Van insurance: A small business guide

painter in a van

Many small businesses rely upon a van to carry out their business operations. Some will need a van to function and others will use one as and when required. Either way, having the right insurance is a legal obligation.

Analysis by the RAC Foundation of research conducted by the Office for National Statistics showed:

“that in 2011 alone an estimated 73,000 people were seriously or slightly hurt in accidents while travelling on company business (excluding commuting)

This is 36% of the total number of 202,000 people recorded injured (but not killed) in all road accidents for that year.”

Many small businesses rely upon a van to carry out their business operations. Some will need a van to function and others will use one as and when required. Just like your private motor insurance, it’s a legal requirement to carry an appropriate level of commercial vehicle insurance.

There are three types of vehicle insurance that you will likely be familiar with if you already have private vehicle insurance:

  • Third Party Only – Minimum level of cover. This covers costs of third party vehicles you may cause damage to in an accident. Does not cover your vehicle for damages.
  • Third Party Fire and Theft – covers repair costs of third party vehicles you may cause damage to in an accident and costs associated with either fire damage or theft of your vehicle.
  • Comprehensive Cover – covers costs associated with both third parties and your own vehicle. This level of cover will usually include costs for liability, replacement vehicle, windscreen cover and more.

Depending on your business you may require further levels of cover. We take a look below at some potential options below:

Goods in Transit

From tools to stock, there’s a good chance you may be driving around with valuable assets in the back of your van. Whether you carry tools, stock or expensive materials it could be vital to protect what you carry from damage or theft with Goods in Transit cover.

Breakdown Cover & Replacement Vehicle

If your van is your businesses lifeline you don’t want to be caught short. Breakdown recovery costs can be very expensive and if your van is vital to your business the cost of not having wheels for a week will be evident on your bottom line. Some insurers and brokers can provide this cover as part of a bundle or as an added extra to your insurance policy.

Additional Drivers

If you require additional drivers to be added to your policy it is worth checking the small print here, as you may need to pay per additional driver and provide details and driving license copies for each employee.

Business Outside the UK

If you need to leave the UK as part of your business you will have to make sure you and your employees are covered to do so. Some policies require notification so it is always worth checking before you leave the country.

Fleet Cover

Although you can take out a policy for as many individual vans as you wish it may be better value to draw a fleet policy (which covers 3 or more vans). For more information please see the Fleet Insurance page.

Keeping Your Insurance Costs Low:

Here are our 9 handy top tips which may help to keep your van insurance costs low:

  1. Tell the truth – Not being honest and truthful on an insurance application is more likely to be traced with today’s technology and fraud databases, so it’s a risk not worth taking.

2. Find out more about multi-buy discounts – If your business owns two or more vehicles then insuring them under one policy usually brings the price down. The more vehicles you add, the more discounts you get.

3. Keep your vehicles parked safely – For example if you have a lockable garage to park your vehicle in, it may be safer and less likely to be damaged when left unattended. Some insurers offer discounts if the vehicle is garaged.

4. Consider shopping around – Comparison sites are cheap but may not always offer the best value. While it may appear that you are getting the cheapest insurance possible on a comparison site, there are a few things worth considering. The first is that not all insurers are on comparison sites, so you may have to check yourself to see if there are cheaper policies available. Also brokers have to pay comparison websites to use their facilities for online sales. These costs could mean you end up paying more rather than going to a broker or insurer directly.

5. Deliberate a dash cam – Many insurers will give you a discount if you use one., for example, will give you 15% off the cost of your policy if you have a dash cam. On some of its policies, you can even get one for free.

6. Go for value, not the cheapest – As with anything, you get what you pay for. Choosing the cheapest policy means you may receive cheap cover.
Always look at what your insurance covers as, often for the sake of a few-more pounds a year, you could get a more-comprehensive policy.

7. It’s important to be credit worthy – Your credit score is now a major factor on the cost of your policy. If you have bad credit, the price of your policy may increase.

8. Stay safe – If you are a safe road user and find yourself with no claims, you’ll receive bigger bonuses from insurers and lower prices on your policies. It really does pay to be a smart and careful driver.

9. Choose a specialist insurance provider – Specialist brokers like are able to negotiate better rates for its customers compared to general brokers. It has a deeper knowledge of the specific industry it covers and is therefore able to ask you the expert questions that could lower your company’s insurance rates.

Getting the Best Deal

We appreciate that tracking down van insurance quotations for your business can be time consuming; however carrying adequate commercial van insurance provides small businesses with the peace of mind they need to perform, by ensuring that their vans and drivers are fully covered. Taking a little time to source makes certain that, in the event of an accident, the interruption to your business operations is limited. search a panel of the UK’s top insurers to find you competitive quotes. More more information or to get a quotation please visit our Van Insurance page