Specialist van insurance

Do you need specialist van insurance? If you're not sure, here’s what you need to know so you can get the right cover.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 17 February 2021  | 5 mins read

What is specialist van insurance?

Specialist van insurance could cover you if a standard policy doesn’t meet your needs.

That might be because your van’s been adapted or modified to the particular needs of your business, or because you use it in a way that doesn’t easily fit with how regular insurers classify these things.

Why would I need specialist van insurance?

You might need specialist van insurance if either: 

  • Your van is somehow unusual
  • You use it in an irregular way 

Young drivers

Standard policies are likely to have minimum age limits for van drivers – so they’ll only cover those aged over 21, for example. 

Insurers feel you’re riskier to cover due to your inexperience, which could mean the same standard policy is more expensive for you than for someone older.

A specialist van policy for younger drivers might be able to offer you a better deal, particularly if you can show that you’ve had experience driving another vehicle, like a car or motorbike, or if you’ve been a named driver on someone else’s van policy.

Previous conviction

Finding cover for a good price can be tricky if you have a criminal conviction, or a string of driving convictions like speeding offences. 

Standard policies will cost more if you have a conviction, particularly if it’s related to a motoring offence. 

But a specialist van insurance provider could help as they’ll look at your specific circumstances.

They may work on the basis that your past conviction doesn’t define your future ability to drive, and so offer a more reasonably priced policy. You might also be able to take driving safety courses to reduce the cost too. 

Unusual work use

Even if you only use your van to commute, you’ll need a commercial van insurance policy.

That could be pretty annoying if you mostly use your van socially and just occasionally drive to work and back, as you might end up paying for a type of cover you hardly ever need.

Different types of commercial van insurance include:

If you need any of those just once in a while, a specialist insurer might be able to tailor your policy to give you a more competitive price.

Short-term cover

There are specialist short-term van insurers that will cover you for just a few hours, days or weeks. The policy usually works in the same way as an annual one, but check to make sure it covers what you need it to before you buy. 

Modified and unusual vans

Mainstream van insurers can usually cover various common van modifications, but specialist cover can be worthwhile if your van’s been significantly changed from manufacturer standard. For example, if it’s:

  • a food van that’s had a hatch cut and cooking equipment added
  • used to transport dangerous materials
  • fitted with a fridge or freezer unit
  • converted into a camper – especially if you did it yourself
  • a special type of van or truck, such as a tow-truck or tipper

Imported vans

Parallel imports from European countries will be covered by many mainstream insurers, but grey import commercial vehicles from the rest of the world – like American or Japanese pick-ups – might be difficult and expensive to find cover for.

An insurer that specialises in foreign vans and trucks might be able to offer more competitively priced cover.

How much does a specialist van insurance cost?

Insurers will need to know a few things about you, your van and the type of policy you want before offering you a quote. 

For example, your age and driving history help determine your level of driving experience and so how much of a risk you pose. The size and power of your van, it’s usage and security features can help insurers work out how safe it is to drive and how likely it is to be stolen. 

It’s a good idea to compare van insurance prices with us first, to at least give you a benchmark to work from. If you don’t get any quotes or they seem quite high, look into a specialist who covers your van’s unusual features or your irregular use.

Does specialist van insurance cost more than regular van insurance?

It can do, because of the unusual cover you need. But you might find that a specialist policy can cover your particular needs for less than standard insurers.

Compare van insurance and to find quotes that meet your specialist requirements

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How can I find cheaper specialist van insurance quotes?

Here are five steps to help you cut the cost of your specialist van insurance:

  1. If you can, pay annually. Paying monthly costs more as you’re charged interest
  2. Make sure your van has good security – like an alarm, immobiliser and/or tracker
  3. Got a driveway or garage? Parking there will usually get you cheaper quotes than parking on the street
  4. Having signage on your van can put thieves off, which could result in lower insurance quotes than if your van has no distinctive features 
  5. Compare specialist policies with standard ones to see which is cheaper

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