Van insurance groups

When you apply for van insurance, the insurance company looks at your set of wheels to see what group it falls into, before setting the premium. Find out what group your van is in and how it impacts the price you pay for your cover.

A group of different vans lined up together 
 

What are van insurance groups?

Just as they do with car insurance groups, insurance companies place different makes and models of vans into categories or groups. This is based on the level of risk they calculate those vehicles represent. 

When you apply for van insurance, the insurer should check what category your van is in and use that information to help set the price of your insurance.

Like cars, van insurance groups are numbered from 1-50. Although it’s a bit more complicated than the 50 car insurance groups. 

This is because prior to 2016 there were just 20 van insurance groups, numbered from 1 to 20. However, it was decided that this was not enough to differentiate between the variety of vans on the market, so in 2016, 30 groups were created.

  • Vans built before 2016 are numbered 1 to 20 (with one being the cheapest and 20, the most expensive).
  • Vans built after 1 January 2016 are now ranked 21 to 50 (where 21 is the cheapest to insure and 50 the priciest).

The 50 van insurance groups are decided by a panel of experts, including members of the Association of British Insurers, and are regularly reviewed.

While your choice of van  has an impact on your van insurance costs, it’s important to note it isn't the be all and end all. Your age, driving history and where you park it all play a part too.

 

How are van insurance groups decided?

The ABI’s Group Rating system for vans takes into account a variety of factors when deciding what group to put vans in.

These include: 

  • The price of the van when new
  • The cost of spare parts
  • Typical repair times
  • The size and weight of your van 
  • Engine size and the van’s performance
  • Bumper compatibility
  • Van security and safety features

Typically, if your van is on the larger or heavier side it’s likely to be in a higher insurance group and cost more to insure. This is because they’ve got the potential to cause more damage in an accident. The same goes for vans with bigger engines.

Good security and safety features can reduce the risk and put your van into a lower insurance group. This includes high security locks and autonomous emergency braking systems. If spare parts are cheap and easy to get hold of, that can help too.

More than half the money paid out by motor insurers goes towards the cost of repairing vehicles. This is why repair times and the cost of spare parts is a significant driver of costs.

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How can I check which insurance group my van is in?

It’s easy to find out what insurance group your van is in, or the group a van you are considering buying is in. You can use the Thatcham vehicle search tool, giving the details of the make, model and age of the van. 

Importantly, van insurance groups set by the ABI panel are advisory only. Insurers can interpret them differently when pricing and might factor in their own claims experience when calculating your van insurance premium.

 

What are the cheapest vans to insure? 

Many van models fall into an insurance group range - the exact group it falls into depends on its age and exact specification.

For small vans you can often find Citreon Berlingos, Citreon Nemos, Renault Kangoos and Volkswagen Caddys among the lower insurance groups.

For larger vans it might be worth considering a Peugeot Boxer, Renault Trafic, Volkswagen Transporter or a Vauxhall Vivaro.

 

How much will van insurance groups affect what I pay?

Your van insurance group is just one piece of the puzzle. 

The risk posed by your vehicle isn’t just governed by the van itself, but also by the person driving it, where it’s  kept and how it will be used.

Factors insurers consider include:

  • Your age
  • Where you live
  • Where your van will be parked overnight
  • Your driving history, including any motoring convictions
  • Your estimated mileage
  • How you’ll be using your van - whether it’s used for work or leisure for example
  • The contents of your van - will you be driving tools around for example

Aside from your choice of van you might be wondering how else you can get cheaper van insurance.

Just as there is with your car, there are plenty of ways to control costs.

This includes:

  • Shopping around and comparing van insurance quotes every year
  • Sorting your insurance policy as soon as you get your renewal letter
  • Keeping your mileage in check
  • Parking off street
  • Paying a higher voluntary excess