If your van insurance has a “drive other vehicles” clause, you will be allowed to drive a car under your van insurance. If not, you will need to take out a separate car insurance policy.
You may own a van for personal reasons or you may have one for work purposes, as part of a business or because you’re a sole trader. But whatever your reasons for having a van, if you drive it on public roads, you’re required by law to have the right van insurance.
Like a car insurance policy, van insurance can protect you financially if your vehicle is damaged, vandalised or stolen, as well as cover you for costs in the event you injure another person or damage their property.
If you use your van for personal use, you can get a private van insurance policy, but if you use it for work, you’ll need a business policy. Most insurance providers cover vans that weigh up to 3.5 tonnes, including light vans, pick-ups and tippers. As long as you have the right driving licence, some insurers will cover vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes.
However, many people own a car as well as a van. If you have a car as a second vehicle, you may be wondering whether you need to take out separate insurance. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about driving different vehicles under the same policy.
Can I drive my car with van insurance?
You may be able to drive a car under your van insurance, depending on the policy issued by your insurance provider. Even if you only want to drive the car temporarily, you should check the wording on your existing van policy to make sure you’re covered.
If your van insurance has a “drive other vehicles” clause, you will be allowed to legally drive your car without taking out a separate policy, but this will usually be on a third-party basis and in most cases, there are certain criteria you need to meet.
Insurance can be a tricky subject to get your head around, so read on to find out whether you might be able to drive a car on your van insurance policy and what your options are if you can’t, as well as more about van insurance in general.
What is the “drive other vehicles” clause?
Traditionally, fully comprehensive insurance policies tended to cover you for driving other vehicles on a third-party basis.
However, nowadays this is not always included as standard, so you need to check with your provider before driving another vehicle.
For an additional charge, many insurance companies will allow you to add the “driving other vehicles” benefit onto your policy – although this won’t apply to all motorists, as those under 25 and in certain occupations might not be eligible for this courtesy.
Note that the “drive other vehicles” extension isn’t designed for long-term use, so if you want to drive your car for more than just a few days, it’s worth looking into alternative insurance options, so that you’re covered. The third-party “driving other vehicles” clause will only cover damage to and personal injury claims made by another person involved in an incident that was your fault – not the cost of any damage done to the vehicle you’re driving.
What are my options if my van insurance doesn’t cover me to drive a car?
If your van insurance doesn’t include the “drive other vehicles” clause and you don’t have the option to add it on, you will need either to be added as a named driver to an existing policy for a car or take out a separate car insurance policy.
If you drive your car without the correct insurance, you face fines, points on your licence or even prosecution.
Can I drive a van using my car insurance?
It works the same the other way round, too. Say you want to borrow a van to move house or transport large pieces of equipment, you may be covered by the “drive other vehicles” benefit under your existing car insurance policy. If not, you have a number of other options:
- Ask the owner of the van to add you to their existing policy on a temporary or permanent basis.
- Take out a van insurance policy of your own. If you only need the van as a one-off, you can get temporary van insurance, which covers you for short periods of time.
- Hire a van from a rental company, as insurance cover will normally be included. However, you should make sure you check the terms and conditions to see what’s covered and how much excess you’ll have to pay if the worst happens.
If you’re going to be driving your van regularly, you need to buy a dedicated van insurance policy so that you have the correct level of protection. Again, you risk fines, points and prosecution if you’re not properly insured to drive the van.
You should also remember that third-party insurance only covers the damage and injury you cause to another vehicle or person, in the event of an accident.
Is car insurance the same as van insurance?
Car and van insurance policies are similar in many ways. One similarity is that you can choose the level of cover you require. These levels are:
This is the minimum level of cover required by law. It covers your liability for damage and injury you cause to others, but not to yourself or your own vehicle.
Third-party, fire and theft
As well as being covered for the above, this level of insurance provides protection for your van if it’s stolen or destroyed or damaged by fire.
If you take out this level of insurance, you’ll have third-party, fire and theft cover, as well as protection for your own vehicle in the event of an accident.
One of the main differences between car and van insurance is that while you can take out a van insurance policy for personal use only, most vans are used in a work capacity, which means they’ll need a specific type of insurance.
We explain more about the different types of van insurance in the next section.
What type of insurance should I get for my van?
If you haven’t taken out a van insurance policy yet, there are some things you need to consider before you do.
First, you need to determine what you use your van for, as there are two main types of insurance: Private van insurance and business van insurance.
Private van insurance
This type of insurance is also known as “social use only”. It’s intended for motorists who use their vans strictly for social, domestic and pleasure purposes. Such motorists include surfers who need their van to transport their equipment to the beach or classic vehicle enthusiasts who take their vans to shows. You can even use private van insurance for the occasional car boot sale, although you will need a business policy if you make a regular income from selling.
Note that if you do own a classic van, you might want to take out classic van cover instead, as a specialist provider can tailor your policy to your unique requirements.
Business van insurance
Also known as “commercial van insurance”, you need this if you use your van for business – even if it’s just to commute to work. This is because van insurance doesn’t have the option of social use plus commuting, like car insurance does.
Business van insurance comes in three main categories, so you’ll need to decide which one suits you best:
- Carriage of own goods: Also known as “carriage of tools cover”, this covers all items inside your van, from work equipment to personal belongings. You’ll need this if you’re a self-employed tradesperson or you use your van to commute.
- Carriage of goods for hire or reward: Delivery drivers will need this, as it covers you for driving to multiple destinations and transporting other people’s goods.
- Haulage cover: This is intended for delivery drivers who travel long distances, often to just one destination per job.
You might also want to think about whether you want to add any optional extras to your van insurance policy. Some of these could include:
- Legal cover for costs following an accident that wasn’t your fault
- Public liability cover in case a member of the public makes a claim against you
- Employers’ liability cover for claims of negligence made by your employees
- Breakdown cover
- Replacement van cover if yours is off the road
- Foreign use cover, so you have the same protection while driving abroad
- Protected no claims discount
Is van insurance more expensive than car insurance?
Because the risk factors are generally higher with vans, you could be forgiven for thinking that van insurance always costs more than car insurance. However, the price of premiums varies greatly, depending on the type of vehicle and what your individual circumstances are.
There are some things you can do to reduce the price of your premium, such as increasing the security of your vehicle by installing CCTV and Thatcham-approved locks, keeping your van in a locked garage overnight, buying your policy through an experienced broker like A-Plan, and remembering to mention any no-claims discount you have.
Can I transfer my no-claims discount between my van and my car?
It is possible to transfer your no-claims discount from your van to your car – and vice-versa – but not all providers will allow you to do this.
It’s worth bearing in mind that you can only use your no-claims discount on one vehicle at a time, so you should only transfer it if you’re swapping over your vehicles permanently.
If you own a van and you drive it on public roads, you’re required by law to have the correct insurance.
Whether or not you can drive your car under your van insurance depends on what’s stated in your policy’s terms and conditions.
The “drive other vehicles” clause allows you to drive your car under your van insurance policy. However, this benefit isn’t always included, so you need to read your documents carefully to make sure you’re abiding by the law.
If you don’t see the clause, you need to either be added onto the car’s existing insurance as a named driver or take out a separate car insurance policy.
Driving without the correct insurance can lead to fines, points on your licence and – in the most severe cases – prosecution.