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Can I drive a van on my car insurance?

Cars are great for driving friends and family around, but if you’ve just moved home or need to transport a lot of equipment, you may need a van.

Even if you’re planning a one-off trip, it’s important you know whether you’re covered. Let’s look at what you need to know about driving a van on your car insurance…

Cars are great for driving friends and family around, but if you’ve just moved home or need to transport a lot of equipment, you may need a van.

Even if you’re planning a one-off trip, it’s important you know whether you’re covered. Let’s look at what you need to know about driving a van on your car insurance…

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
8 DECEMBER 2023
5 min read
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Does my car insurance cover me to drive a van I own?

Your existing car insurance policy may cover you to drive a van, as well as other vehicles, but this isn’t guaranteed and doesn’t always come as standard. Before you do anything, check your car insurance policy wording carefully or speak to your insurance provider.

Whether you own the van, borrow it from a friend or hire it, you’re legally required to be insured to drive it. Even if you’re covered to drive a van on your car insurance, it might not offer the same level of cover as driving your own car.

For example, if you have a fully comprehensive policy, it might cover you to drive a van, but only on a third-party only basis. This means that if you have an accident when driving the van, you’ll only be covered for damage to other vehicles or injuries to other people involved, not you or the van you’re driving.

If you own the van, you might want to consider a separate van insurance policy with tailored cover to better suit your needs.

Can I drive someone else’s van on my car insurance?

It’s unlikely. Even if you have fully comprehensive cover that includes some cover for driving other vehicles, this is likely to be in an emergency only.

It will also probably only be on a third-party basis, so check beforehand. You’ll also need permission from the owner of the van in order to be covered.

To drive someone else’s van, you can be added as a named driver on the owner’s policy or take out temporary cover instead.

Does my car insurance cover me to hire a van?

If you’re planning to hire a van, most van-hire companies include van hire cover as part of their hire package. However, you should always check if this is the case. Have a good look at the terms and conditions to find out what’s covered, if there are any exclusions and what excess is payable if you need to make a claim.

If there are any gaps in the cover or the excess is more than you can afford, you should look for additional cover to protect yourself.

If insurance isn’t included as part of the van hire package, you might want to consider a temporary van insurance policy.

Is van insurance different to car insurance?

While there are many similarities between van and car insurance, they aren’t the same.

When you take out motor insurance, you’ll need a policy suited to the type of vehicle you drive. It also comes down to what you use that vehicle for.

When you take out car insurance, you’ll be able to choose a policy that covers domestic, social and pleasure use. And if you drive to a single place of work each day, you could also add commuting use to your policy.

Vans, on the other hand, are covered for either private or commercial use. If you only drive your van for personal use, you’ll need private van insurance. If you use your van for work, you’ll need business van insurance.

Did you know?

Pickup trucks are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to family SUVs. However, they’re still classed as a van for insurance purposes. This is because a vehicle is generally considered a van if it has one of the following features:

  • A double cab than separates the driver and front passenger seats from the back
  • A flat bed to carry goods
  • No windows on the rear side panels.

What licence do I need to drive a van?

Once you’ve passed your full UK driving test (category B), you’re allowed to drive a petrol or diesel van weighing up to 3.5 tonnes. However, alternatively-fuelled vehicles, like electric vans, can weigh up to 4.25 tonnes under a category B licence.

Anything heavier than these limits is considered a commercial van and you’ll need to apply for a category C licence.

If you’re at all unsure if your licence allows you to drive the van you’re looking to buy, borrow or hire, you should check which of the driving licence categories it falls under.

It’s an offence to drive a vehicle you’re not licenced to drive. Doing so could result in a fine and points on your licence. Your insurance could also be invalidated.

Can I transfer my no-claims discount (NCD) from a car to a van?

You may be able to transfer your no-claims discount (NCD) from a car to a van, but it will vary between providers. You can build your NCD for each year you’ve had your car insurance policy in your name, without making a claim. Your NCD can only be used on one vehicle at a time, but not all van insurance providers will accept NCD earned on a car or bike.

You may need to provide proof of your NCD to your new van insurance provider, stated on your latest car policy documents. Insurance providers usually only accept proof that is less than two years old.

If you’re unsure whether your NCD can transfer, you’ll need to check with the provider before taking out a policy.

Compare van insurance

Looking for van insurance? We can help you get an idea of what’s on offer. We compare some of the market’s leading providers to help you find a great van insurance deal.

Simply give us some details about yourself and your van, and we’ll provide you with a list of quotes. It only takes a few minutes to find a policy that’s right for you.

Frequently asked questions

Does my car insurance cover a commercial van?

If the class of use for your car insurance is social, domestic and pleasure (SDP), then no, you won’t be covered to drive a van for business use.

If you drive a van for anything relating to earning money, you’ll need dedicated business van insurance.

Can I add a van to my car insurance?

It depends on the insurance provider. Some providers offer multi-car insurance, which allows you to combine your car and van insurance under one policy.

You’ll need to check, though, as some multi-car policies will only cover cars, not vans or other vehicles like a motorbike.

Can I swap my car insurance to a van?

It might be possible to transfer your car insurance to a van, as long as you don’t intend to use the van for business use. However, you may need to pay an administration fee for the transfer – usually between £10 and £35.

Vans are usually more expensive to insure than cars, so you should also expect to pay more for your premium.

It might work out cheaper to cancel your policy and take out a new one for your van. Just be aware that there could be a cancellation fee to pay and the new provider might not accept your no-claims bonus.

If you decide to take out a new policy, here are some tips for getting cheaper van insurance.

Can I drive a car on my van insurance?

The same rules apply as driving a van on a car insurance policy. If your van insurance includes a ‘drive other vehicles’ clause, you’ll be covered to drive a car, but only on a third-party basis.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including Yourmoney.com and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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