It's important to get the right type of insurance for the job when you're leasing a van. We explain how to do it.
There are lots of different types of van insurance, and what you need can vary dramatically depending on how the vehicle will be used. Our guide explains the ins and outs of van insurance, as well as the various forms it can take, so you'll know precisely what you need for your business.
Why do I need van insurance?
Every vehicle that drives on UK roads is legally required to have insurance, and vans are no exception. The minimum level of cover is third party, which covers damage to other people, vehicles, animals or property - but it doesn't cover damage to your own vehicle.
What different types of van insurance are there?
Individual van insurance policies are often similar to car insurance, as you can have third-party, third-party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive (see below). Most van owners use their vehicles for work, so it's important to make sure the policy includes business use unless you intend to drive it purely for personal reasons.
More specialist forms of cover are also available, which you may need if you plan to use your van for a specific purpose, such as to carry tools or to deliver parcels. We explain these in more detail below.
Third party insurance
This is the most basic level of insurance available and the legal minimum. It covers damage to anything other than your van, such as people, vehicles, animals or property.
If you have an accident and your van needs a repair, your insurance company will not cover the cost. If the accident was caused by someone else then you will need to make a claim on their insurance; if you were at fault, then you'll have to pay for the repair yourself. The insurer will not pay out if your van is stolen or damaged in a fire.
Third party, fire and theft insurance
This is the same as third party but with the addition of fire and theft cover. That means the insurance company will pay out if your van is stolen or if it is damaged or written off by a fire.
Fully comprehensive insurance
As the name suggests, this is the most complete form of cover available for a conventional van insurance policy. It includes all of the elements mentioned above and adds cover for damage to your own vehicle and personal injuries - even if the accident was your fault. It often includes windscreen repair and a courtesy vehicle if yours is being repaired, although that can vary depending on the insurance company.
Commercial vehicle insurance
You must have commercial vehicle or business insurance if you are going to use your van for work, because a private policy - the type you'd get for a car that is just used for personal trips - will not cover you for commercial activities. The exact type of insurance you require will vary depending on the type of work you do, and we've explained the different types below. It's worth noting that insurers usually consider commuting to be business use when it comes to vans, so you'll probably need a commercial policy even if you just drive it to and from work.
Carriage of Own Goods insurance
This type of insurance is designed for drivers who transport tools or equipment for work, such as a plumber or a carpenter. It also covers anyone who commutes in a van or drives it for other business purposes, such as travelling to meetings.
It's important to check whether or not the policy will cover the tools or equipment in your van if they're damaged or stolen, as insurers may or may not include such cover as standard, especially if the equipment is particularly valuable - so make sure you know exactly what you're getting.
Courier/hire or reward insurance
Carriage of goods for hire or reward insurance is designed for couriers or delivery drivers who make multiple journeys and deliver packages or products to different locations.
Some policies will include a certain level of cover for the products inside the van - known as goods in transit insurance - but others may not, so again, check with your provider to understand precisely what's what.
This applies to drivers who deliver goods to a single destination, for example, those who use their van for removal services. It's similar to hire and reward (some insurers may even group the two together) but it is distinct in that it generally does not apply to anyone who makes multiple, courier-style stops.
Fleet insurance policies are designed for companies with multiple vehicles. The policy will cover certain members of staff to drive vans for specific business reasons, such as deliveries or to transport equipment or materials to a site.
It's common to find fleet insurance policies - and even some private/individual ones - linked to telematics systems (black-box-style equipment that monitors the vehicles' location and driving style, among other elements) which can help to make the fleet cheaper to run, safer, and lower the cost of premiums.
As with any form of insurance, it's important to be clear with your provider about precisely what you will use your van for to make sure you end up with the right policy. Given all the different types of van insurance, the jargon and the multitude of different uses for an LCV, it's vital that you're crystal clear from the outset, because you don't want to find out that you're not covered later on.