Guide to insuring your van in the UK

If you drive a van, you must have insurance by law unless you vehicle is registered with a statutory off-road notice (SORN). This legal responsibility ensures that you are covered in case of an accident including your vehicle that causes another person or their property damage. If you are caught without insurance, you can be fined up to £1,000 and face court prosecution.

Here at Trade Direct Insurance (, we provide van insurance for business, commercial and personal use, as well as individuals, sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and limited liability partnerships. We also provide optional benefits such as 24/7 tool cover, European cover, breakdown cover, and a protected no claims discount. If you’re looking for van insurance tailored to you, get in touch!

Should I insure my vehicle as a car or a van?

It’s important that you get the right level of cover for your vehicle:

  • If your vehicle category is M1, you’ll need car insurance
  • If your vehicle category is N1 or N2, you’ll need van insurance

If you’re unsure whether your vehicle should be insured as a car or a van, check your V5C vehicle log book.

Do I need private or commercial van insurance?

If you use your van for business purposes, you will need commercial van insurance cover. That includes:

  • Sole traders, such as builders
  • Business owners that use vans, such as those providing a courier service

However, if you use your van for both personal and business use, it can sometimes be difficult to know where you stand. Most insurers only provide private van insurance for vehicles that are used solely for social and domestic driving – even if you use your van for travelling to and from work, you might need commercial van insurance so always check with your insurer.

Types of van insurance

There are different types of van insurance available depending on the level of cover you require:

  • Telematics – this is a growing area in the world of vehicle insurance. A black box or app will calculate your insurance premium based on the way you drive.
  • Third party only – this is the minimum level of insurance cover required by law. This covers you against damage to any third party and their property. It won’t cover your own vehicle or property.
  • Third party, fire and theft – this covers you for any damage to third party property, as well as theft of your vehicle and damage caused by theft and fire. This policy will not pay out for accidental damage to your vehicle.
  • Fully comprehensive – a higher level of cover, which protects you, your vehicle, your passengers, and property, as well as any third parties involved in the accident and their property. This level of cover also protects your van against vandalism and theft.

What isn’t covered by my van insurance?

Of course, this will vary from policy to policy, but, as a general rule, most van insurance policies do not cover:

  • Damage resulting from wear and tear
  • Mechanical, electrical, or electronic failure
  • Theft if your keys have been left in the vehicle
  • Theft of belongings or tools if your van has been left unlocked
  • Any goods or stock you’re carrying in the van, unless you’ve added this as a policy extra (see below)

Policy extras

You can usually extend your van insurance policy cover to include a number of additional features, including:

  • Legal Cover – Although there’s no legal requirement to have legal cover as part of your policy, it could save you a lot of money, providing financial protection against any legal fees and losses incurred as the result of an accident that wasn’t your fault.
  • Breakdown Cover – Breakdown cover can be incredibly beneficial, particularly if you use your vehicle for work. If you add commercial breakdown cover into your van insurance policy, you will commonly be given access to a 24 hour breakdown helpline. You can typically choose from several different types of breakdown cover, including fleet breakdown cover, which will cover multiple vehicles, or pay for use cover, which means you only pay if one of your vehicles breaks down.
  • Protected no claims discount – If you have to make a claim on your van insurance, your no claims discount will be protected, saving you money on your premium.
  • Replacement van cover – If your van needs to be recovered, you will be given a van to use until you’re back on the road. This will help prevent loss of work.
  • Foreign use cover – If you use your van abroad, this policy extra will ensure you have the same level of cover anywhere in Europe as you do in the UK.

With commercial van insurance policies, you can also get cover for:

  • Tools – This policy extra will protect your work tools against loss and damage caused by fire, theft, or an accident.
  • Goods in transit – Any items being transported in your van will be covered against loss, damage, or theft. You can also opt to ensure your tools if they are left in your van overnight, however this can incur an additional cost.
  • Multiple drivers – Ensure that different drivers are covered to use the vehicle.
  • Trailers – This will protect any trailer attached to your van against damage, loss, and theft.

Temporary van insurance

A temporary van insurance policy can be used to cover your van as and when you need it, meaning you don’t have to pay for a 12 month policy if you only occasionally use you van. There are temporary van insurance policies available that last anywhere from one day to one month, including those for both personal and commercial use.

This can save you money because you only pay for the cover you need. However, you won’t be able to build up a no-claims discount.

Factors that can affect your insurance premium

  • Where you live

If you live in an area where crime rates are high, this may increase your insurance premium due to the increased risk of theft. Where you store your van is also a factor, whether you leave it on business premises, on your drive, or in a garage.

  • Claim history

If you have made claims in the past, this may increase your premium. If you have no claims for a number of consecutive years, you will build a no claims bonus. This bonus generally means you will be offered a discount.

  • Occupation

Your occupation can affect the amount you pay for your insurance. For example, some jobs require you to be on the road more hours than others, which means you could be at higher risk of an accident.

  • What you use your vehicle for

When insuring your van, you need to choose the right policy for you whether that’s personal, business or commercial cover. This will take into consideration what you keep in your van, as if you store tools overnight, this may increase the risk of burglary.

  • Experience

In general, the longer you have been driving, the lower your insurance premium if you have no convictions or previous claims. Your premium may also be reduced if you have taken an advanced driving course.

How can I reduce the cost of my insurance premium?

It’s not guaranteed, but if you secure your van with anti-theft devices such as alarms and immobilizers, this can reduce your annual premium. Keeping your van on your driveway can also help to bring your premium down. You can also cap your annual mileage if you don’t drive many miles throughout the year.

For example, if you drive under 5,000 miles per annum, you might be able to claim for a limited mileage discount.

Filling in the application

When it comes to applying for your van insurance, the main thing your insurer needs from you is for you to be completely transparent and honest. You need to be truthful in all of the answers you give, if you give mis-information, you may find your policy is invalid and this can cause huge problems if an accident occurs. It’s not worth withholding any information, especially if you want to be covered legally and safely.

Before you submit your application, you should double check all of your information and ensure you are requesting the correct level of cover.

Your insurer may also need:

  • A copy of your driving license
  • Proof of your no claims bonus
  • Proof of your advanced driving course (if applicable)
  • Proof of any security measures at your property

Thanks for reading our van insurance guide. We hope you’ve found our tips and tricks useful. If you have any questions about van insurance, why not explore our website at or give our friendly team a call for a no-obligation quote.