Pickup insurance

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Do I need pickup insurance?

In 2019, there were more than four million licensed vans on UK roads and that number continues to grow. If you own one of them, you’ll need to make sure it’s properly insured in case you have an accident, or your van is damaged or stolen.

Finding the right policy will depend on what you use your pickup truck for. Pickups like the Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi L200 are often used as commercial vehicles, although they’re becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to a family SUV.

When you compare pickup insurance with us, you’ll need to say whether you use it for business or for leisure and everyday domestic use.

What’s considered a pickup truck?

Pickup trucks are defined as having an enclosed front cab with an open cargo area at the back. Double-cab pickups have two rows of seats, so they’re a versatile choice for carrying passengers and cargo. Single cab pickups have one row of seats and room for only two passengers, with an extended truck bed at the back, making them ideal for use as commercial vehicles.

For road tax purposes, pickups are generally classed as vans. For a double-cab pickup to be classed as a van – or Private/Light Goods (PLG), in HRMC speak – it has to have a measure of weight called a ‘payload’ of 1 tonne or more.

Not sure if your vehicle is a van? The easiest and surest way to check is to look at the vehicle category section on the logbook. It’s a van if it’s classed as N1 or N2.

Pickups classed as vans may have lower road tax rates than some cars and unlike car road tax, the rate doesn’t vary according to a vehicle’s CO2 emissions. Pickups can also have tax advantages over cars and SUVs when used as company cars, making them increasingly popular.

What are the different types of pickup truck insurance?

There are two main types of pickup truck insurance available, depending on how you’re going to be using your pickup:

Private pickup truck insurance:
if you’ll be driving your pickup for social, domestic and leisure reasons only – for example, going on holiday, doing the weekly shop or visiting friends – then private van insurance will cover you.

Commercial pickup truck insurance:
if you’ll be using your pickup for work or business reasons, whether you’re a tradesperson transporting your tools and equipment between jobs, a self-employed business owner making deliveries to your customers or a courier hired to make deliveries for another company, you’ll need commercial vehicle insurance. Even if you mainly use your pickup for everyday driving and only occasionally for business.

As with standard vehicle insurance, there are three different cover levels for pickup truck insurance:

  • Third-party is the least amount of cover you’ll need by law. This could pay for any damage you cause to someone else’s property and any injury they might sustain in an accident. It won’t cover damage to your own pickup truck, though. Although this offers the lowest level of cover, it won’t necessarily be the cheapest, so it pays to compare.
  • Third-party, fire and theft provides the same cover as third-party only insurance and could also protect you if your van is damaged by fire or is stolen.
  • Comprehensive insurance offers all of the above, plus cover for your pickup and the cost of repairs if it gets damaged in an accident.

What policy add-ons might I need?

As with regular car insurance, you can opt for additional extras to personalise your cover, usually at an extra cost. These include:

  • Legal cover – this could help pay the costs of any legal expenses needed to protect you against a claim if an accident wasn’t your fault.
  • Courtesy vehicle – you can get a temporary replacement van if your pickup is being repaired after an accident. If you have comprehensive insurance, check to see if a courtesy vehicle is already included as standard.
  • Misfuelling – this could cover the costs of draining, cleaning and repairing your pickup if you fill it with the wrong fuel by mistake.
  • No-claims protection – this helps protect your no-claims bonus if you need to make a claim. Paying a little extra to protect it could work out cheaper than the hike in premium you’d receive for making a claim.
  • Personal belongings – covers the cost of replacing your possessions if they’re stolen from your pickup, destroyed in a fire or damaged in an accident.
  • Lost key cover – covers the cost of replacing keys and repairing locks if your keys are stolen or lost.
  • Personal accident cover – additional cover for injury or death caused by an accident.

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

There are two options available if you use your pickup to transport business-related goods, such as tools. These are:

  • Carriage of your own goods – this is needed when you’re carrying tools of the trade that you own to complete your work. Builders, plumbers and gardeners are likely to have this type of insurance.
  • Haulage (carriage of goods for hire and reward) – you’ll need this if you’re paid to carry goods owned by someone else, such as a delivery driver or furniture removals driver.

If you have an open-backed pickup, don’t leave items unattended in it when you park up or in your vehicle overnight. If you do, your insurance provider is highly unlikely to pay out for theft. Check the policy details to ensure you’re covered sufficiently before buying.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need special van insurance if I use my pickup truck for business?

You’ll need commercial van insurance, also called business van insurance, if you use your pickup truck for work – even if you only use your pickup for business once in a while. Not doing this could invalidate your insurance and mean that you’re technically driving uninsured, which is against the law.

What if I only use my pickup for leisure?

If you only use your pickup socially, private van insurance should be enough to cover you. You might use your pickup to carry around equipment for hobbies, such as fishing or surfing, ferry your family around or take the dogs to the park.

You’ll only need commercial van insurance if you use your pickup for business purposes.

Do I need insurance if I only use my pickup occasionally?

By law, you must have valid insurance for any vehicle unless it’s registered as ‘kept off public roads’ through a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Even if you only use your pickup truck very occasionally, it will still need to be covered.

If you don’t need to take out an annual policy, you can get temporary van insurance instead. This will cover you for the short-term, from one day up to a month.

How does weight affect pickup truck insurance?

The heavier your pickup, the more expensive your insurance is likely to be. This is because bigger, more powerful vehicles are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident.

Typically, the type of insurance you’ll need depends on whether your pickup is over 3.5 tonnes Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) – also called Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). This is the maximum allowed weight that your pickup can carry safely when it’s loaded up with people and cargo.

If your pickup has a MAM of under 3.5 tonnes, it’s classed as a Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) by HRMC. We can help you compare private van insurance and commercial van insurance for pickup trucks classed as LGVs. If it’s over, it’s classed as a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) and you’ll need specialist cover.

You can find out how much your pickup weighs by checking a plate or sticker fixed to the vehicle, or by looking at your vehicle owner’s manual.

Can young drivers get insurance for driving a pickup truck?

If you’re a young driver, you can still get insurance for driving a pickup – as long as your vehicle doesn’t weigh more than the limit on your driving licence.

  • Pickups weighing less than 3.5 tonnes can be driven on a standard category B licence.
  • Pickups weighing more than 3.5 tonnes will require a Cat C1 licence – you must be over 18 years old and sit a separate test to get this type of licence.

Just be aware that young-driver insurance for a pickup will be more difficult to find and probably more expensive than standard car insurance.

If you’re a young driver between 17 and 24 years old, you may want to consider a black box telematics policy, which could help reduce the cost of your pickup insurance.

Is comprehensive pickup truck insurance expensive?

Fully comprehensive cover isn’t always more expensive than third-party only and third-party, fire and theft options. That’s why it’s so important to compare pickup van insurance quotes before deciding on a policy.

51% of our customers were quoted less than £648 for their van insurance in September, 2022.

Do I need any other cover for my pickup truck?

You might want to consider pickup breakdown cover for added peace of mind. No one wants to be stuck at the side of the road, especially when you have a job to get to.

You should also check whether or not you need to add on extra cover for any tools and equipment you transport in your pickup.

How can I get affordable pickup truck insurance?

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the cost of your pickup insurance:

Pay a higher voluntary excess: the excess is the amount you pay towards a claim. Your insurance provider will set a compulsory excess and you can agree to pay a voluntary excess on top of this. A higher voluntary excess is likely to lower your premium, but you’ll need to make sure you can pay the extra amount if you have to make a claim.

Pay annually: if you pay for your pickup truck insurance monthly, you’ll pay interest on each instalment, so it may be cheaper to pay it all in one go if you can afford to.

Make your pickup more secure: fitting an approved immobiliser, for example, could lower your premium. You can find some useful tips in our guide to improving your vehicle’s security.

Shop around: we can help you get the right cover for your pickup van – at the right price. We’ll search a variety of insurance providers and present you with a range of quotes that meets your needs. All you have to do is choose the policy that ticks all the boxes.

For more tips, read our guide to getting cheaper van insurance.

How much does pickup insurance cost?

51% of customers could save up to £388 on their van insurance[1]

Young drivers could get van insurance for up to £1,709 per year[2]

Get van insurance for up to £648 per year[3]

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[1]
Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during August, 2022. 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their Van insurance through Comparethemarket.

[2] 51% of our young drivers were quoted less than £1,708.65 for their van insurance in September, 2022.

[3] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £647.59 for their van insurance in September, 2022.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get a pickup truck insurance quote, we’ll just need a little information about you and your vehicle, including:

  • Your pickup truck details, including the registration number, make and model.
  • A few personal details, such as your age and where you live.
  • Whether you use your pickup for pleasure, commuting or business.
  • Your estimated annual mileage and where you park your pickup overnight.
  • Your driving history – any accidents, claims or convictions.
  • Details of any additional drivers you want to add to your policy.

You’ll also be able to choose any optional extras you might want to add. Once we have your details, we’ll send you a list of suitable quotes to compare.

Why use Comparethemarket?

We compare prices from 30 trusted providers[6], including:

We're rated 4.8/5 stars on Trustpilot[7]

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[6] Correct as of October, 2022.

[7] As of October 2022, Comparethemarket had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 22,236 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’. 

Author image Julie Daniels

What our expert says...

“Private pickup insurance will cover you for social driving, like daily activities, hobbies and shopping. But as it’s a ‘personal policy’, you won’t be covered for commuting. If you use your pickup truck to get to work and back, you’ll need ‘commercial pickup’ insurance.”

- Julie Daniels, Insurance expert