Business van insurance – everything you need to know

  • What is business van insurance? If you use your van for work, find out more here
  • Also called commercial van insurance, it gives you more cover than private van insurance
  • Find out more about the different types, and how to save money on your premium

If you use your van for work you need business van insurance. Also known as commercial van insurance, this is essential if you use your van to earn a living, as it can protect not only the vehicle but everything inside it – including tools, goods and materials.

In this way it is different to private van insurance, which only protects the vehicle, and is only suitable for people who use their van like a large car.

Insurance comparison experts mustard.co.uk – a sister company of Parkers – has helped us put together this page, explaining everything you need to know about business or commercial van insurance, including the different levels of cover and why you might need them.

What is commercial van insurance?

Commercial or business van insurance covers using your van for work-related purposes – including commuting. It differs from private van insurance because it can, depending on the level of cover, also insure the tools, goods and materials inside the van.

What’s the difference between private and business van insurance?

Private van insurance only covers you for social purposes – such as driving to the shops or visiting friends – whereas business van insurance covers you for business purposes, which includes commuting.

Business van insurance - Mercedes-Benz Sprinter being loaded with goods

The examples that mustard.co.uk gives for instances where you need business or commercial van insurance include if you’re a gardener who drives to and from jobs in a van, or if you’re a children’s entertainer and use a van to transport helium canisters – though there are plenty more as well.

Do you still get different levels of business van insurance?

As with standard car (and van) insurance, business van insurance is available with three levels of cover:

  • > Third-party only
  • > Third-party fire and theft
  • > Fully comprehensive

Third-party only protects other people – so if you hit another vehicle with your van, this will cover the cost of repair to that but not to your own van. This is the lowest level of legally permitted insurance on UK roads. Third-party fire and theft is the same, expect that it will also cover you should your van be stolen or catch on fire.

Fully comprehensive – sometime shortened to fully comp – matches the protection of third-party fire and theft but will also cover you against the cost of damage to you and your vehicle, even if that damage was your fault.

However, beyond this there are different types of business van insurance that suit different kinds of work.

What are the different types of business van insurance? 

Since vans are used for all sorts of different types of work there are different types of commercial van insurance available to best suit the kind of work that you do. These are the three main types:

  • > Carriage of own goods – want van insurance that will cover the cost of your own tools and materials? Then this carriage of own goods business van insurance is what you need. The obvious example here are builders, who will have their own kit on-board and be carrying materials that they have purchased to complete the job. It’s important to note that if you want these items covered you need this type of insurance even if you only use the van to commute.
  • > Carriage of goods for hire or reward – if the goods or materials you’re transporting are not your own then you need this kind of business van insurance instead. Delivery drivers and couriers are the main examples here. However, you need to be sure that the policy covers the contents as well as the van, which may vary depending on what exactly it is. In some case it may be best to look into specific courier insurance or goods-in-transit insurance.
  • > Haulage – this differs from the above because it applies to single-drop shipments, rather than multi-drop, and therefore applies most to drivers who good from a depot or delivery centre with one set of goods to one delivery location, then return back to the delivery centre. Similar to long-haul trucks, in other words. Haulage business van insurance covers the van, the driver and the goods inside.

Should I consider any additional extras for my van insurance?

Beyond the standard levels of cover, many insurance companies will offer you additional extras when you take out a policy, such as courtesy vehicle hire, breakdown recovery and even tool hire.

Business van insurance - VW Caddy being loaded with goods

All of these can help keep your business going should the worst happen and you vehicle is damaged, broken into or stolen. These add-ons are often competitively priced, but as with all kinds of insurance, it’s worth double-checking to make sure you’re getting a good deal, and that the level of additional cover is suitable for you needs.

For instance, it’s worth making sure that the courtesy hire option that temporarily replaces your vehicle should it become unavailable – due to theft or damage repairs – provides the kind of vehicle you actually need to keep getting your job done.

How much is business van insurance?

The cost of business van insurance will depend on your individual circumstances, just like any other form of insurance. This means it will consider things such as your age, driving history, the type of van, the type of policy, and what the van is used for.

The comparison service that mustard.co.uk offers will help you understand how much business insurance will cost you. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that commercial van insurance like this is typically more expensive than private van insurance – after all, the insurance is covering more things with a greater total cost.

How can I make my van insurance cheaper?

While business van policies do tend to be more expensive than personal ones, there are still ways to reduce the price of the premium.

Business van insurance - Citroen Relay being unloaded

Examples that mustard.co.uk gives include improving your van’s security, joining an approved trade association and doing your best to avoid accidents, thereby increasing you No Claims Discount (bit more of a longer-term project that one).

As with any form of insurance, it also pays to shop around. That’s where comparison sites such as mustard.co.uk come in, making it easy for you to compare quotes from different insurance providers.

Can I check if a van has business insurance?

You can check if a vehicle has valid insurance using the Motor Insurance Database (MID). You will need the registration number of the van to complete a search.

Also read:

>> Private van insurance – everything you need to know

>> More about mustard.co.uk and van insurance on Parkers

>> Van and pickup tax explained

>> Van speed limits explained

>> More advice articles on Parkers Vans and Pickups