Who needs commercial van insurance?
It’s a legal requirement to have van insurance if you use a van or light commercial vehicle for business use. This includes tradespeople such as electricians, carpenters, plumbers and builders, and farmers.
If you just use a van for personal use or to commute to and from work then you’ll need a private van insurance policy.
What vehicles are covered?
The following types of vehicles are usually covered under van insurance if used for commercial purposes:
- Pickup trucks
The maximum vehicle weight covered under this type of policy is usually 3.5 tonnes.
There should be no fixed seats in the back of the vehicle, except in crew cabs.
Heavier vehicles may need a different type of commercial or business insurance.
What types of cover can you get?
Just like with car insurance, there are three main levels of cover:
Third party: This pays for repairs to other people’s vehicles or property you’ve damaged in an accident.
Third party, fire and theft: This pays for the above, plus damage to your own vehicle caused by fire or attempted theft, and actual theft of your van.
Fully comprehensive: This covers all of the above, plus damage to your own vehicle caused by an accident and any injuries you suffer as a result, even if it was your fault.
Although a comprehensive policy offers much more protection, it can sometimes be cheaper, so always shop around. Here’s more about the types of insurance you can get.
What does van insurance cover?
As well as protecting you financially from accidental damage, fire, and theft to your van (under a comprehensive policy), you’re covered for other things too.
Each insurer has a list of things included as standard and another list of add-ons that you’ll pay extra for.
What’s covered as standard?
Trailer cover: This can cover damage to your trailer from a third party. You may need to pay extra for comprehensive protection.
Windscreen cover: This covers repairs to your windscreen or a replacement, less any excess you have to pay.
Fire brigade charges: This covers the cost of local authorities to put out a fire affecting the vehicle or removing any passengers.
Personal accident: This pays a lump sum if you suffer an injury or die while travelling in the vehicle or getting in or out.
Medical expenses: If your vehicle is involved in an accident, medical expenses will be paid to any injured parties.
Driving in the EU: You may use your vehicle in a European country up to a maximum number of days. The level of cover may be different though, so check before you travel.
It pays to shop around to find the benefits you need for less. If you opt for fully comprehensive insurance, you’ll get more things included as standard.
No claims discount protection: There are two levels of protection. With step back protection, you can protect some of your years of no claims bonus, and with no claims discount protection, you can usually keep your full no claims bonus if you make one claim. Further claims will reduce the number of years no claims you hold.
Open drive: This allows anyone over 25 with a full EU license to drive your van. It doesn’t cover you to drive theirs. You may have third party cover to drive another vehicle with a comprehensive policy but check.
Legal expenses: This pays for legal costs arising from a claim, up to a maximum amount.
Replacement keys and locks: If your keys are lost or stolen, you’re covered for the cost of replacement keys and locks.
Personal belongings: If your belongings in the vehicle suffer damage from an accident, fire, or attempted theft, or if they are stolen you will receive the amount covered by your policy.
Replacement vehicle: This provides or pays for another vehicle for a set number of days if yours has been stolen or damaged from a fire or accident.
Breakdown assistance: If you break down, a mechanic will try to repair your vehicle at the roadside or tow it to a garage. There are lots of levels of cover to choose from.
What affects the cost?
There are a number of factors that affect the cost of your policy, here are some of the main ones:
Your vehicle: The age and value of the van will affect your premium. High value vehicles and very old vehicles may cost more because of their replacement value or risk of causing an accident.
Your driving history: If you’re an experienced driver with a clean licence, your cover will be cheaper, especially if you have five or more years of no claims bonus.
The cover level you choose: Less cover equals more risk to you and the insurer so third party policies may cost more than comprehensive ones. Get the cover you need even if this means paying more.
The excess level: The higher the voluntary excess, the less your policy will cost. This is the amount you’re willing to pay towards any claim you make.
The number of extras: Each added benefit will bump up the cost of the policy so choose wisely and only get what you need.
Who offers commercial van insurance in Ireland?
These are the main insurers you can buy van insurance from and they’re all regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland:
- FBD Insurance
- Liberty insurance
- The AA
There are also a number of brokers offering van insurance that could help you compare multiple quotes.
How to get van insurance quotes
You can go direct to an insurance provider or use a broker who can get you quotes from a panel of insurers.
You’ll need to complete an online quote form or give information over the phone about:
Your personal details: e.g. your name, date of birth, address, occupation.
Your business details: including your trading name as a sole trader or limited company.
Your driving history: e.g. licence type and years held, any penalty points, any no claims bonus etc.
The cover: including the type you want e.g. comprehensive, excess level and policy start date.
Your vehicle: including the type, registration number, value, mileage etc.
If any of your details change, you must inform your insurer immediately, or your insurance may be invalidated in a claim.
How to find the cheapest van insurance
Use an existing provider: Some insurers offer discounts if you have another policy with them e.g. car or home insurance. Compare the cost against other providers to check if it’s actually cheaper.
Use a broker to compare quotes: It could save you time and money, but be aware that they may not cover the whole of the market. To combat this, you could use more than one broker or go direct to the insurers they don’t cover. Check for any fees too.
Set the excess as high as you can afford: This will bring down the cost of the policy.
Add named drivers rather than open drive: Although open drive gives you more flexibility, if you don’t need multiple drivers to use the vehicle, naming one or two on the policy could work out cheaper.
Search for discounts: If you have at least five years no claims bonus for example, you could get up to 75% off your policy.
Pay in one go if you can: You’ll pay extra in the form of interest, to spread the cost of the policy over the year.
Van insurance FAQs
Are my tools covered on my van insurance policy?
Not usually, no. A broker may be able to help you find an insurance provider that offers some cover, or you could buy a separate goods in transit policy.
This could protect your tools against loss, damage and theft while being transported from one place to another.
Can I insure more than one van?
Yes, but if you have more than one van to cover, you may need commercial or fleet insurance. The good news is, you usually get a discount for insuring multiple vehicles.
Fleet insurance usually covers five or more vehicles, but some insurers offer it on two or more vehicles.
The cover that’s included with fleet insurance may differ to what’s covered with a van insurance policy, so check the policy wording document.
Do I need van insurance?
Yes, it’s a legal requirement to have insurance if you drive a van, in the same way that you need car insurance to drive a car.
Van insurance usually covers vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes so check the weight of your vehicle to make sure you buy the right insurance for it.
Should I insure my van in my name or my business’ name?
It depends on what’s shown on the Vehicle Licencing Certificate (VLC) or logbook. This confirms whether the van is registered in your name or to your business.
The logbook should match the name on the van insurance policy.
What is open drive?
Open drive covers other drivers to use your van who have a full driving licence and meets any other terms shown in the policy wording booklet.
This may include being a certain age and having a clean driving licence.
It can provide lots of flexibility if you have a big team of workers, however, you’ll pay more for this benefit.