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Private van insurance

Private van insurance covers your vehicle for personal use only. This is also known as social, domestic or pleasure in insurance classes of use. It’s suitable for personal use of vans and other light goods vehicles (LGVs), like pick-up trucks. This includes commuting too as long as it's classed as not for commercial or business purposes.

Insuring a van for private use could be for you if you own a van that's used for anything other than business use. But there are a few things to consider about how you use your van, and what's actually covered under private use.

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What does private van insurance cover?


Private usage includes:

  • Holidays
  • Moving house
  • Commuting to a single place of work
  • Sporting or leisure activities that might need a lot of equipment
  • Visiting friends and family
  • Shopping and day to day personal tasks and errands

Private usage isn’t:

  • Anything that you use your van for to earn money
  • Driving people around for a fee
  • Transporting and delivering goods
  • Carrying equipment for your own job

What are the different van insurance classes of use?

There are 4 different van insurance classes of use to choose from:

  • Social only
  • Social and commuting
  • Business use - carriage of own goods
  • Haulage/carriage of goods for hire or reward

Social only and social and commuting are both classed as private van insurance. Anyone using a van for commercial or business purposes should choose between business use and haulage. These classes of use require a commercial and business policy.

Social only means just that – leisure and domestic use. This is for your general activities. For example, shopping and dropping the kids off at school.

Social and commuting means you can also use the van for driving to and from your regular workplace. The important thing here is that it refers to a single, permanent place of work.

Business use (carriage of own goods) covers the tools and equipment you own that are needed to carry out your job.

Haulage (delivering goods for hire or reward) covers you if you're carrying other peoples goods in exchange for money. This might be as a delivery driver or courier delivering many items to lots of places. Or as a haulage driver delivering items in bulk from one place to another - often warehouses or storage depots.

What are the levels of cover?

There are 3 options available to you, depending on the level of cover you want:

Third-party van insurance

This is the minimum legal requirement, and it means you’re covered for any damage or injury you cause to any other road users.With a third-party policy, you can't claim for damage to your own van in the event of an accident where you're at fault.

Third-party, fire and theft van insurance

As well as the protection offered by third-party cover, this also allows you to claim if your van is damaged by fire. You should also be covered if the van is stolen – or damaged while being stolen.

Comprehensive van insurance

This type of personal van policy offers all the cover that third-party, fire and theft does. But it also allows you to claim for damage to your own vehicle, or yourself, in an accident where you're at fault. Comprehensive policies are often considered to be the most expensive option. But they offer much more cover and greater peace of mind.

How much is private insurance cover?

Depending on how you use your van, here are the average policy prices*:

Social only


Social & commuting


Business use - Carriage of own goods




* Based on Confused.com data November 2023 - April 2024

Private van insurance only covers social use and social and commuting, it shouldn't be too different in price to a standard car insurance policy.

On the other hand, commercial van policies as shown in the table as haulage and carriage of own goods are typically more expensive. This is partly because vans used for business are more likely to be on the road and at busier times. Also, these vans can have more expensive equipment stored in them. This makes them more of a target for thieves. Insurance companies therefore see less risk involved in driving a van for private use.

With such price differences, it’s important you are buying the right policy.

How can I get cheap private van insurance?

Here are some ways to save money on your van insurance - you can also see more ways to save in our guide.

  • Don’t auto-renew
  • Pay annually
  • Add a named driver
  • Buy at the right time
  • Add extra security
  • Choose an older van
  • Don't auto-renew your current policy. Staying with the same insurer could often cost you more. Even when your renewal is the same or a little less than last year, you could still save by going elsewhere. Comparing prices is the best way to know you’re getting the best deal out there.
  • Insurance companies always charge interest if you pay monthly, so an easy way to save is to pay in one go if you can. On average, van insurance customers save 16%1 by choosing to pay annually compared to monthly.
  • Adding a named driver with more experience can sometimes bring the price down, especially if you don’t have many years of no-claims bonus. But the registered keeper must be whoever drives the van the most. Being dishonest about this is known as fronting, and can cause you a lot of financial and legal trouble.
  • Customers who get a van insurance quote 23 days before their renewal date see the cheapest insurance costs on average, according to our data1
  • Extra anti-theft devices like a steering lock or immobiliser make your van harder to steal and could also help lower your prices. This is because the insurer sees the risk of theft reduced.
  • The make model and age of your van has one of the biggest effects on what you pay. So if you're looking to buy a van, choosing an older, cheaper or less powerful model can help lower prices.

1Based on Confused.com data November 2023 - April 2024

Optional extras with private van insurance

When you’re comparing private van insurance, you can select all the optional extras you need. These could provide extra protection but usually increase the cost of your insurance.

These add-ons include:

  • Breakdown cover - In the event of a mechanical problem, an engineer turns up to fix your van. Or, if that’s not possible, they should tow it to your home or garage, depending on the level of cover you get. It’s a good idea to compare this optional extra with a standalone breakdown cover policy to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Legal protection cover - This helps cover the cost of any legal action you need to take - for example, against other motorists who’ve caused you or your family personal injury. It also helps cover the cost of defending legal claims made against you.
  • Courtesy van - This is the option to have a courtesy car or replacement van if your yours is being repaired.

Can I use my van for temporary business use?

Yes, but you must tell your insurer. If you plan on doing this only once or twice a year, it could get expensive changing your policy for the whole year.

An alternative option is temporary business van insurance which might work out to be more convenient and cheaper. You can get temporary cover from an hour to 28 days. This can be ideal if you only need a few hours' or days' of business cover for your van, but use it personally for the rest of the year. You can also schedule this cover to start up to 28 days in advance.

Medium to longer term temporary policies can get expensive. So you should always get a quote from your current insurer for business use, then compare it to the cost of short-term cover.

What our van insurance expert says

"If you own a van you need to make sure you get the right policy. Getting the wrong insurance means you don't have the right kind of cover, which means you are driving uninsured.

If you start using your van for commercial purposes even though your policy is for personal use only, you risk having claims turned down, meaning you could have to pay for your own losses as well as other vehicles in an accident. So you must be clear to your insurer what you use your van for, as even occasional or one off work could void your policy, and get you into financial and legal difficulty."

Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
Motor Insurance Expert Confused.com logo

What vans can I drive for private use?

Your driving licence determines what vans you can legally drive. Depending on the size and weight of the vehicle and when you passed your test, you might need an additional licence code.

A full standard UK licence means you can drive:

  • A van, pick-up truck or other LGV weighing up to 3.5 tonnes
  • A van or minibus with up to 9 seats, including the driver's seat

Vans and other LGVs that weigh in above the 3.5 tonne mark are classified as Category C1 (also known as Cat C1) vehicles.

You should be allowed to drive a Cat C1 vehicle using your current licenc, provided you got it before 1997.

If you didn’t pass your test until 1997 or later, you might need a special Cat C1 licence. This should allow you to drive a vehicle weighing between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes.

Read more on our guide on UK van driving licences.

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