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How to make a van insurance claim

If you’ve been in an accident or had your van stolen or broken into, you may be unsure what the next steps are. Our guide will take you through what you need to do.

If you’ve been in an accident or had your van stolen or broken into, you may be unsure what the next steps are. Our guide will take you through what you need to do.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
28 FEBRUARY 2022
4 min read
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How do I make a claim?

If you need to make a claim on your van insurance, you’ll need to contact your provider and let them know what’s happened as soon as you can. Many providers will have dedicated claims lines. Others may have an online claims portal you can use instead. You’ll need to provide your policy number and explain in detail why you need to make a claim.

You’ll need to make your claim within a certain time frame after the accident, theft or incident of vandalism has occurred. The time frame will be stated in your van insurance policy. Some providers may give you two weeks to notify them, others as little as two days. So it’s important to check your policy as soon as possible.

When you first make a claim, your insurance provider will normally give you a unique claim number to reference your case. They will be able to check your policy details and talk you through the next steps. 

You’ll need to complete a claim form outlining what happened and attach any evidence that will support your statement, such as photos of the damage or statements from witnesses. 

If you’ve been in an accident, your provider will need the name, address and vehicle registration number of anyone involved. It can also speed up the claims process if you’re able to exchange insurance details and policy numbers. 

If your van has been stolen, vandalised or you’ve had your tools taken, you’ll need to give your insurance provider a crime reference number from the police.

When do I need to make a claim on my insurance?

If you’ve been involved in an accident or had your van broken into or vandalised, you might want to make a claim. But it’s not compulsory. 

Whether you make a claim or not, you’ll still need to make your provider aware of what’s happened, even if it wasn’t your fault. If you don’t let them know, it could invalidate your policy. Make sure you notify your insurance provider within the time stated on your policy. 

If you were involved in an accident and you decide to make a claim, your provider can try to recover costs from the other person’s provider. You should never try to negotiate a settlement on your own – always put the matter in the hands of your provider. 

If you’ve been in an accident, don’t apologise or admit fault, as it could be used against you and invalidate your claim. 

If the repairs are likely to cost less than your compulsory and voluntary excess, you may decide to cover the costs yourself. However, if you don’t want to make a claim, you’ll need to make this clear to your insurance provider and back it up in a letter or email, stating that you’re notifying them for information purposes only.

How long does it take to settle a claim?

Under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules, if liability has been admitted and there’s enough evidence to support the claim, a provider must give a reasonable offer of settlement within three months. If more evidence needs to be submitted or there’s a delay in finding out who’s at fault, it may take longer. In this case, you’re entitled to a response from the insurance provider assessing your claim within three months, explaining what is causing the delay.

Will making a claim affect my no claims discount (NCD)?

If you make a claim on your insurance, your no claims discount will likely be affected. And if you haven’t protected it, you may lose some or all of it.

If no one was to blame for the accident, insurance providers may split the cost of the claims and both drivers’ NCD could be affected. How much of your NCD you’ll lose depends on the terms of your policy and how many years of bonus you’ve built up. You can check your policy documents to find out how making a claim will affect your NCD. 

Unfortunately, if your car is stolen or vandalised and the police are unable to catch the culprit, your insurance provider will not be able to recover their costs. That means your NCD could be affected, even through no fault of your own.

Compare van insurance 

If you’d like to take out a van insurance policy, we can help you get an idea of what’s on offer. Simply give us some details about yourself and your van, and we’ll provide you with a list of quotes to help you find a great van insurance deal.

Frequently asked questions

What can I claim for on my van insurance?

It depends on your policy and the level of cover you choose: 

  • If you have third party insurance, you can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance provider in the case of an accident. Make sure you let your own insurance provider know that you have done so. If the other driver’s insurance provider agrees they were at fault, they will pay for the repairs to your van
  • If you have third party, fire and theft insurance, you should also be able to claim from your insurance provider if your van is stolen or for any damage caused by fire
  • If you have fully comprehensive cover, you can make a claim to your insurance provider in the case of an accident and they will try to recover the costs from the other driver’s insurance provider. Your insurance should also cover you for theft and vandalism, within the terms of your chosen policy.  

If you’re not sure what your policy covers, give your insurance provider a call and they will be able to clear it up for you.

Can I claim for tools stolen from my van?

You can often add cover for your tools and other equipment to your van insurance policy. If it’s included in your policy, you should be able to make a claim for any tools that are stolen from inside the van. Bear in mind that you may need to purchase extra cover to keep your tools in the van overnight, and you’ll have to comply with certain security measures, like keeping all the doors and windows locked.

What happens if I don’t make a claim in the stated time frame?

If you don’t make a claim within the time frame stated on your van insurance policy, your insurance provider may declare that you failed to follow the claims process correctly and they will have grounds to refuse to pay out on the claim.

What happens if my claim is rejected? Can I dispute a decision?

Your insurance provider is legally obligated to tell you why they rejected your claim. They may decide to reject your claim if: 

  • The incident is not covered by the terms or dates of your policy, or an exclusion applies
  • You gave false or misleading information that invalidated the policy
  • You didn’t tell your insurance provider about a change in your circumstances
  • You violated a condition of your policy
  • You missed premium payments
  • You made a false or exaggerated claim 

If after checking your policy details carefully you think their decision is unfair, you can try to negotiate with them directly. If that fails, you can go through your insurance provider’s complaints process. If you’re still unhappy with your provider’s decision, or they fail to respond to your complaint, you can raise a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman.

How do I get a crime reference number?

If your vehicle has been stolen or vandalised, you’ll need to report it to the police before you can make a claim. They will give you a crime reference number that you can quote when you call up your insurance provider to start the claims process. 

The police will also report the theft to the DVLA. If your insurance provider agrees to pay out on the claim for your stolen van, you’ll need to inform the DVLA that your van has been sold to the insurance company.

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