Can I drive a van on my car insurance?

van on the road

There are times when we all need a little extra boot space, and a car just doesn’t cut the mustard. Whether you’re planning to move house, helping someone else to do so or are finally planning that big trip to the tip, hiring or borrowing a van could be the perfect temporary solution.

However, before you get behind the wheel, it’s worth double-checking that you’re covered. It might be that you can drive a van on your car insurance, particularly if it’s only in the short-term, but there are lots of things to consider before you risk landing a fine or points on your license.

Are there any circumstances when I can drive a van on my car insurance?

The honest answer is ‘possibly’. Every car insurance policy is different so you’ll need to check your individual cover to see if you can drive a van on your car insurance, and don’t forget to study the small print. Contact your insurance provider to check if you are still unsure.

The best advice is never to assume that you can, as driving a van uninsured, or any vehicle on the road uninsured for that matter, is illegal and can result in a £300 fine and 6 points on your license. Even if your car insurance policy covers you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have more than third-party only cover, which will only pay for damage caused to other people or their property.

Does my car insurance cover me for a borrowed van?

Years ago, the answer tended to be ‘yes’ in most cases. It wouldn’t be unusual for comprehensive car insurance policies to cover you with the legal limit of third-party only liability so you could borrow a van from a family member or friend to run a hefty errand.

While ‘standard’ comprehensive insurance is less common today, it’s still possible to extend your policy with ‘driving other vehicles’ (DOV) as a bolt-on but it tends to cost more. This clause is designed specifically for temporary use and, as it gives you third-party only cover to drive other vehicles, you won’t be covered for any damage to the van that you’re driving. It’s also important to bear in mind that it isn’t a given, either. If you’re under 25 years or work in a certain industry, your insurance provider might not cover you.

It’s worth considering what you need the van for before signing on the dotted line. It may be easier to get the van owner to temporarily add you to their existing policy, although it could cost them more, or you could take out a separate insurance policy to cover the time you need to borrow the van for.

Does my car insurance cover me for hiring a van?

Even if you have a DOV extension on your insurance policy, it doesn’t automatically cover you for hiring a van from a rental specialist and, if you do, it’s less likely that you can drive a van on your car insurance. In most cases, hired vans come with their own policies that will insure you for collision damage and third-party liability. However, every hire company has their own policies. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach so check the small print to know exactly what you’re covered for.

Remember that excess cover on these policies can be much higher too, running into thousands of pounds, but you can get insurance that covers you for these expenses too. If you’re in any doubt, it can be worth taking out a separate short-term van insurance policy, giving you peace of mind that you’re covered in the event of an incident.

How much do I need to pay for short-term or temporary van insurance?

The cost of your insurance will depend on several factors, not just limited to your age, driving history and individual requirements.

Age: Policies tend to go down in price for the over 25s so you can expect to pay more if you’re a younger van driver.

Duration: On a daily basis, temporary van insurance can stack up in the long term. If you need to hire a van for a few months or more, it might be worth considering an annual policy.

History: If you’ve got points on your licence or an unspent driving conviction, your van insurance policy will tend to cost you more.

Vehicle: The more expensive the van, the more you can expect to pay for insurance as they tend to cost more to repair.

Extras: If you opt for add-ons, including breakdown cover and windscreen repair it may bump up the cost, but it will give you peace of mind in the event of an incident.

It’s important to compare van insurance quotes to ensure that you get the right cover for you at the best price.

The Van Insurer’s top tips for temporary van insurance:

  1. Consider being added to the van owner’s existing policy on a temporary or permanent basis. Although it could elevate the cost of their premium it may be the cheapest option.
  2. If you’re only after cover on a short-term basis, a temporary van insurance policy could be the solution. Cover can last from a couple of hours to a few weeks.
  3. Investigate hiring a vehicle from a van rental company. They’ll usually include insurance cover as part of the rental agreement but make sure you know what the excess is you might have to pay in the event of an incident.

If you do want to hire or borrow a van, never assume that you can drive it under your existing car insurance policy. The best advice is to read your policy carefully to check for any clauses, such as a ‘drive other vehicles’, that might offer you the temporary cover you need.

In the instance that you’re not allowed to drive a van on your car insurance, there are plenty of temporary van hire policies to give you the reassurance that you’ll be covered in the event of an accident.

Whatever your van insurance requirements, don’t forget to contact The Van Insurer for a quick and competitive quote.