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Modified van insurance

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What is modified van insurance?

Modified vans are vans that have been changed from their factory specifications. At its most basic, a van is considered modified if it has been changed in any way since it was first supplied by the van manufacturer.

For example this would include changes to the body work, suspension or brakes, cosmetic changes and changes to the engine management system or exhaust system. If you are unsure whether changes to the van are classed as a modification, please check with your chosen provider before purchasing.

Modified van insurance covers you for all the same things as a regular van policy, but the cover should include any modifications you’ve made to your vehicle.

If your van has had any modification that has been added since it was manufactured or supplied new by the manufacture's dealership, you’ll need modified van insurance.

If you don’t declare all modifications to your insurer, they could cancel your insurance and reject your future claims.

If the van modifications you have made include fitting a bed, kitchen, toilet or other living accessories, you’ll need campervan insurance.

Insurance for modified vans covers any change to the factory condition of the van, including:

  • Cosmetic changes such as spoilers and body kits
  • Adding or removing seats
  • Installed racking and storage
  • Alloy wheels
  • Modifications due to disability
  • Adding or removing windows
  • Audio or entertainment upgrades
  • Different power supplies
  • Brake, suspension and engine modifications
  • Paintwork, decals or wraps

What insurance do I need for a modified work van?

If you run a business like dog grooming, window cleaning or catering, you might be using specialist or modified vans. These could be fitted with:

  • Catering equipment
  • Jet wash equipment
  • Hydraulic lifting equipment
  • Refrigeration
  • Tippers
  • Permanent dog-grooming equipment

If this applies to you, you might need modified van insurance to make sure you’re covered for everything.

There are many specialist van insurers who should be able to help you.

The first step is to tell the insurer all the modifications that have been made to your van and what modifications you’re planning to make in the future.

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What type of insurance do I need for my modified van?

How you use your van is essential to making sure you get the right type of cover. In the UK, there are 4 classes of use that apply to van insurance. You must pick the right one so the insurer can assess the risk properly.

If you pick the wrong class of use, or use your van for something you haven't told the insurer about, you might not be covered and your insurance could be voided.

The 4 classes of use are:

  • Social
  • Social and commuting
  • Own goods business use
  • Haulage

Social is when you use your modified van only for personal trips like leisure activities and not for commuting or working.

Social and commuting is when you use your modified van for both personal use and driving to and from one permanent place of work – for example, if you’re a teacher driving to and from school.

Own goods business use is when you use your modified van for business purposes – for example, if you’re a builder, plumber or carpenter. When the contents of your van belong to you or your business, this is the cover you'll need.

If you need to transport a lot of tools or stock, you might also need tool insurance. This is an extra level of cover that specifically insures the tools in your van if they’re damaged or stolen.

Haulage insurance covers you if you're using your modified van to deliver third-party goods. This is sometimes known as ‘hire and reward’. You'll need this if you're a courier or delivery driver or you regularly transport other people’s goods.

Do van modifications affect insurance cost?

Yes, van modifications will likely increase the cost of your insurance as changes increase the value of modified vans or increase the risk to insurers.

If your modified van is stolen or involved in an accident, the insurer might have to pay out more to repair or replace it.

For example, you may have added some specialist racking for mountain bikes. This suggests there are bikes stored in the van regularly, which poses a greater risk for the insurer. So the policy is likely to cost more.

There’s no set figure for how modifications might affect the cost of your policy. But you need to ensure you’re fully covered in the case of an accident or theft, or your insurer might not pay out.

How do I get cheaper modified van insurance?

Being organised is a simple way to save some money. You can usually find the cheapest quotes with UK insurers around 3 weeks before your policy start date1. The closer to the policy start date you get, the lower the savings.

You could reduce the cost of your modified van insurance if you:

  • Compare prices and don’t auto renew
  • Build up a no-claims bonus
  • Tell us if you’re a trade federation member
  • Increase your voluntary excess
  • Make your van more secure
  • Consider black box van insurance
  • Get a dashcam for your van

Compare prices and don’t auto-renew. Staying with an insurer isn’t always the cheapest option, even if you haven’t had an accident or your details are the same. Compare prices before your policy is up for renewal to get the best deal.

Build up a no-claims bonus to save money on your policy.

Tell us if you’re a trade federation member as some insurers offer a discount for modified vans.

Increase your voluntary excess if you’re able to pay a little more towards any claim as you could get cheaper prices.

Make your van more secure by adding things such as extra anti-theft devices.

Consider black box van insurance which involves having an app on your phone or a small telematics device fitted to your van to track your driving habits.

Get a dashcam for your van as some insurers offer discounts if you can supply footage after a claim.

For more ways to save, read about how to cut the cost of your van insurance.

1Based on Confused.com data, average quoted price June-November 2022.

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What our van insurance expert says

If you’ve got a modified van, there’s a good chance your premium will be higher. Because the modifications are specific to your van, it’s worth speaking to the insurer to make sure they fully understand any changes you’ve made.
Head of van insurance signature

Dan McCulloch

Head of van insurance