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Pickup truck insurance

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What is a pickup truck?

The pickup truck has surged in popularity in recent years, with pickups sighted with ever-increasing frequency on the highways and byways of the UK.

Although the automotive industry officially refers to them as “4x4 lifestyle vehicles”, most people simply call them pickup trucks. Or pick up trucks. Or pick-up trucks (we’ll stick with pickup from here). 

A pickup truck is a light-duty truck that has an enclosed cabin (with a rigid roof) and an open cargo area with low sides and tailgate.

The law defines a pickup as a “dual purpose vehicle” (in that it’s constructed or adapted for carrying both passengers and goods) and has an unladen weight (known as the “kerb weight”) not exceeding 2040kgs.

Do I need pickup insurance?

If you plan to drive your pick up truck on roads and in public places, you’ll need pick up insurance.

Because of their weight and range of uses, insurers class pick up trucks as vans rather than cars. This means you’ll need van insurance rather than car insurance to legally drive your pick up.

The policy that’s best for you will depend on a number of things, including the weight of the truck, what its usual cargo is and how it’s used day-to-day.

Generally, when classing its use, it’ll fall into one of two categories:

  • Commercial use, if you use it for your business or for haulage
  • Private use, if you use it socially or for commuting to work

If you’re unsure about the level of cover you need you can find out more about van insurance classes of use.

Using your pickup for social and commuting

Everyday driving, such as the school run, shopping, the daily commute and driving on holiday, is usually referred to as “private use”.

However, some insurers view pickup trucks as purely business vehicles and so an insurer might not cover commuting on its private use policies.

For example, some insurers won’t cover the Toyota Hilux on a private use policy, as its size and weight means they view it as a Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) rather than a van. If the Hilux is your pickup of choice, some insurers will only cover you on a commercial policy rather than a private one, so it’s worth confirming this detail before you commit to buy the policy (or the Hilux).

One of the great benefits of a pickup truck is its ability to tow loads behind it, from a trailer or horse box to towing a touring caravan

Using your pickup for work

Pickup trucks are often used on farms and in agricultural businesses for tasks like transporting animal feed and small items of farm machinery. Hitch a trailer to the rear of the pickup and livestock such as sheep can be transported to market.

In urban areas, tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians who don’t necessarily have to lug bulky equipment to a job are choosing to replace Transit vans with pickup trucks.

If you use your pickup truck in connection with your work, you’ll need to take out a commercial insurance policy. When getting a quote, we’ll ask how you use your pickup. You should choose the option that’s most relevant to how you use it.

Rather than have specific policies for pickups, insurers will usually treat your pickup truck in the same way as a van of similar size, offering similar policies, prices and level of cover options.

Commercial van insurance policies for your pickup truck will normally include cover for:

  • Driving to multiple places of work
  • Transporting work-related goods or tools

Depending on the insurer, commercial policies can be extended to cover carrying hazardous goods, specialist tools and materials, or equipment and modifications like winches and snorkels.

If you use your pickup for haulage or courier work, you'll want to look into goods in transit or courier policies, as they may offer better protection for your specific needs.

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What do I need to get a pickup insurance quote

Having the following details to hand will make it easier to get your pickup insurance quote:

  • Personal details such as your occupation 
  • Your truck details such as the registration number and weight 
  • Details of previous driving convictions, claims or incidents - please be honest
  • Modifications to your pickup truck including things like decals, stickers or wraps, body modifications and performance upgrades
  • Estimated annual mileage - if you’re unsure, check your last MOT

You’ll also need to let us know:

  • How you use your pickup, this is very important. If you aren’t accurate about exactly how you use your pickup, you run the risk of voiding your pickup insurance 
  • Details of any additional drivers you want on the policy
  • The type of cover you’re looking for (fully comprehensive to third-party)
  • Start date of your policy
  • Your voluntary excess amount, which is paid on top of compulsory excess
  • How many years’ no-claims bonus (NCB) you have, if any

This may seem like a lot of information to get, but your current insurance documents (as well as the pickup’s V5C logbook issued by the DVLA) should include most of it.

How to get cheap pickup insurance

Bigger, more powerful vehicles are usually more expensive to insure than smaller ones. And, if you’ve made any insurance claims in the last few years, it’s likely the premiums will be higher.

However there are steps you can take which could reduce your pickup premium:

  • Choose a smaller, less powerful pickup truck
  • Add extra security
  • Don’t auto renew
  • Build up a no-claims bonus
  • Pay a higher voluntary excess
  • Consider a black box policy

Choose a smaller, less powerful pickup truck because typically, pickups under 3.5 tonnes (the combined weight of the vehicle AND its load) are cheaper to insure. If your pickup does weigh more than this, it’s classed as a HGV and you’ll need truck insurance.

Add extra security to your pickup truck such as anti-theft devices and immobilisers to discourage potential thieves.

Don’t auto renew because sticking with your current insurer isn’t always the cheapest option. Compare pickup truck insurance quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Build up a no-claims bonus that could shave pounds off your insurance.

Pay a higher voluntary excess if you can, as it could bring your insurance cost down. Be sure to consider any compulsory excess listed on the policy as you will have to pay this and the voluntary excess if you claim.

Consider a black box policy for your pickup that uses a small telematics device installed to your truck, or an app on your phone to monitor your driving. If the device confirms that you’re a safe, responsible driver, your insurer may offer further discounts as it views you as a lower risk. 

Will commercial insurance cover what I’m carrying in my pickup?

There are two options available if you use your pickup to transport business-related goods, such as tools. These are:

Carriage of your own goods is needed when you’re carrying tools of the trade that you own to complete your work. Builders, plumbers, electricians and gardeners are likely to have this type of insurance.

Be aware this usually excludes the carriage of other people’s goods or passengers for hire or reward. So if you’ve borrowed your mate’s router table to use on a job and it’s stolen from your pickup, you won’t be covered.

Haulage cover is needed if you’re paid to carry goods owned by someone else, for example, as a delivery driver or furniture removals driver. This cover may not come automatically with your commercial insurance policy and you may need to buy additional or alternative cover such as goods in transit or courier insurance policies.

Another aspect to bear in mind, whether your insurance needs are private or commercial, is when you add a “replacement hire car” option to the policy. If your pickup is off the road for whatever reason, your replacement car is unlikely to be a pickup truck.

Depending on the policy you choose, your replacement vehicle could be a small hatchback or similar-sized car. So if this aspect of cover is important to you, take steps to ensure any replacement car is suitable for your needs.

How modifying your pickup truck will affect your insurance

In many people’s minds, a pickup truck is pretty much the same as a monster truck, where the pickup’s chassis is held aloft by huge knobbly tyres. This may not appeal to you, but there is a whole sub-section of car mechanics and workshops devoted to modifying a pickup in mind-boggling ways.

If you use your pickup like a car, it’s unlikely you’ll feel the need to install massive tyres or over-engineered shock absorbers.

If you use your pickup for your business, some modifications may be necessary, such as cable hoists and wheel ramps if you’re using your pickup for vehicle recovery.

If your pick-up is modified with special equipment that you use in your work, or in any way at all, even if it’s just decorative like a wrap, you must tell your insurer as it might affect the classification of your policy.

If you’ve added modifications that could be judged as weakening the structural integrity of the pickup it could increase your premium.

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What our van insurance expert says

It might seem obvious but adding extra security measures like alarms and trackers can make your pickup less prone to theft. As well as better security, the upshot of this is insurers then see it less of a risk and might offer you cheaper insurance.
Head of van insurance signature

Daniel McCulloch

Head of van insurance