Vans give you extra room for cargo and bigger engines to move it around with. The downside of this is the potential to cause more damage - and to incur costlier repairs - in the event of an accident. This results in more expensive premiums when compared to smaller vehicles like cars.
The easiest way to reduce your insurance is therefore to downsize to a smaller van. If that's not possible, then look at increasing your voluntary excess, reducing your mileage, increasing your van's security and traceability, removing additional drivers, and paying your premiums annually.
Be realistic about what size van you need, and downsize if possible. If you can manage with one of the smaller vans like a Renault Kangoo or a Citroen Berlingo then your insurance will be cheaper. These smaller vans also tend to be far more economical than their bigger brothers too.
Let's look at an example. Jake is a 25-year-old unmarried self employed carpenter with a full, clean license.
He'd like to compare fully comprehensive insurance for:
- a small van (a 2015 Renault Kangoo with a 1.4 diesel engine)
- a medium-sized van (a 2015 Renault Traffic with a 1.6 diesel engine)
- a large van (a 2015 Renault Master with a 2.3 diesel engine)
|Small van||Medium van||Large van|
|Got You Covered||£1038.28||£1138.43||£1238.57|
As you can see from the above table, the small van is £200 cheaper to insure than a large van.
If you want more information about how different manufacturers' vans compare with each other for insurance purposes, then you can look at which insurance group they each fall into.
Each van is assigned to a particular group (between 1 and 50) by insurance industry experts based on its engine size, weight performance, security, and cost to repair.
The first 20 groups are for vans built before 2016, with vans in group 1 being the cheapest to insure, and vans in group 20 being the most expensive.
Those built after 2016 are placed in groups 21 to 50, with those in 21 being the cheapest and those in 50 being the most expensive.
For more information on insurance groups consult our guide to car insurance groups, which explains in more details how vehicles receive their ranking.
In essence, if you're driving a van in group 50 and can downsize to a van in group 1 then you'll see a dramatic reduction in your insurance premiums. If this isn't possible, then there are other, less drastic, measures you can take.
Like all other forms of insurance, van insurance is cheaper if you pay yearly rather than monthly. This is because insurers are effectively treating monthly payments like loan repayments and adding interest accordingly.
This can be illustrated by looking at a couple of quotes for carpenter Jake. If he pays his Renault Kangoo insurance by instalments, it'll cost him an extra £181.44 for the Got You Covered policy. For the Ark Insurance policy it will cost him £233.20 more.
Your van may not be fitted with security features as standard, but there's nothing to stop you making it less attractive to thieves.
Insurers like secure vehicles, so any improvements will help cut the cost of your premiums.
Alarms and immobilisers are a great start, but there's also the option of having tracking devices fitted or having the vehicle security-etched. The latter involves having your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) printed onto your vehicle's windows and is the cheapest option.
If at all possible, you should park your vehicle somewhere safe overnight. Ideally on a driveway or in a garage.
As an example, Jake's insurance is £167 cheaper if he parks his van on a driveway rather than on the road during the night.
Telematics enable insurers to track driving behaviour through an app or small device attached to your van. Opting for an insurance policy that includes telematics can save you money - providing that you drive safely and within the boundaries set by the insurer.
Evidence suggests that insurers have been slow to make drivers aware that telematics are an option, so it may be worth making enquiries directly. Just make sure that you're happy with any restrictions that are involved.
Just because a particular insurer is the cheapest one year, that doesn't mean you should blithely accept an auto-renew quote.
Use an online comparison tool for vans to sift through insurers and find the cheapest available premium - you can use these figures to haggle with your existing insurer if you're otherwise happy with them.
The fewer miles you drive, the cheaper the insurance. After all, less time spent on the roads means less chance of being involved in an accident.
As an extreme example, if our carpenter, Jake, managed to reduce his mileage from 30,000 to 15,000, he could expect a reduction in insurance of £121 a year.
While such a drastic reduction might not be realistic, it's worth bearing in mind that mileage does matter. Resist the temptation to guess at how many miles you've done, and refrain from rounding up any totals.
The voluntary excess is the amount you need to pay out yourself before receiving any money from your insurer.
Increasing the amount of excess can result in a modest decrease in the cost of your insurance premium.
Let's say Jake bought a Renault Master. If he took out a policy with Ark Insurance, for example, he would save £34.21.
While increasing your voluntary excess can save you money, you should bear in mind that an accident could easily wipe out any savings you've made. In Jake's case, he'd need to be claim-free for at least 15 years to make his increased excess worth it.
Removing additional drivers
Having another driver insured on your van may be inflating your premiums. Young and inexperienced drivers are seen as particularly risky by insurers.
For example, if Jake had an 18-year-old apprentice insured on his van, his premiums would be £1395 a year more expensive.
Even older and experienced additional drivers will add something to your annual costs.
For example, if Jake insured his 50-year-old father on his van, his premiums would be £26 a year more.
If you're used to driving a car, van insurance can seem eye-wateringly expensive. Nevertheless, driving without insurance isn't an option.
If you're yet to buy a van, consult the insurance groups and choose a vehicle with the smallest size and engine suitable for your requirements. Use our comparison tool to see how much potential purchases might cost.
If you already own a van, the solution is to nibble away at the annual cost by making small changes. Paying for your insurance annually and parking overnight in a garage or driveway will make you the biggest savings.
As with all insurance, it pays to be accurate - not only does this ensure your policy is valid, it also means that you're not paying for anything you don't need.