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Private van insurance

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Last updated: 28 October 2021

Insuring your vehicle is a legal requirement in the UK. If you only use your van for social or domestic reasons then private van insurance may be for you. But, be aware that van insurance works differently from car insurance! Find out how to insure your van fully for your specific use and what cover you will need. 

What is private van insurance?

Private van insurance is intended to cover you if you use your van for social, domestic or pleasure reasons only. This means you can use your van for things such as driving on family holidays, going to the supermarket, or carrying things you use for your hobbies such as skis or surfboards. 

You cannot use private van insurance for commuting. If you want to use your van to commute you will need to take out a business van insurance policy. 

Do I need private van insurance?

In the UK, it’s a legal requirement to insure your vehicle at all times. This is true whether you use a car, van or a motorbike and even if you only use your vehicle at specific times of year. 

If you know you will only be driving your van for a few months of the year, for example during the summer holidays, you might want to consider declaring your van off road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This will save you money as it means you don’t need to insure it, however you won’t be able to drive it until you tax and insure your van again. 

Can I use private van insurance for commuting?

Private van insurance does not cover you for commuting in your van. Van insurance policies are different from conventional car insurance policies. 

When you insure your car you can get social, domestic, pleasure and commuting policies that will cover you whilst commuting. However, if you drive a van to work then business van insurance is essential for commuting. 

Private van insurance policies also won’t cover you for anything related to business or making money. If you think you might need business van insurance you can compare insurance policies to make sure yours covers everything you need. 

Make sure you insure your van correctly as if you don’t, you will not be covered in the event of an accident.

What does private van insurance cover?

If private van insurance doesn’t cover commuting, what does it cover? 

Private van insurance covers you for leisure and domestic activities. For example, you can use your van on family holidays or the weekly shop. You cannot use your van to drive to work. 

The level of cover you get with private van insurance depends on the type of policy you take out. You can choose from: 

  • Third party only cover: Your insurance will cover the cost of any damage caused to a third party. 
  • Third party fire and theft: Your insurance will cover the cost of damage caused to a third party, as well as damage to your own vehicle caused by fire, or if your vehicle is stolen. 
  • Fully comprehensive cover: You will be covered in any of the above scenarios, as well as costs to your own vehicle whether you are at fault or someone else is. 

Should I add additional cover?

Depending on your insurer you may also want to add cover for other uses, such as:

  • Equipment cover: This will mean any hobby related equipment that is lost, damaged or stolen will be covered by your insurance. 
  • Legal costs: Your insurance will cover any legal costs relating to any incident that wasn’t your fault. 
  • Breakdown cover: This gets you back on the road to continue your journey if your van breaks down.
  • Driving abroad: Your van is insured for driving abroad and can be really useful for family holidays. 

Keep Your Premium Costs Low

Reducing the cost of your private van insurance might be a concern and there are a number of things you can do to reduce the cost of your van insurance:

  • Paying more excess can help reduce premiums as insurers tend to see it as a sign that you’ll only claim when you really need to. Make sure that you can afford the excess should you need to make a claim. 
  • Reducing mileage can lower the chances you’ll need to claim as you spend less time on the road, it may help reduce your premiums. 
  • Buying a smaller van will mean insurers put you into a lower risk category and your insurance premiums will be lower as a result. 
  • A telematics policy, or black box, lets your insurer monitor your driving habits. The better you drive, the lower your premiums!

Comparing van insurance policies is the easiest way to find an affordable policy that covers all of your needs. You can try using our van insurance comparison tool to get quotes from numerous providers all in one place! 


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Harry Pererra

Author: Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in web design and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and broadband. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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