Whether you’re a courier, builder, or caterer, your van is one of your business’s most important pieces of equipment. As insurance eats up a significant part of your business annual expenditure, averaging over £1,500, most of us know it’s worth shopping around. But did you know that different insurance companies may offer different levels of cover? That means a cheap premium could cost a lot more in the long run if it excludes a feature you need. To help you find the right insurance at the best price, we’ve put together this guide. Use it to discover what you need to look out for when you do your next van insurance comparison.
Choosing comprehensive or third-party cover
- Third-party insurance is the minimum level of insurance you must have to drive on the road. It only pays out for any damage or injury to others, so you’ll be left footing the bill if your van is stolen or damaged. It’s sometimes the cheapest option, but not always. That’s because some insurance companies consider it a more risky approach to hold only this level of insurance.
- The next level is third-party fire or theft. This pays out for other road users and will also pay to replace your van if it is stolen or damaged by fire.
- The final option is comprehensive insurance. This covers any damage to your van or that you cause to others.
Remember, there are lots of things that can invalidate your insurance so you won’t receive a penny if you make a claim. This includes:
- Giving incorrect information to your insurer.
- Failing to have a valid MOT.
- If you are found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even if you do not cause the accident.
Does your van insurance comparison include a courtesy vehicle?
If you rely on your van to trade, it’s worth considering insurance that guarantees a similar courtesy vehicle if your van is being repaired or replaced. If you don’t have this cover, you could be left unable to get you or your products where they need to be – and that can be devastating for a small business.
Taking out breakdown cover at the same time can be a great value way to keep you and your van on the road. It’s not normally automatically included and there’s a choice of levels. Look for van breakdown cover including relay and home start for the greatest peace of mind.
Insuring tools and specialist equipment
Most van insurance policies won’t automatically include your van contents, especially if it’s specialist equipment. But contents can be a prime target for thieves. Buying tool or equipment cover as part of your van insurance will give you peace of mind that you can replace them swiftly and get back to business.
Putting your business name on your van
Do you worry that putting your business name on your van will advertise the likely tools thieves will find inside and bump up your premiums? Well, some insurance companies consider signwriting to have the opposite effect. They feel that it makes a van less attractive to thieves as it can be easily spotted by the police and is harder to sell on.
Remember: Always tell your insurance company that your van has signwriting, as failing to do so could invalidate your cover.
How to save money on van insurance
There’s no need to compromise on the level of cover to save money. Instead, try these tricks that can help you get the best price possible:
Increase your excess
Most policies will have a mandatory excess that you have to pay if you make a claim. This can vary from £50 to £250. But you can also opt to pay an additional voluntary excess. This can help to reduce the cost of your premium as insurance companies know that a higher excess means fewer claims for small amounts. If you’re opting to increase your excess, remember that you’ll pay the combined price of the mandatory excess AND the extra voluntary excess. Take care to make sure you don’t set your excess too high. If you do, you could find yourself unable to pay it if you need to make a claim, and that’ll leave you without your van.
Calculate your annual mileage accurately
The fewer miles you drive the lower your risk of having an accident. If you drive a lower than average mileage you could be offered lower than average insurance. It’s really important to get this right. If you drive more miles than you have told your insurance company, your cover could be invalidated. Yes, they can find out! They’ll look at the current mileage and compare that to the MOT records to determine if you’ve been telling the truth.
The number one rule when it comes to saving money is to shop around. In almost every case you’ll pay more if you simply accept your renewal quote. To find the best price you’ll need to contact as many insurance companies as possible and make sure the policies they are offering include all the features you need. An online comparison website can be a good place to start. Remember that not every insurance company is found on these sites. Some comparison sites are owned by insurance groups. That means you can be offered different prices for the same policy, depending on which website you use. Finally, always check and double-check again what is being offered in the cheapest policies.
Some comparison sites are owned by insurance groups. That means you can be offered different prices for the same policy, depending on which website you use. And finally, always check and double-check again what is being offered in the cheapest policies. A Which? survey found that there was a discrepancy between information on the comparison site and the policy document for six out of 10 car insurance policies. This includes the comparison site promising a guaranteed courtesy car and the policy document making no such promise. Alternatively, give your information to an independent insurance broker, like Park Insurance, and let them do the legwork for you. Quotes are free and you’ll be able to talk through everything for your peace of mind.
Nobody wants to pay over the odds for insurance but beware of insurance that’s too cheap. This may not give you the level of protection you may need. Instead, decide what features are essential to you. Then carry out a van insurance comparison for ‘like for like’ cover. That way you can rest assured you’ve got a great value deal, that won’t cost you more in the long-run.
For more advice and a free quote speak to our specialist van insurance team at Park Insurance on 0117 955 6835 or get a quote now.