Van insurance Northern Ireland

Whether you use your van for work or leisure, you need the right cover in place to be on the road. Find out how much van insurance costs in Northern Ireland, along with what affects the price and what Brexit means for drivers crossing the Irish border.

Whether you use your van for work or leisure, you need the right cover in place to be on the road. Find out how much van insurance costs in Northern Ireland, along with what affects the price and what Brexit means for drivers crossing the Irish border.

Julie Daniels
Insurance expert
minute read
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Posted 25 MAY 2021

Do I need insurance to drive a van in Northern Ireland? 

Like in the rest of the UK, you’ll be breaking the law if you drive a vehicle in Northern Ireland without insurance. 

The cover you need will depend on what you use your van for, along with the type of van you’re driving. If you only use your van for domestic and leisure activities like taking the dogs to the beach or carrying sports equipment, private van insurance should be enough to cover you. But if you use it for work, you’ll need commercial van insurance

How much is van insurance in Northern Ireland? 

Historically, car and van insurance has been more expensive in Northern Ireland than elsewhere in the UK. But, over the years, this has evened out considerably as the motor insurance market has become more competitive and the number of uninsured drivers has fallen.

When you get a quote for van insurance, the provider will look at things like your age, driving history and type of policy you take out, including additional extras like breakdown cover. The price they come up with is your premium, which you can pay annually or in monthly instalments. If you choose to pay monthly, the cost will usually be more overall.

What else affects the cost of van insurance in Northern Ireland? 

As well as your age and driving history, many other things influence the cost of van insurance in Northern Ireland – and they’re much the same as anywhere else in the UK. 

  • Annual mileage – the less time you spend on the roads, the lower you can expect your premiums to be. (That’s unless you hardly ever drive and are seen as a danger because of your lack of experience). Fewer miles on the clock means less chance of an accident, but make sure you don’t underestimate your mileage as this could invalidate your policy.  
  • Overnight parking – where you leave your van overnight can make a big difference to the cost of your insurance. Street parking is often higher risk than using a private drive or garage. 
  • Named drivers – by adding a more experienced driver to your policy, like a family member or a colleague who has a history of good driving, you may be able to lower your premium. Make sure you’re still the main driver of the van though, or you could be guilty of fronting a type of insurance fraud where a more experienced driver claims to be the main driver of a vehicle, but isn’t. 
  • Excess – this is the amount you agree to pay towards a claim. Paying a higher voluntary excess can usually help to cut the cost of your insurance premium, but make sure you can afford to stump up in the event of making a claim. 
  • Van size – large vans with powerful engines tend to be classed as higher risk because they’re statistically more likely to be involved in an accident. 

  • Telematics – a black box policy involves installing a device in your van, or an app on your phone, that monitors your driving habits. This could be particularly useful if you’re a young driver looking to reduce the cost of your premium. 

For more handy ways to save, see our guide to cutting the cost of van insurance.

What type of cover do I need to drive a van in Northern Ireland? 

When you’re comparing van insurance policies, you’ll need to choose a level of cover that meets your needs. Like car insurance, there are three levels of cover for vans. 

  • Third party: This is the minimum you’ll need to drive legally. It covers the cost of damage you cause to another person, their vehicle or their property because of your driving. But it won’t pay out for repairs to your own vehicle. 
  • Third party, fire and theft: In addition to third party cover, this type of insurance could pay out if your van is damaged or destroyed by fire, or if it’s stolen. 
  • Fully comprehensive: This covers everything in a third party, fire and theft policy, plus any damage that’s done to your van (regardless of whether or not it was your fault). Even though it gives you the most cover, this type of insurance isn’t always the most expensive, so it’s worth comparing all your options.

Will insurance cover what I’m carrying in my van? 

If you carry goods for work in your van, like tools or parcels, you won’t be covered by a standard van insurance policy. You might need one of these business options: 

  • Carriage of own goods – this offers you protection if you carry tools or equipment related to the job you do. Builders, plumbers and gardeners would typically need this type of insurance. 
  • Haulage – this type of policy covers you if you’re paid to carry goods owned by someone else. Delivery drivers and couriers would typically need this. 

Always check your van insurance policy to see if it covers the contents of your van if they’re stolen, or if you have an accident. If it doesn’t, you may need to add goods-in-transit insurance for an extra cost.

What policy add-ons might I need for my van? 

When you buy van insurance, you can also add extra features to personalise your cover, but these will typically increase the cost. Add-ons could include: 

  • Van breakdown cover your van breaks down, you’ll be able to get roadside assistance to get going again or have your van repaired. 
  • Legal cover this could take care of some of your legal expenses if another road user makes a claim against you for an accident that wasn’t your fault. 
  • Courtesy vehicle– you might already have this included in your policy but, if not, you can get an add-on that secures a temporary replacement vehicle while your van is being repaired after an accident. 
  • Tool insurance this covers the cost of replacing your tools if they’re stolen from your van, destroyed in a fire or damaged in an accident. Please note, you can’t compare tool insurance with us.

Can I drive my van to the Republic of Ireland now the UK has left the EU? 

Yes, but you’ll now need to carry a Green Card if you’re travelling across the border into the Republic of Ireland. This is to prove you have at least the minimum third-party cover needed to drive in EU countries.

You can get a Green Card from your insurance provider. It’s recommended that you apply for one up to a month before you intend to travel so there’s enough time to send it to you in the post. 

A Green Card will guarantee your insurance for at least 15 days. If you frequently drive across the border, perhaps for work, get in touch with your provider to see if they can provide one that covers a longer timeframe. Some may provide Green Cards that last for a year.

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Whether you live in Belfast, Armagh, Coleraine or anywhere else in Northern Ireland, we can help you find great-value van insurance if your vehicle weighs less than 3.5 tonnes. Why not start a quote and see if you can save? 

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