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Van insurance for Northern Ireland

Whether you use your van for work or leisure, you need the right cover in place to drive on roads in Northern Ireland.

Find out how much van insurance in NI costs, 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 drive on roads in Northern Ireland.

Find out how much van insurance in NI costs, what affects the price and what Brexit means for drivers crossing the Irish border. 

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance expert
Last Updated
4 JULY 2023
6 min read
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Do I need a van insurance 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 the correct insurance.  

The cover you need will depend on what you use your van for, along with the type of van you’re driving:   

  • Private van insurance should cover you if you only use your van for domestic and leisure activities, such as taking the dogs to the beach or carrying sports equipment.
  • Commercial van insurance will cover you if you intend on using your van for work.  

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 these days, there are more opportunities to find cheap van insurance in NI 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 different factors to decide how much of a risk you are to insure, and so how much to charge you for insurance. They’ll check: 

  • Your age  
  • Your postcode 
  • The type of van you drive 
  • Where you park your van at night
  • What you use your van for
  • Your driving history
  • The type of policy you take out
  • If you want to include 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 when I compare van insurance in Northern Ireland?

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

  • Annual mileage – fewer miles on the clock tend to mean less chance of an accident and therefore lower premiums. But if you hardly ever drive it could suggest you’re inexperienced. Either way, it’s important to estimate your mileage accurately to avoid invalidating your policy or overpaying.
  • 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 – you may be able to lower your premium by adding a more experienced driver to your policy, such as a family member or a colleague who has a good driving history. Make sure you’re still the main driver of the van though, or you could be guilty of fronting.
  • Excess – this is the amount you agree to pay towards a claim. Paying a higher voluntary excess could reduce your insurance premiums, but make sure you can afford it if you need to make a claim.
  • Van size – large vans with powerful engines tend to be classed as higher risk. 

  • 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 NI 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 done to your van, regardless of whose fault it was. Even though it offers more protection, it isn’t always the most expensive option, so it’s worth comparing different levels of cover.

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 – also known as goods in transit cover, 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 tools or 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 – if your van breaks down, this typically includes roadside assistance to help get you going again or a tow to a local garage for more extensive repairs.
  • Motor legal protection – could cover some of your legal fees and expenses if another road user makes a claim against you for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
  • Courtesy vehicle – if your policy doesn’t include this is as standard, this add-on means you’ll get a temporary replacement vehicle while your van is being repaired after an accident. 
  • Tool insurance – 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, your NI van insurance should include the minimum third-party cover you’ll need to drive your van in EU countries, including Ireland. You’ll no longer need a green card to drive across the border into Ireland.

However, when it comes to van insurance cover abroad, it’s important to read the terms and conditions carefully and watch out for any exclusions. In particular, look out for:

  • The level of cover – you may only have basic third-party cover when driving in the EU, even if you have a comprehensive van insurance policy. 
  • The period of cover – there might be a limit on the number of days you’ll be covered to drive in the EU. This could be expressed either as a total yearly allowance or a continuous limit, for example, no more than 14 days in a row.

If you have a UK-issued photocard driving licence, you can use it to drive over the Irish border. Otherwise, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP).

When driving in the EU, including Ireland, remember that as well as valid NI van insurance and your UK driving licence, you’ll need to take your vehicle’s V5C registration certificate (log book). You’ll also need to display a UK car sticker unless your number plate shows the Union Jack flag. 

Bear in mind that if you’re planning to use your van to move goods from Northern Ireland into Ireland, or vice versa, you’ll need to check and comply with the UK government’s current regulations. Keep an eye out for any updates issued as a result of the Windsor framework agreed in late February 2023.  

Compare van insurance for NI

Whether you live in Belfast, Armagh, Coleraine or anywhere else in Northern Ireland, we can help you find van insurance if your vehicle weighs less than 3.5 tonnes.

When it comes to comparing policies, cheap van insurance for NI isn’t necessarily your best bet. You need van cover that gives you peace of mind at an affordable price. And that’s where we come in. Why not start a quote and see if you can save?  


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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

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