Whether your van is for business use or a handy family run around, prices for van insurance depend on several things - but one of them is which van insurance group it's in.
The Association of British Insurer’s (ABI’s) Group Rating system categorises vans or light commercial vehicles (LCVs) into groups, to provide insurers with their relative risk.
Every make and model of van is assigned to one insurance group. Generally, the lower the group your van is in, the less insurance you’ll have to pay.
Vans produced before 2016 are placed in groups one to 20, with group one typically paying the least and group 20 the most.
After 1 January 2016, changes were made to categorise vans into 30 groups to more clearly define differences in their size and performance. Vans first registered after that date are rated from group 21 to 50.
Vans in group 21 are likely to have cheaper insurance premiums and those in group 50 will be the most expensive to cover.
Don't buy a van solely based on its insurance group – it’s only a guide and just one aspect of what affects the price of insurance. Insurers are definitely influenced by it, but they also base their premiums on their own experiences of claims. So, compare van insurance prices with several providers before making any firm decisions.
The price of spare parts for a particular make and model of van, as well as the cost and time it takes to repair it, are key elements in determining its insurance group.
Other factors which influence a van’s group include:
Large, heavy vehicles are more likely to cause serious damage in an accident, so bigger vans with a higher Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) might find themselves towards the top end of the insurance group.
Performance and engine size
Powerful, big engines will also drive a van into a higher insurance group.
Features such as high security door locks or alarm/immobilisation systems will help towards a lower group rating.
Vans fitted with an Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system are at lower-risk of low-speed bumps, helping keep them in a lower insurance group.
Whether you're veering towards a VW Transporter or fancy a Ford Transit, you can find out what insurance group any van is in using the Thatcham Research vehicle search tool. Simply key in the make and model of your van and it’ll tell you which insurance group it falls into.
It's not just the van you drive that affects your insurance quote; it's you, the driver, too.
As is the case with any motoring policy, insurers will take into account your age, occupation, address and driving history when calculating your quote. They'll also need to know if the van is for business or private use, where it’ll be parked and if it has had any modifications.
If you find a van that ticks all the boxes for your needs and it's in a low insurance group, it's a win-win, especially if you're a young, inexperienced driver or have a past driving conviction. It's a good idea to choose a van with the smallest engine for your needs which will fall into a low insurance group.
But insurance group doesn't tell the whole story - compare quotes and check the cost for all the vans you're interested in - you might find you're better off paying a little more to insure van that better fits your needs.
Van insurance is typically more expensive than car insurance but there's plenty you can do to keep the costs down.
Improving your van’s security, paying annually rather than monthly and limiting your mileage are all tactics that can help reduce premiums. Taking an advanced van-driving course will help you rate as less of a risk, too.
Check out more top tips to save money on your van insurance.