A guide to self-employed van insurance

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 28 October 2022  | 3 mins read

If you’re self-employed and use a van for work, then you’ll need a business van policy in place.

There are a few different types to choose from to suit particular needs and occupations.

For example, a self-employed plumber, builder or dog-walker will need a different type of business van insurance to a self-employed delivery driver.

Read on to find out which type of self-employed van cover could be best for you.

Key points

  • If you use your van for anything to do with your self-employed work, then you’ll need business van insurance rather than a private ‘social only’ van insurance policy
  • There are three main types of business van insurance: carriage of own goods, carriage of goods for hire or reward and haulage
  • It depends on the type of work you do as to which you should choose - call the provider if you’re unsure which is the right type for you
  • You can pay extra to add things like breakdown assistance or courtesy van hire to the policy to help minimise the impact of an accident or theft on your business

What are the main types of van insurance?

The levels of cover for van insurance are the same as for any other vehicle.

Third party only (TPO)

This is the minimum level of cover required by law. If you’re involved in an accident, the policy will only pay out losses to other people and property involved. It doesn’t insure you for damages to your own van or injury to yourself.

Third party fire and theft (TPFT)

TPFT covers you for damage and injury to third parties, plus if your car is stolen, vandalised or catches fire. If you opt for this level of cover, you’ll have to pay for your own van repairs if you’re in an accident.


Fully-comp cover is the highest level of protection you can buy. It covers you for everything that TPO and TPFT insurance does, but also includes the cost of repairing or replacing your van if you’re in an accident that was your fault. Although it offers better cover, surprisingly it can be the cheapest.

What van insurance do I need for my business?

It’s important you choose the right ‘class of use’ when you’re getting quotes for van insurance, or your policy won’t be valid.

You’ll need to choose between ‘social, leisure and domestic’ purposes or ‘business use’.

If you use your van solely for things like doing the shopping, visiting friends or ferrying the kids to and from school, then private social, leisure and domestic purposes will cover you.

However, if you use your van for anything to do with your work or business - including driving to and from a place of work, and even if you’re only part-time self-employed - you’ll need business van insurance to be properly covered.

What are the main types of business van insurance?

There are three main categories of business van insurance that would be suitable for self-employed people.

Carriage of own goods

This type of insurance covers the use of your van for social, domestic and pleasure use, plus for travel to and from work and for using the van to transport business-related goods such as your own tools. It’s suitable for professionals like plumbers, carpenters, gardeners, decorators, window cleaners and florists.

Carriage of goods for hire or reward

If you use your van to transport other people’s goods for payment, making multiple deliveries to various locations throughout the day, this type of cover could be for you. It’s sometimes called courier insurance and suits people like delivery drivers.


This cover is also for van drivers who make deliveries. But it’s for drivers who deliver to the same client or clients regularly rather than making multiple drops. The insurance company will be able to base their policy price on the type of products you deliver and carry.

Call your insurer if you’re not sure what type of policy best suits your needs.

What else does a self-employed van owner need to consider?

When you rely on your van for your livelihood, you can’t afford to be without it for any length of time.

So it’s a good idea to check if your van insurance policy offers the use of a replacement vehicle should you have an accident, or if your van is damaged or stolen.

This cover means that you won’t lose out on any business while your van is being repaired or if you need to look for a new one.

Some car insurance providers also include breakdown cover or allow you to buy it as an added extra. If not, you can buy it separately.

It could prove invaluable if your van breaks down at home or on the road. In most cases a mechanic can fix it at the roadside and get you up and running again swiftly.

Is there a way of getting cheaper self-employed van insurance?

There are a few things you can do to try to knock down the cost of self-employed van insurance premiums.

As with all types of insurance, you can often get a better deal if you pay annually, rather than monthly.

And opting to pay for a larger excess can also help. Shopping around for the best deal also goes without saying.

These tactics may also help:

Take security seriously

Vans can be a target for thieves. But if you can let your insurer know that you keep your van somewhere secure and that you empty it of expensive tools and equipment overnight, it could reduce premiums. Also, fit an approved alarm, a tracker or immobiliser.

Signwrite your van

Having a company logo on your van can make it less of a target for thieves. As it’s so easily identifiable, it’s much more difficult to sell on. This can deter thieves and help bring insurance premiums down.

Avoid van modifications

Certain performance-related and bodywork modifications - such as an engine upgrade, tinted windows, spoilers and wheel arches - can make insurance more expensive.