Private van insurance – everything you need to know

  • What is private van insurance? Find out here
  • How it’s different to business or commercial van insurance
  • Info on the best ways to get a good deal

While you might typically think that all vans are working vehicles, we know that a large percentage of our audience actually uses a van instead of a regular car. Known as domestic or lifestyle van buyers, if you’re someone who doesn’t use their van for business purposes you will need to get what’s usually called private van insurance.

Parkers’ sister company is an insurance comparison website, and has helped us put together this private van insurance explainer for more details.

What is a private van?

The technical insurance description of a private van is one that is used for ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ purposes only. In other words, if your van is your everyday vehicle and you don’t use it for work, then it qualifies as a private van.

If you use your van for work you cannot use private van insurance

If you do use the van for business purposes, however, it cannot be classed as a private van and you’ll need to get business van insurance instead.

Do I need private van insurance?

Whether it’s a car, van or motorcycle, if you own a vehicle in the UK then you need valid motor insurance to drive it legally. If you don’t have insurance you could face a fine of up to £1,000 or – more drastically – have the vehicle clamped, impounded or destroyed.

The only exception to this ‘continuous insurance enforcement’ rule is a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN), which is when you tell the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority) that you’ve taken the vehicle completely off the road. It then needs to be kept on private land, and you can’t legally drive it again until it is taxed and insured – and has a valid MOT.

If you use your van like a family car you need private van insurance

Private van insurance in particular means you can use your van as a private vehicle, in the same way you would a family car, for example.

What are the different types of private van insurance?

As with car insurance, there are three different types of van insurance:

  • > Comprehensive – the highest level of cover available, comprehensive van insurance insures you for any damage caused to you, your van or any third party and their vehicle, even if you cause it yourself
  • > Third party fire and theft – this won’t help if you have a ‘single-vehicle accident’ (such as accidentally backing your van into a wall) but third party fire and theft van insurance will cover you for any damage caused by you to a third party or their vehicle, as well as providing insurance cover should your van be stolen or damaged by fire
  • > Third party only – the lowest level of cover available, third party van insurance only covers any for damage caused by you to third parties or their vehicles. So it won’t help you if your van is stolen, catches on fire or damaged by yourself

Can I use my van for work if I’ve only got private van insurance?

Private van insurance will only cover you for social, domestic and pleasure use. So if you ever need to use your van for work you will only be properly insured if you have commercial van insurance.

Should I auto-renew my van insurance policy?

Auto-renewing is the process where your current insurer automatically offers you a new policy at the end of each insurance year. It can be very tempting to simply accept this auto-renewal and avoid the hassle of trying to find new insurance.

However, it’s a sorry reality that such loyalty often doesn’t pay these days, as many motorists actually end up paying more by sticking with their existing insurance company. So if you’re keen to save money you are usually better off shopping around.

Private van insurance - don't auto-renew, compare new quotes to get the best deal instead

Fortunately, the process of comparing quotes and finding a good deal is made much easier these days by insurance comparison websites such as, which can help make sure you are getting the best deal for your specific needs.

How can I get cheap private van insurance?

Just like car insurance, there are many things that will effect the cost of your private van insurance premium – including your personal details, where you live, what you use the van for and your driving history (such as previous accidents and any points on your licence).

Private van insurance - classic Ford van

Fortunately, has a guide that it believes will help you find the best price on the best van insurance policy for you.

Also read:

>> Everything you need to know about business van insurance

>> More about and van insurance on Parkers

>> More advice articles on Parkers Vans and Pickups

>> Van tax: everything you need to know

>> Van speed limits: everything you need to know

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