If you are a motorist you will have taken out an insurance policy at some point as it is a legal requirement for all drivers on UK roads to have a valid insurance policy. The process of searching for the best policy at a competitive price is all too common for drivers. There are however significant differences between your standard car insurance policy and a van policy.
This is especially true for those whose livelihood relies upon a van to run their business. This article will explore van insurance, detailing the specific considerations of commercial van insurance and how to get the best price for your policy.
How van insurance differs from car insurance
Van insurance is classed slightly differently to car insurance. When taking out a car insurance policy, the policyholder is asked what the car will be used for - will it be used for social, domestic and pleasure including commuting and business? Whereas van insurance generally covers the van for business purposes; however, you can insure your van solely for personal use.
If you are using your van for business your policy will fall into one of three categories; Commercial, Tradesman or Courier insurance.
Types of business van insurance
There are three types of business van insurance:
· Carriage of Own Goods – This policy type covers the van when carrying your own goods for business reasons. A typical example is a sole trader’s tools.
· Carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward – This policy type covers van use when carrying other people or goods that are not your own for business purposes, in return for payment.
o It’s important to note here that the specific carriage of passengers will require a specialist type of taxi insurance.
· Courier & Haulage – This policy type is similar to the last, but differs in the fact that it covers the transporting of goods over long distances. Importing or exporting goods is an example.
Will business insurance cover my van’s contents?
It is important to check that your van insurance policy provides you with the right protection for your vehicle, personal property, public liability cover and any goods that you are hauling. Van policies offer the same three levels of coverage as any car insurance policy: third party, third party fire & theft, and comprehensive.
However, the fact that the use of a van typically suggests the transportation of goods or tools, means a standard policy will not protect them in the event of an accident or theft. Usually, your standard policy will protect the driver against any damage to the van itself, rather than the goods. It is essential that you check your policy to see if your van’s contents are covered.
If insuring goods is an important consideration for you, then you can add goods-in-transit insurance as an extra to your policy. By adding this extra cover you are informing your insurer what goods you will be transporting and therefore ensuring they are protected in the unfortunate event of an accident. In some commercial contexts, the company for which you are using the van may already have insurance for the goods, so it’s worth checking.
Additional insurance cover for your van
Here are a variety of extra business insurance covers you may want to consider to protect your van and your business:
· No Claims Bonus protection
· Breakdown and legal assistance cover
· Courtesy van
If any of these features are important to you or your business, then it may be worth considering adding them to your policy.
There are also more specific additional insurance covers you can purchase with your van insurance, such as:
· Tools in transit - which covers the cost of your tools or equipment should they be stolen or damaged
· Cover if you are using your van abroad
· Windscreen protection
· Misfuelling cover
It’s important that you check with your insurers if your tools are covered if you leave them in the van overnight.
How to save money on your premium
Your van insurance policy is rated by the same generic factors that are considered by all insurers - the vehicle and the driver.
The size of the van’s engine, or the cost if it is a particularly expensive van, could increase you premium. This is due to the fact that the more powerful the van, the higher the risk it is perceived to be and the higher the cost it would be to repair or replace it. If you are keeping tools in the vehicle, especially overnight, having an alarm or immobilizer fitted to the vehicle increases the security.
The more experience you have on the road, especially if you are aged over 25 years, generally speaking the cheaper your premium may be. This is in addition to any No Claims Bonus that you may have built up, and with the addition of any experienced additional drivers you add to the policy. Also, by agreeing to a higher voluntary excess you may see the price of your van insurance premium fall.
There are a number of more specific considerations to take into account, such as:
· How you are using your van, e.g. for commercial purposes
· The type of business you are using the van for - certain businesses are seen as a higher risk than others, and your premium will reflect this
· Where you keep your van overnight - your insurer will take into consideration where you keeping the vehicle overnight and what security measures you have in place
Depending on the size of your business and the number of vehicles there are, you could benefit from taking out a fleet policy. This involves one policy covering several vehicles rather than insuring each vehicle individually. This may be a cost-effective way of insuring your vehicles.
If you have multiple drivers and a single vehicle, there are specialist policies that can cover a number of drivers who are all using one vehicle.
Getting the best price for your premium begins with shopping around, and the best place to start to find the most competitive price for your van insurance premium is the Be Wiser website.