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Modified van insurance

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What is modified van insurance?

A modified van is a vehicle that’s been changed from its factory specifications. At its most basic, a modification is classed as any change made to the van that alters it from the original manufacturer specification.

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 sort of modification, whether that’s extra seats or a new radio, you’ll need modified van insurance.

If you don’t declare all modifications to your insurer, you might risk having future claims rejected even for incidents not related to the modifications. You also run the risk of your insurance policy being made void, just because you haven’t fully declared all the modifications you have made to your van.

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

Modified van insurance covers any change to the factory condition of your van, from performance upgrades like turbo chargers through to adjustments made to aid a disabled van driver or passenger:

  • Cosmetic changes like 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, for example, a dog grooming, window cleaning or a catering business, you might be using a specialist or modified van. These could be fitted with:

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

Whatever type of business you have, 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.

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 for your van. There are four classes of use which apply to van insurance. You must make sure you pick the correct 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 four classes of use are:

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

Social is when you are using your modified van only for personal trips and not commuting or working.

You might be using your van for leisure activities, like surfing, paddle boarding, golf, shopping or fishing.

Social and commuting is when you use your modified van for both personal use and driving from one permanent place of work. For example, if you’re a teacher – going back and forth from school, college or university.

Own goods business use is when you use your modified van for business purposes. For example, you’re a builder, plumber of carpenter by trade.

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 additional 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'. So if you're a courier, delivery driver or regularly carry other peoples goods from place to place, this is what you'll need.

Do van modifications affect insurance cost?

Yes, van modifications do affect insurance costs. Making modifications to your van is likely to affect your premium, and will often make it more expensive. This is normally because the modification will have increased the value of your van or increased the risk to your insurer.

Therefore, if your modified van is involved in an accident or is stolen, 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 be higher.

However, there’s no set figure for how a modification or modifications might affect the cost of your policy.

How do I get cheaper modified van insurance?

Depending on the modifications you could see your insurance costing more, but you need to ensure you’re fully covered in the case of an accident or theft, or your insurer might not pay out.

Being organised is a simple way to save yourself some money. The cheapest quotes are usually seen around 22 days before your policy start date1. The closer to the policy start date you get, the lower the savings.

More ways to reduce the cost of your modified van insurance:

  • 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 shave pounds off your policy.

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

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

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

Consider black box van insurance which involves having an app on your phone or having 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’re able to supply footage following a claim.

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

1Based on Confused.com data, average top quoted price January - September 2021.

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What our van insurance expert says

If you’ve got a modified van, there’s a good chance your price 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

Daniel McCulloch

Head of van insurance

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