Van insurance groups
Whether your van is for business use or a handy family runaround, prices for van insurance depend on several things - but one of them is which van insurance group it's in.
What are van insurance groups?
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 an insurance group. Generally, the lower the group your van is in, the less your insurance will cost.
- All vans fall into one of 50 groups - lower groups are typically cheaper to insure and higher ones more expensive
- Insurers will use the group of your van to price your policy, along with the van's value and modifications, plus your own personal details and driving history
- You can check insurance groups before you buy a van to see if the models you're interested in are likely to be expensive to insure, but the best way to get an idea of prices is to compare quotes
How do van insurance groups work?
Vans produced before 2016 are placed in groups one to 20, with group one typically paying the least and group 20 the most.
The number of groups has increased since 2016, so vans produced after this year are rated from groups 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.
But 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 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.
Are van insurance groups the same as car insurance groups?
No, while they work in a similar way and are both based on risk, there’s one main difference - whereas there are 50 car insurance groups, for vans made after 2016 there are only 29 groups.
These groups range between 21 and 50. So if you have a van that’s less than seven years old, the lowest group it can now fall into is 21.
Vans older than this will be placed into insurance groups numbered between one to 20.
Unfortunately, this can make things slightly confusing as, unlike cars, the lowest van insurance group could either be one or 21 depending on the age of the vehicle.
How are van insurance groups decided?
The main factors that influence a van’s group include:
The size and weight of a van
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 groups.
Performance and engine size
Powerful, big engines will also move a van into a higher insurance group.
Features such as high-security door locks or alarm/immobilisation systems will help lower the group rating.
Vans fitted with an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system are at less risk of low-speed bumps, helping keep them in a lower insurance group.
Parts and cost of repairs
The price of its spare parts, as well as the cost and time the van takes to repair are important - the less it costs to fix, the lower the insurance group it’s likely to be in.
What insurance group is my van in?
Whether you're veering towards a VW Transporter or fancy a Ford Transit, you can compare models and find out what insurance group a van is in by using the Thatcham Research vehicle search tool.
To do this, you’ll need to enter details including the van’s make and model, the year it was manufactured, its body style and fuel type.
The result will provide a number followed by a letter. The number is your van’s insurance group while the letter tells you the level of security that’s fitted to your van as standard:
- A - Meets the security standard for the group.
- D - Doesn’t meet the security rating, so the insurance group rating has been increased.
- E - Exceeds the security requirement for a van of this type, so the group rating has been lowered.
- P - This stands for provisional and is used when the information for the group rating was incomplete at the time the van was launched.
- U - The security standard is unacceptable so you may find it’s a condition of your insurer that you get the security upgraded.
- G - This rating is used for vehicles that are classed as imports - insurance group ratings are only allocated to vehicles built for the UK market.
When you take out cover for your van, you don’t need to tell the insurer your van’s insurance group as this information is provided automatically.
What else will influence the price of my van insurance?
It's not just the type of van you drive that affects your insurance quote - it's you, as the driver, too. When calculating your premiums, insurers will take into account:
- Your age - Young drivers are viewed as a higher risk to insure, so premiums are likely to cost more if you’re under 25.
- Your address - Insurers take into account factors like the crime rate and the number of claims made in your area when assessing the level of risk.
- Your occupation - Jobs that are seen as being higher risk - for example, working on a building site rather than having a desk job - will typically increase the price you pay.
- Your driving history - Any claims that you’ve made and any no-claims discount (NCD) you’ve built up will be used to help calculate your quote.
- Type of use - Whether it’s for business or private use, how you intend to use your van will impact how much you pay.
- Where the van will be parked - Parking your van in a secure area - for example, on a private driveway or in a locked compound - can help to reduce your premium.
- Any modifications - Some modifications, like security upgrades, can reduce the cost, whereas others like spoilers and vinyl wraps can bump up the price.
- The van’s security - Making your van more secure and theft-proof can help you to get cheaper van insurance.
- Your annual mileage - If you use your van every day, rather than just once or twice a week, you’re likely to be charged more for van insurance.
Should I get a van in one of the lowest insurance groups?
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 always a good idea to choose a van with the smallest engine for your needs to avoid paying more than you have to.
But the insurance group doesn't tell the whole story - compare quotes and check costs for all the vans you're interested in - you might find you're better off paying a little more to insure a van that better fits your needs.
What is the cheapest type of van to insure?
This can depend on lots of different factors. But generally, the smaller the van the less it will cost to insure. The same goes for the engine size.
Smaller vans with a basic level of specification will usually be cheaper to insure than one that has lots of extra features.
And because smaller engines mean lower speeds, there’s less risk to insurers which also helps to reduce the cost.
How else can I keep my van insurance premium down?
Van insurance is typically more expensive than car insurance but there's plenty you can do to keep the costs down, including:
- Improve van security - Adding extra measures like approved alarms and immobilisers can help to deter and prevent thieves from stealing your van.
- Pay annually - Making one annual payment will work out cheaper than paying for your van insurance monthly.
- Limit your mileage - The less miles you travel in a year, the less likely you are to be in an accident, which can help to lower your premiums.
- Choose the right size of van - Think carefully about the size of van you really need. A smaller van will usually cost less to insure.
- Take an advanced driving course - Improving your driving skills, especially if you’re a young driver - can pay off when it comes to insurance premiums.
- Be accurate in how you use it - If you’re only going to be using a van for domestic and social use, cover for this is often cheaper than taking out business van insurance.
- Increase your voluntary excess - Opting to pay a higher excess if you make a claim can reduce the price of your van insurance. Just make sure it’s an amount you can afford.
- Choose named drivers carefully - Adding experienced drivers to your policy can help to reduce your quote, whereas younger named drivers will tend to increase what you pay.
- Compare different policies and quotes - Comprehensive cover is sometimes cheaper or the same price as third party motor insurance, so make sure you get the right level of cover.
Check out more top tips to save money on your van insurance.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, vans usually cost more to insure than cars, sometimes a lot more. This is partly because they’re bigger and more powerful than most regular cars which makes them more expensive to repair or replace if they’re involved in an accident.
But they’re also more likely to store tools, goods and materials. Plus, because vans are often used for work purposes, it can mean their annual mileage will be higher than a standard car.
Insurance for electric vans is typically the same as or more expensive than cover for regular vans. This is because these models usually cost more to buy than their diesel or petrol alternatives. They can also be more expensive to service and repair.
There’s no set group that electric vans will fall into because it will vary by make and model. However, the cost of your premium will largely depend on the size of your van, its value, its engine size, and where you store it.
Insurance groups for vans don’t always stay the same - in fact, they can go up as well as down. This typically happens when makes and models are released with new features and developments.
For example, if newer models are released with improved security systems this can move a van’s insurance group down. Whereas these improvements could mean that older versions of the same van may be rated more unsafe and moved to a higher insurance group.
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