Insuring your van has never been easier, with hundreds of firms fighting for your valuable business. Yet, research shows that van drivers now pay twice as much for insurance as car owners, with the hike in prices being blamed on the government’s increase in Insurance Premium Tax. However, with a little help and a bit of planning, you can dodge the increases and even lower your premiums. Here’s how.
1) Never accept an auto-renew quote
Auto-renew quotes are usually much more expensive and include a fee for the privilege. Instead, add your insurance renewal date to your diary and tell your insurer in advance that you will not be automatically renewing the policy. You can always approach your insurer later with the lowest quote you’ve found and ask them to match it.
2) Shop around
It has never been easier to shop around for insurance, thanks to comparison websites like Confused.com and CompareTheMarket.com. Simply log on, fill in some simple details about you and your vehicle and the site will give quotes from dozens of different insurers. Not only can you compare offers, but you can also assess how much excess they charge and which rates of interest you’ll get if you choose to pay monthly.
3) Use a broker
It can sometimes work to your advantage to have a middle man – a broker in this case. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association is yet another comparison site – but one with a difference. Instead of compiling prices from insurers, they find the nearest brokers to you in order to get the cheapest quote they can.
It’s all well and good trawling the web and checking the latest prices online, but you’ll get a lot further if you pick up the phone and give the companies with the cheapest quotes a ring. You might well be able to haggle a discount, get free breakdown cover or get a better policy altogether.
5) Improve your van’s security
Making your van more secure is a sure-fire way to lowering your premiums. An alarm, immobiliser, steering wheel lock and a tracker can all lower your insurance costs. You can also make savings by getting security etching (adding your vehicle identification number, also known as a VIN number, onto the windows) and ensuring your vehicle is parked on your driveway or garage overnight. You can also add insurance approved aftermarket locks, which can help to reduce your premium.
6) Ensure that your tools are covered
We can’t over-stress the importance of good contents cover. Sit down and work out how much your tools are worth (you should always be keeping the receipts anyway) and ensure they’re added to the van’s contents insurance. It can be very tempting to accept the cheapest quote and forget about contents cover; however, the misery and cost will be immeasurable if you lose all of your tools and have nothing to replace them with. Read our blog post on tool insurance here.
7) Be careful who you add to the policy
Younger drivers, like an apprentice, will usually push up the cost of the policy. Likewise, a driver with points or a history of irresponsible driving will also increase the cost of insurance. On the other hand, adding an older driver with no history of claims could actually reduce your insurance. However, make sure the policy is in the under the main driver, and any other drivers are just named on the policy otherwise this could invalidate you insurance. Work out who really needs to drive your van and (if you have more than one vehicle) use a specialist insurer to ensure you pay for comprehensive cover to protect both your workforce and your vehicles.
8) Downgrade to a smaller van
The smaller the van the less you pay to insure it. Obviously, no one is going to buy a new van just to save a few pounds on their annual insurance, but think about your van’s usage: Is it empty most of the time? Is it more powerful than you need it to be? Downgrading could give you lower running costs in the long run, so always assess your vehicle’s usage to ensure it fits your needs.
9) Be honest
While all the above tips will help you to save cash on your insurance, it’s best to start off on a good footing by being totally honest about how you plan to keep and use the van. Don’t tell the insurer that your van will be stored on your parents’ leafy driveway, if in reality it will be outside your flat in the centre of town. Likewise, be upfront about your mileage and tell them if any modifications have been made to the vehicle.
Insurers base their quotation on what you tell them and reserve the right to cancel your policy or refuse a claim if you have given false information. What’s more, a cancelled policy may put you in a higher risk category and result in years of higher premiums.