Unless your vehicle is declared SORN you have a legal obligation to insure it with a minimum of third party cover. But with so many options, policies and companies to choose from how do youknow you are getting the best deal? There is so much choice it could be that any cost saving you may gain from heavy research is lost when set against your time spent shopping around.

Here are a few tips and to help guide you through the myriad options; you do not have to operate a large fleet to make some economies.

When you are shopping around for your van insurance it is important that you consider there are different types of van insurances available: Third Party Only, Third Party Fire & Theft, Fully Comprehensive. Additionally, you may have to consider young people, convicted drivers, courier insurance and temporary van insurance.

We spoke to The Insurance Factory, a specialist UK motor broker which arranges cover for almost all van insurance, including for those who are self-employed, work in unusual occupations or/and have a history of claims or convictions.

When it comes to buying van insurance, there is nothing to be gained from skimming over the details, according to Neil Brown, Sales Supervisor at the Insurance Factory. “You wouldn’t go into a shop and buy trousers that don’t fit, but all too often we hear of instances where people get insurance that doesn’t suit their commercial needs. I can’t stress just how important it is to check exactly what your van is covered for; having the right policy is invaluable and there is nothing worse than putting in a claim to find that what you’re claiming for is not included.”

Standard van insurance policies can often cover just the vehicle, but not the contents. This is where Goods in Transit cover comes into play. “If you’re a plumber with tools in the back of your van, it’s vital to have this type of cover.” adds Neil. “Without it, you could face paying a hefty amount out of your own pocket for new equipment.”Insuring around £1,000 worth of tools would cost around £49 a year and Goods in Transit add-ons can cost from as a little as £130 per £10,000 of cover.

Each business has its own unique requirements and this is where talking to a specialist can really help. For instance, couriers and delivery drivers, unlike tradesman, need specific cover for carrying ‘goods for hire and reward’ because the items being transported don’t belong to them. If no such cover is in place and a fully loaded van is stolen, a self-employed driver would have to pay to replace every item, which could be crippling to your business.

Dealing with the public also presents its own set of risks for self-employed van drivers.

Having protection is a must and any business-related accidents, injury or damage caused to a person’s property can be covered through a public liability insurance add-on, costing as little as £8 a month for up to £2 million cover. It can also come in handy if any goods are dropped on the way to or from the vehicle and injure a member of the public or their property, although this is sometimes covered as part of a Goods in Transit plan.

“Clear and accurate information allow us to source the best and most suitable policies for our customers, ensuring they are fully covered if something should happen,” says Neil.
“False details or failure to mention particular things, especially in relation to an occupation or what a van is being used for, can render a policy useless.”
Research proves younger driver drivers are a greater risk. Van insurance for young drivers’ under the age of 25 is going to be higher, but there are companies such as insure365 or The Van Insurer that offer specific products to this sector of the market.

If your business has grown, it might be assumed that you have a number of policies representing all of your vehicles and now maybe the time to investigate bringing them all under one fleet policy. There are numerous advantages doing this, one of the main being that all of your drivers will be covered on any of your vehicles, plus it is only one renewal per year!

Check list of questions for your policy quote:

  • Who many vans?
  • What is the annual mileage?
  • Do you have convicted drivers?
  • Do you have young drivers?
  • Do you need Goods in Transit?
  • Should you merge your Public Liability Insurance?
  • Do you need replacement vehicles when existing ones are off road?
  • Is breakdown cover required?

Whatever you are looking for, it is vital to get a policy to fit your specific purposes.  You may save more money having the right policy than you would simply by shopping around.  Direct Line for Business has developed a number of products and on its website there is an extremely useful resource worth checking out.  Bewiser too has many van specific policies for the owner operator but as you will see, from a quick Google search, there are many many companies looking for your business and when it comes to negotiating the deal that is right for you, that has to put you in the driving seat.

We are hoping to be able to bring a special VanOwner readers offer in the coming months so keep an eye out, we’ll let you know when there is something worth looking at.

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