Some cars look like vans and some vans resemble cars - but you’ll need to know which you’ve got to take out the right type of insurance.
There are three levels three levels of cover for cars and vans - fully comprehensive, third party, fire and theft, and third party only cover.
But vans also need an additional category of cover which tells the insurer whether the van is privately used, commercially used, or both.
You’ll be asked if your drive your van for social use only, for carriage of own goods, for hire and reward, or for haulage.
You can use your vehicle registration number to find out if you have a van or a car.
When you get insurance quotes, the reg tells the insurer whether you’re driving a van or a car, and it’ll calculate your cover accordingly.
If you’re still not sure if it’s a car or a van, you can:
The vehicle category can be found on line J of your V5C log book - the document that registers you as the keeper and owner of the car with DVLA.
It tells you all the essential information about the vehicle, including whether it’s a car or a van.
If you don’t have the V5C log book to look at, you can sometimes tell whether you’re driving a van or car based on the design and specifications of the vehicle.
If your family vehicle is a regular saloon, estate or hatchback then it’s an M1 passenger-carrying car.
Cars have fixed or collapsible sprung seats, windows and carpets.
It’s a van if it has one or more of the following features:
If the manufacturer has categorised a people carrier, minivan of MPV as a family vehicle for social, domestic, pleasure and commuting use, it can be insured as a car.
If you use it for business, you’ll need business car insurance.
Dual-purpose vehicles have the comfort and luxury of a car, but they are classed as a commercial vehicle because they were originally designed to transport cargo.
If you have a larger 4x4 utility vehicles and a double-cab pick-up, it’s likely to be a dual-purpose vehicle.
So long as your 4x4 or SUV was created for social, domestic and pleasure use, it’s classed as a car.
If the manufacturer has classed it as a commercial vehicle, but you use it for family errands, it’s a dual-purpose vehicle and will be insured as a van.
Examples of this would be the Jeep Cherokee Pioneer and the Land Rover Discovery Commercial series.
If your vehicle seats nine-to-16 passengers, the DVLA classes it as a minibus.
You need a specialist minibus insurance policy.
If your vehicle has permanently fitted fixtures such as cupboards, a sink and a bed, then it's neither a car nor a van. It'll be classed as a motor caravan by the DVLA and will need to be insured under a specialist policy.
We can help you compare insurance for motorhomes, including campervan, compact, American RV (recreational vehicle), van conversion, low profile, coach built or over cab and micros.
Be aware that there can be confusion over van-derived MPVs, if its chassis is based on a previous van model.
Different governing bodies have different definitions of cars and vans:
It can be a grey area. And when you insure the vehicle, each insurer will have its own set of guidelines.
Average price paid for policies purchased through GoCompare in January 2022.