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Top tips for getting cheaper van insurance

From choosing the right van to adjusting your voluntary excess, we can help put you on the right road to getting a better deal on your van insurance – here’s our guide to how.

From choosing the right van to adjusting your voluntary excess, we can help put you on the right road to getting a better deal on your van insurance – here’s our guide to how.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
22 FEBRUARY 2022
7 min read
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Choose the size of your van wisely

If you’re the owner of a light goods vehicle (LGV) or van, it’s worth knowing that, when it comes to insurance, size definitely matters. There were 4.1 million licensed vans in the UK in 2019, and they come in all shapes and sizes. 

The larger or more powerful your van, the more expensive it will probably be to insure. There’s no point in having a van that could transport a football team if you’re a children’s entertainer with a ventriloquist’s dummy, a rabbit and some magic wands. And it won’t do you any favours from a cost perspective either, from the price of fuel to insurance and everything in between. So, if you’re considering buying a van, or changing yours, then think about whether you can manage with a smaller van.

Check your van insurance group 

Van insurance groups are categories that insurance providers use to decide what premiums to charge on certain models of vans. There are now 50 insurance group categories: 

  • Vans registered before 1 January 2016 are placed in categories 1-20.
  • Vans registered from 1 January 2016 are placed in categories from 21-50, to define the differences in performance and size of modern vehicles more clearly.

Every model of van on the market is assigned to one of these categories by a governing panel including the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Lloyds Market Association (LMA), based on data provided by the motor insurance research centre Thatcham. To determine a van’s insurance group, they look at: 

  • The cost of parts and the overall cost to repair the van.
  • Performance: statistically, the faster your van goes, the more likely you are to make a claim.
  • Engine size: the bigger and more powerful the engine, the riskier your van is to insure.
  • Weight: heavier vans are harder to drive and more expensive to fix.
  • Security: how advanced your van’s security system is and how difficult it will be to break into.

Your van’s insurance group is one of the main factors that influences the price of your insurance. The higher the insurance group your van falls into, the more you’ll end up paying to insure it. So, group 1 is the cheapest and group 20 the most expensive. Or, for modern vans, 21 is the cheapest and 50 is the most expensive. 

If you’re in the market for a van, it makes sense to look for one in a lower insurance group, to save you money on your van insurance. That could be especially true if you’re aged under 25 or you have points on your licence and you’re looking for ways to reduce your premium.

If you want to know what insurance group a particular model of van is, you can use the Thatcham search tool.

Increase your voluntary excess

Increasing your voluntary excess could reduce your premium. But be warned, if you make a claim, you’ll have to pay that excess on top of the compulsory excess, so think carefully about whether or not this makes financial sense for you in the long-term.

Install extra security

Improving your van’s security could save you money on your van insurance. Consider fitting an upgraded security system, including an immobiliser, to make your van more secure from thieves and a better prospect for insurance providers. It might also be worth adding a tracker. If your van does go missing, then at least you stand a good chance of getting it back.

Better still, if you’re able to park your van somewhere safe when it’s not being used, such as on a driveway or in a secured garage, that might also be a step closer to getting a better deal. Your insurance provider will consider things like how safe your overnight parking is and how secure your van is from thieves when they calculate your insurance premium.

Claim your no claims

If you’re not a first-time van insurance-seeker, it’s good to know that you may be rewarded with lower premiums if you’ve never needed to make a claim before. Different insurance providers take different attitudes to a no-claims history. Some providers may be willing to count your experience, while others will start any no-claims discounts from scratch. Just remember, if you also have a car, you can’t use your no-claims discount on two vehicles at once.

Needless to say, you need to continue to be a good driver in order to keep your premiums as low as possible – points for speeding and poor driving can affect your premium.

If you don’t have a no-claims bonus on your car or van insurance, or if this is the first time you’re investing in van insurance, you can build up your no claims on your van after a year, so you may see some rewards when it comes to your insurance renewal time.

Pay annually

If you can afford it, a quick and easy way that could reduce your van insurance is to pay your full insurance premium up-front each year. You may be charged interest if you pay monthly.

Be honest and be accurate

Be upfront about what you’re using your van for. Missing off important information or misleading your insurance provider could cost you if you need to make a claim. You should also try to be as accurate as possible when declaring your mileage. Rounding up might be the easy option, but it could push you up the pricing scale.

Carefully consider your named drivers

You might be a great driver with a clean licence, but what about the other named drivers you want to add to your policy? Drivers with points and young drivers under 25 will push up your premium.

On the other hand, adding another named driver with a decent driving history and a clean driving licence may reduce your premium. Remember that any named drivers you add must actually drive your van – you can’t just include Sue from down the road, for example, to your policy because you know she’s a safe driver.

Compare van insurance quotes

Probably the most straightforward way for you to find the right van insurance is to compare quotes from different insurance providers.

Just remember that cheap van insurance isn’t always the most ideal insurance. Think about what level of cover you need, as well as any additional extras like breakdown cover. Not getting the right level of cover could be potentially more expensive in the long term, if something happens and you need to make a claim but find you’re not covered by your insurance. 

Use our van insurance comparison service to see if you can start saving.

Frequently asked questions

Does my postcode affect how much I pay for my van insurance?

Yes, your postcode is one factor that influences the price you’ll pay for your van insurance. When it comes to calculating risk, insurance providers are all about the stats - and the number, frequency and extent of van insurance claims vary depending on where you live. For example, people in denser populated urban areas tend to make more claims. 

That being said, your postcode is only one factor in deciding the cost of your van insurance and there are plenty of easier ways to get cheaper van insurance than picking up sticks and moving to the countryside.

Are vans more expensive to insure than cars?

It really depends on the car and the van, and your experience and history as a driver. In general, vans may be more expensive to insure than cars because they’re bigger, heavier and harder to drive, and they’re often used for commercial purposes so tend to be out on the road more often.

Can I get a multi-vehicle policy that covers both my van and my car?

Yes, you can find van insurance that covers multiple vans, car insurance that covers multiple cars, and multi-vehicle or family policies that cover several different vehicles - provided the vehicles are registered at the same address. Unfortunately, Compare the Market doesn’t currently offer a comparison service for multi-car or multi-van insurance.

Does how I use my van affect the price of my insurance?

Some of us use our vans for business, others for pleasure. How you use your van is one factor that will impact the cost of your van insurance. When you compare quotes, you’ll need to be honest about how you’ll be using your van and find appropriate cover:

  • For social, domestic and pleasure purposes (things like the morning school run, taking the family on days out and doing the weekly shop).
  • For commercial use – to transport people or goods for work or business.
  • For haulage and courier use – to deliver goods.

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