Private or business van insurance — which do you need?
Whether you use your van for commuting to work, the odd camping trip or to deliver goods for your business, you need to make sure you have the right level of insurance cover. Your policy needs to accurately reflect the way in which you use your van. If it doesn't, you could run into problems in the event of a claim.
Private van insurance
Private van insurance would be suitable if you use your vehicle purely for social, leisure and domestic purposes such as doing the weekly food shop, driving to the coast for a weekend away or transporting your surf gear. Essentially, anything that's not considered to be work related. One of the grey areas in the world of van insurance is that even driving to a single place of work on a regular basis is considered to be a business activity. If you use your van for the daily commute, you will need business cover because private won't be enough.
Business van insurance
Business van insurance is the best bet if you use your van for any purpose that's related to work, including part-time jobs. Even if you're a part time DJ or window washer, using your van to transport equipment or tools on a regular basis, it pays to purchase business insurance to make sure you're properly covered.
Another area that confuses van owners is whether using their vehicle to sell at car boot sales is classed as a leisure activity or a business activity. If you go to car boot sales occasionally and otherwise simply use the van for private use, private insurance should be fine as it could be argued this is a social activity. But if you're a regular trader at these events, consider purchasing business insurance as this could be deemed as business use. If in doubt, check with your insurer.
Classic van enthusiasts can count their interest as a leisure activity as this hobby isn't considered to be a form of commercial use. But it's worth investing in specialist insurance if you own a vintage or classic van so you get a guaranteed value policy that's in line with the worth of the model.
Business insurance explained
If you need to purchase business insurance for your van, you'll need to choose a policy from one of these three main categories:
Carriage of own goods
If your van falls mostly under the umbrella of private use but you use it to commute to work, you will need to purchase a business policy in the classification of Carriage of Own Goods. This will cover you if you have an accident during your commute as well as if you decide to visit another place of work or head out on a work related visit.
Carriage of Own Goods cover is self-explanatory, it covers the personal belongings you're carrying with you. This policy will suit a shopkeeper, carpenter, builder or plumber, anyone who needs their personal items or the tools of their trade covered.
Carry Goods for Hire or Reward
If you use your van to make deliveries, Carry Goods for Hire or Reward could be suitable for you. This type of cover suits drivers who intend to make multiple deliveries throughout the day at varying times and to a range of different locations. You'll need this cover if you're carrying other people's goods in return for a fee. If you're in this line of work, it's a legal requirement to cover yourself with Hire or Reward insurance. You will face legal penalties if you don't comply and are caught. This type of policy could suit a courier, taxi driver or furniture remover.
In the same vein as Carry Goods for Hire or Reward, Haulage cover is also for those who make deliveries for a living and transport other people's goods. But the difference is that haulage companies deal with the same clients on a regular basis, transporting goods on a regular basis, at set times of the day. Consequently, haulage companies can tell the insurance company exactly what sort of goods they will be collecting and delivering, unlike regular couriers who could be handling all manner of different items at short notice.