy's Reliant Robin replicas to the A-Team's jet black, red-striped GMC Vandura-alikes, classic vans can be some of the most attention-grabbing motors on the road.
Memorable promotional vehicles for businesses and a popular pride and joy for vintage enthusiasts, classic vans have many great uses, so it's essential you get appropriate van insurance for your vintage vehicle.
"Remember that the cheapest price may not give you the cover you need, which is why it's important to have a list of questions to ask and an idea of the things you must have cover for," said Gocompare.com's Matt Oliver.
"Often for classic vehicles insurers, particularly specialist insurers, will tailor policies to your individual requirements."
Definition of a classic van
Many mainstream insurers are able to cover a classic van, but there's no definitive age when it comes to classification and every cover provider will have its own terms.
Some insurers will define a classic van as over 20 years old, others regard vans over 25 as a classic.
For all insurance companies, however, the age is not the most important factor in calculating the premium and level of cover…
How you intend to use the vehicle has much more influence on the type of policy you have.
Business or pleasure?
If your classic van is used for work purposes in any way - even as a static four-wheeled advert that's seldom driven, or to commute to a single place of work - you'll require a policy that covers you for business use.
As your classic van is unlikely to play the typical workhorse role most commercial vehicles do, ensure you've provided the correct mileage details and the destinations the van will be driven to - these will play an influential role in the premium price and the agreed class of use.
Classic vans that are kept for fun and recreation purposes can be insured under the social, domestic and pleasure class of use.
However, you should be aware that not all providers will be able to cover rallies, events and exhibitions as these activities are sometimes regarded as too much of a risk.
In certain cases you may be able to pay for additional cover for the time you're attending the event, but it's important you know whether you're able to do this before committing to any policy.
Agreed value policies for classic vans
If you've invested time and finances restoring and maintaining your van then you may benefit from an agreed value policy. These are offered by specialist providers and are tailored to your unique vehicle.
Replacement parts are not usually regarded as modifications, but if they're more modern parts that improve the performance of the van then they might be classified as such
Rather than covering the market value or book price of your type of van, the policy will be calculated to cover your van to the value agreed between yourself, your insurers and an independent valuer.
Be aware that you may be asked to show evidence of the van's condition and receipts for work done, either at policy inception or in the event of a claim.
While these policies often cost more than a standard policy, you'll enjoy peace of mind knowing that you'll be reimbursed appropriately should unfortunate events arise.
Insuring classic vans through comparison services
Comparison sites such as Gocompare.com's include multiple insurers who are able to provide quotes for classic vans.
If your motor is a standard model you generally won't have any issues with finding and arranging cover.
If, though, it's imported, rare, modified, and/or is put to an unusual use, things might get a little more complicated.
It's worth filling out our easy-to-use forms to see if we can help find you an appropriate product, but if you don't have any luck you may need to think about going direct to a specialist insurer or broker.
Modifications to classic vans
As with all motor insurance policies, any modifications need to be disclosed at policy inception - read more about modified van insurance in our guide.
Security on older vehicles may not be as sophisticated as the systems on more modern vehicles
While most classic van owners work hard to keep their vans as close to the original specification as possible, it's important to understand your insurer's definition of modification.
For example, replacement parts are not usually regarded as modifications, but if they're more modern parts that improve the performance of the van then they might be classified as such.
If in any doubt, contact your insurer and detail any parts you're replacing to ensure they're aware and have cover in place.
Keeping your classic van premiums down
Classic vehicle insurance premiums are often low as owners of such vehicles are regarded as a low risk.
Typically, their vehicles are not used day-to-day and they'll have spent a lot of time and money on them, meaning they're eager to look after the machine.
Even so, it's worth thinking about all the regular ways to save money on van insurance and to think in particular about the following areas:
The fewer the miles, the lower the risk on the road - be accurate and honest with how many miles you drive annually and keep a personal record to make sure you're not over-stating the amount.
My advice is to join [a classic van club] for the camaraderie, social scene, technical advice and spares
Ted Connolly, Classic Van and Pick-up editor
Security on older vehicles may not be as sophisticated as the systems on more modern vehicles, but Thatcham-approved devices and other van security measures will help keep your vehicle safe and may lead to a discount with some insurers.
Classic van club membership
Certain classic van clubs are recognised by particular insurance companies who may provide a discount on proof of membership, recognising that you're likely to be committed to your classic van and that you take great pride in it.
Be aware that the membership fee is likely to outweigh any insurance discount you might enjoy, but there are many other benefits to joining such a club.
"My advice is to join [a classic van club] for the camaraderie, social scene, technical advice and spares," said Classic Van and Pick-up editor Ted Connolly.
By Dave Jenkins