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Van hire cover

Whether you’re moving house, renovating your attic or taking lots of rubbish to the tip, there are times when you might need to hire a van. Before you sign a rental agreement, it’s important to make sure you have the right insurance in place.

Whether you’re moving house, renovating your attic or taking lots of rubbish to the tip, there are times when you might need to hire a van. Before you sign a rental agreement, it’s important to make sure you have the right insurance in place.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
14 JUNE 2021
5 min read
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Do I need insurance to hire a van?

Most van-hire companies include insurance in their standard rates. Your rental agreement will usually have some form of collision damage waiver and liability cover. These are dull insurance terms, but basically you’ll be covered for both damage to the van itself and accidents caused by you that involve someone else.

The main thing to be aware of is that if the van is damaged or stolen, you’ll be expected to pay an amount towards the cost of repairs or a replacement vehicle, even if the incident wasn’t your fault. This is called an excess, and can typically be up to £1,500 for van hire.

This is obviously a lot of money, so most van-hire companies will try to sell you extra cover when you pick up the vehicle to reduce the excess to a more affordable level, or even zero. This is known as van hire excess insurance.


What is van hire excess insurance?

Van hire excess insurance can protect you from most excess charges if your rented van is stolen or damaged. Rather confusingly, it can also be referred to as super collision damage waiver or excess waiver insurance

Van excess insurance is usually charged per day, and you can either get it from the van rental company or an online provider. (Please note: you can’t compare van hire excess cover with us).

If the van is stolen or damaged, you’ll be charged the full excess amount, which you can later claim back if you’re covered under your policy.

It’s entirely up to you whether you take out this type of insurance. But if an accident were to happen, you will have avoided shelling out higher excess charges by paying a small amount of money upfront.

What does van hire excess insurance cover?

Van rental excess insurance generally covers UK drivers aged between 21 and 85, although the age limits can be slightly different to this, depending on the hire firm you use. This also applies to any additional drivers named on the van-hire agreement.

As well as reimbursing you for the excess, your policy will usually cover the cost of extras that tend not to be included in a standard van-hire policy, for example:

  • damage to the tyres, windscreen, underbody and roof
  • lost keys
  • filling the van with the wrong fuel
  • towing fees that the hire company might charge you following an accident

Most van rental insurance policies will cover rentals for at least 14 days – and some will even last as many as 60 consecutive days.

What doesn’t van hire excess insurance cover?

While having van hire excess insurance can save you money if you have an accident, there are several reasons why you might still have to foot the bill for some – if not all – of the excess. You may have to pay if:

  • the excess paid to the rental company is more than the limit you agreed with your excess insurance provider
  • you bought your excess insurance after you collected your rental vehicle
  • you used the vehicle for business. For example, you’re a plumber who hired the van as a replacement while your own van underwent repairs
  • you broke the terms of your van rental agreement, like driving while drunk or leaving the van unlocked

What else do I need to know about van hire insurance?

Van rental insurance can be confusing and difficult to fully understand, so here are some key things to think about before hiring a vehicle:

Be wary of headline prices – some van rental sites will entice you in by advertising cheap rates. But when you look beyond the headline figure, you won’t even get a basic insurance package. Check the details carefully before you agree to the hire, or you could end up having to fork out for extra insurance when you arrive at the van rental desk. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Read customer reviews – van hire insurance is a competitive market, and with so many deals to choose from, it can be difficult sorting the wheat from the chaff. Look at customer testimonials and get recommendations from friends or family before you buy.

Bring a credit card – remember to take your credit card with you when you’re picking up the vehicle as you’ll need to pre-authorise it with the van hire company for the value of the excess. You can then claim it back if you need to, as long as you’re covered. 

Take photos of the van – check the condition of the vehicle you’re renting and take photos of any damage before you sign the rental agreement. This helps to avoid any unnecessary charges for damage that may have already been caused to the vehicle. 

Check your policy details carefully – as with any insurance, read the terms and conditions on your van-hire agreement thoroughly. Always check what’s not included as well as what is. If you’re unsure, ask the van rental company, but do this before you sign the contract. 

Frequently asked questions

How much does van hire excess insurance cost?

Policies typically start from around £10.99 a day, although can sometimes be found slightly cheaper. It’s essential you compare all the different levels of cover available to make sure you’re getting the right one for your needs.

Can I get van hire excess cover for more than one driver?

Yes, you can add multiple drivers to your policy as long as they’re named in the rental agreement. The policy holder must be the main hirer of the rental vehicle or else your excess insurance won’t be valid if you need to make a claim.

Can I get minibus excess insurance?

Yes, if you’re planning a trip with a large group, you can get excess cover for minibuses that are hired in the UK. Generally, if you’re hiring a minibus with nine seats or less, you can take out standard car hire excess insurance.

Will van hire excess insurance cover me in Europe?

Some excess insurance policies only cover rentals in the UK, but others do include cover for time spent abroad. This is usually limited to no more than 14 consecutive days though.

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