Tips on finding the right van insurance at the right price
As all vans in the UK must be insured to use the roads, a big, competitive van insurance industry has sprung up to provide cover for these ever-present highway workhorses.
But this competition doesn’t necessarily make van insurance particularly cheap.
Therefore, before coughing up for next year’s cover, check out these tips that, with any luck, could help slash the costs of your van insurance.
But before doing so, it’s important to realise that getting the right price isn’t just about getting cheap quotes, it’s also about getting the most suitable insurance for your van.
Therefore, these tips are also aimed at ensuring you remain adequately covered and protected against the most likely eventualities that may affect your van.
1. Increase your voluntary excess
In the event of a claim, voluntary excess is the portion of that claim which you agree to pay.
Upping the excess will lower your van insurance premiums, but remember that the higher the excess, the more you’ll have to pay following a claimable incident.
To learn more about voluntary excess, check out our article The Excess Factor.
2. Make your van more secure
There are several ways to help stop your van from being stolen or broken into, and each one could lower van insurance premiums.
Security measures include fitting an alarm, immobiliser, tracker, teering/gear stick/handbrake lock, or getting the van security etched/marked, and parking your van in a secure location overnight.
For more on vehicle security, take a look at 8 Great Car Security Tips.
3. Prove you’re a good driver – declare any no claims bonus
If you have a proven history of claims-free driving, whether it’s for another company vehicle or for your own car, then tell the insurance company as they may rate you as a lower risk and reduce the premiums.
Some van insurers will “mirror” an existing no-claims bonus (NCB) that’s been built up on your car – i.e. apply your car’s NCB discount to the van – resulting in cheaper premiums.
It’s also worth finding out from the insurer if a letter from your employer confirming your safe driving history will lower premiums.
4. Build up your van’s NCB
If you’re unable to mirror your car’s no claims bonus onto a van, then start building one up from scratch.
It’ll take a year to start reaping the benefits, but an NCB is a sure-fire way to reduce van insurance premiums. So once you’ve bought some cover, do your best to drive carefully and avoid any scrapes.
5. Don’t put points on your licence
Careless driving can result in points on your licence, and points will increase your van insurance premiums.
Such things as speeding and careless driving can get you points, a fine, and even a ban (to learn more, take a look at Motoring Conviction Codes).
Van drivers should also observe the vehicle’s safe towing weight limits, if pulling a trailer or machinery is a part of your job. So to keep premiums as low as possible, always drive carefully and within the law.
6. Pay van insurance premiums annually
Paying for your van insurance premiums for the whole year in advance rather than by monthly instalments is a simple way to pay less for cover.
All van insurance providers prefer to have the money up front, and most will offer a discount in premiums if you agree to do so.
7. Use as small a van as possible
In general, the smaller the van, the lower the van insurance premiums. This applies to both physical size and engine size.
If in carrying out your job you can get away with driving a smaller engine, short wheelbase van rather than a more powerful, long wheelbase model, then your premiums (as well as general running costs) should be lower.
8. Use a van insurance comparison site
Using an online insurance comparison site like Confused.com is a great way to find cheaper van cover.
You can quickly compare a range of insurance deals on one simple page, and you don’t just see the cheapest deals, you also see the deals that best suit your requirements.
9. Advertise your business on the van
Get a sign writer to paint your business name/contact details on the van.
Some van insurance companies have realised that, statistically speaking, easily identifiable vans – i.e. those clearly marked with business names – are less likely to get into a scrape and are less likely to be stolen, which means they’re less of a risk to insure.
Also, vans with “report this driver for bad driving” type signs could benefit from reduced premiums as, again it indicates the driver is more likely to drive carefully.
10.Accurately state your van’s mileage
As insurance companies figure that the more miles you do, the more likely you are to be involved in an incident, try and cover fewer miles in your job (if it’s at all possible) and enter this reduced figure when you next apply for cover.
And remember to give an accurate annual business mileage when asked. Rounding up your mileage to the nearest hundred could push you into a slightly higher premium rate, so it’s best to be precise.
11. State the van’s correct use
Although this list is primarily for drivers who use their vans for work, if your van is for personal use, make sure you tell the insurer.
Personal, recreational use is likely to be cheaper to insure than a van that is used for business reasons.
In any case, it’s always important to give the correct use in order to find the most suitable type of van cover for your needs.
12. Be careful who you add as a named driver
Premiums will increase with each driver you add to the policy, but by adding a driver who is under 25 years old, or somebody with a claims history or points on their licence, the premiums could shoot up.
Experience counts when it comes to cheap van insurance, so if you have to add another driver, try and find one with a clean licence and a claims-free history.
13. State if you’re a member of a trade body
It’s a little known fact that some van insurance companies will offer lower premiums to drivers that belong to recognised trade federations, such as the NICEIC, Gas Safe, Federation of Master Builders, Federation of Master Craftsmen, and the FPDC.
So if you do belong to such a body, make sure you mention it when applying for van cover.
These tips will add to your premiums, but could save you £thousands in the long term
14. Tell the truth
When applying for van insurance, it may be tempting to tell the odd white lie in order to get cheaper premiums.
However, as an insurance policy is a contract based on trust between the customer and insurer, always answer accurately, even if it means higher premiums.
If you don’t, any later claim could be refused. Also, as lying on a policy can constitute insurance fraud, you could be prosecuted, future premiums could rise sharply, and you may even be refused cover altogether.
In short, when applying for van cover, honesty is always the best policy.
15. Breakdown cover
If your van is essential to your business, you should factor in the potential loss in earnings that could occur if the van is off the road.
Some van insurance policies offer breakdown assistance and a replacement vehicle for when the van is being repaired.
Such options will increase van insurance premiums, but the cost could be far less than the loss suffered due to your van being off the road.
16. Protect your no claims bonus
Protecting the no claims bonus means that if you have to make a claim, you won’t lose your NCB – well worth considering if you’ve carefully accrued several years of claims-free driving.
Many van insurance providers will offer the option to protect a no claims bonus, which will increase premiums, but could prove a smart move in the long run.
17.Insure your van’s contents
If it’s not practical for you to empty your van of its valuable contents (expensive tools, machinery etc) each night, then be certain to insure them.
Again, it will increase your premiums, but it will be a lot cheaper than having to replace costly equipment.
Courier drivers should also consider ‘goods in transit’ cover, which insures cargo that’s left in your van whilst you make deliveries.