What do you use your van for?
Your must have your vehicle insured for the commercial purpose it is used for. Insurance-wise, the three most common types of van usage are:
- Carriage of own goods
- Goods in transit
- Courier insurance
1. Carriage of Own Goods
"Carriage of Own Goods" insurance is ideal for tradesmen - electricians, builders, roofers, joiners, landscape gardeners, window cleaners, plumbers, etc - who use their vans to transport their own materials and tools for work.
Tools and goods carried aren’t normally covered. You usually need separate "goods in transit" insurance, although this can be combined in the one policy. Some insurers throw in up to £500 worth of free tool cover as standard with comprehensive policies.
2. Goods in Transit
Haulage/Haulier in transit (Goods in Transit) insurance is for operations transporting a single load over distance with usually one, possibly two, drop-offs.
The goods aren't owned by you - someone else pays you to transport them.
Your insurance certificate will state that you can use the vehicle "for business purposes including the carriage of goods for hire or reward."
Only one or two drop-offs are acceptable for hauliers' cover. For more than that (multi-drop) you'll need courier insurance.
3. Courier Insurance
Courier insurance is similar to haulage/haulier insurance in that you're carrying other people's goods for hire or reward.
You’ll use your van in a smaller geographical area - nearby city or towns - and make several deliveries (packages/parcels) to private houses or local firms.
If you let someone else drive your vehicle without insurance for one of these uses, or it's used for social/domestic purposes not previously agreed with the insurer, then it will not be covered if there's claim.
It's also illegal.
You must have motor vehicle insurance to drive your van on a public road - Third Party, Third Party Fire and Theft, or Fully Comprehensive.
Driving a commercial van without at least 3rd party vehicle insurance is a criminal offence.
If convicted you could face a fine of £5,000, with 6-8 penalty points on your licence or even be disqualified from driving. The police also have the power to seize and in some cases, destroy an uninsured vehicle.
Risk factors taken into consideration when quoting you for van insurance cover are:
- Age and number of drivers and whether or not drivers are named on the policy.
- Engine size and total weight of the loaded van.
- Hazardous goods e.g., bottled gas, flammable solvents.
- Alterations/conversions/modification/additions to vans such as alloy wheels, lifting ramps, winches, hoists, trailers.
- Whether the van is a right-hand drive or imported to the UK.
- Ownership of the goods in transit.