January 15, 2019 at 3:35 PM
When you start looking into van insurance, you might be surprised by how expensive policies can be. On average, van owners can expect to pay over £1,700 for an annual comprehensive van insurance policy.
As with car insurance, there are a number of factors that can have an impact on the cost of insurance for van drivers, including:
- The level of cover (third party, third party fire & theft or fully comprehensive)
- The age and history of the driver
- Where the driver lives and works (quotes will be more expensive if there's a high crime rate)
- What the van is used for
- The make and model of the van
- Amount of voluntary excess
In addition, commercial van insurance needs to take other 'risk factors' into account, such as:
Despite the higher insurance price, under the new CIE (Continuous Insurance Enforcement) legislation, it is illegal to own a van that is not protected by a van insurance policy unless it has been officially declared off the road with a statutory off road notice (SORN).
Failure to comply with the new driver legislation will result in a fixed penalty notice of £100 and could see your van being clamped, seized and disposed of.
The best way to try and reduce your van insurance policy is to understand what makes them so expensive. We've made a list of the main factors you need to be aware of.
Usually, vans are business vehicles that are used to transport tools and equipment or complete deliveries as opposed to cars which are predominantly used privately for commuting and leisure activities. Although private van insurance is available, the van has to be solely used for social purposes and cannot be used to commute to a place of work.
As such, most van owners need to have commercial insurance which better covers the needs of their business whether they're a plumber, florist, courier or mobile restaurant. By default, commercial insurance is more expensive because the insurance provider has to factor in more 'risks' and cover a higher number of claim opportunities.
Data from stolen vehicle recovery experts, Tracker, highlights that 89% of light commercial vehicles stolen and recovered in 2018 were taken without the owner's keys. Figures from the same company also tell us that the Ford Transit is the most stolen van in the UK followed by the Mercedes Sprinter.
Thieves tend to target vans because there is a much better chance that they will contain expensive tools, packages that need delivering or custom conversions (e.g. refrigerated load area). To protect against the financial loss of contents being stolen, van insurance policies offer contents insurance which provides an extra level of protection for valuable business assets that are stored in the van.
Depending on the size and nature of your business, several employees might drive your business van and they all need to be sufficiently covered. For maximum flexibility, your van can be insured for any driver, but this option comes at a higher cost.
Alternatively, you could add named drivers to a single policy which could work out cheaper. However, it might get complicated to keep track of, especially when people leave and new staff are employed.
The cost of any vehicle insurance varies depending on the make, model and engine size of the vehicle. The bigger and more powerful it is, the higher level of risk it represents, making it more expensive to insure.
As vans are larger than most cars with bigger engines as standard, they're considered to be a greater risk to insure. In addition, panel vans - which are the most popular type of van in the UK - come with solid sides and backs, reducing visibility, and increasing the likelihood for the vehicle to be involved in an accident.
A key variable in determining the price of an insurance policy is the number of miles the vehicle is going to cover in 12 months. Simply put, the more time spent driving, the higher the likelihood of being involved in an accident.
Vans used for business purposes tend to be on the road at least five days a week travelling between jobs and stocking up on materials or supplies. More importantly, some businesses - couriers, for example - are based around driving for the majority of the day which means they will clock up more miles and be on the road for longer periods.