Buying a new van is one of the biggest investments a small business or start-up can make. Investing your hard-earned cash in a new van signifies for many people the next stage on their business journey from conception to reality and shows a commitment to succeed.
But beware of becoming too overconfident before you open your cheque book. It’s worthwhile taking a step back and looking at the actual requirements for your business, whether as a self-starter or a fleet manager.
Always keep in mind areas which may affect your van insurance costs including the physical size, vehicle category, and which vehicles are more cost-effective to repair. If you need to invest in fleet van insurance for all your vehicles, the savings can be substantial.
The UK new van market started 2020 with another robust performance during the first month of the new year. Statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that more than 23,500 new vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes were registered in January — ahead of 5.9 percent on the same month last year. This follows 2019 in which new van registrations rose 2.4 percent, with nearly 366,000 new vans arriving on British highways.
As you might expect given these figures, the best-selling van in the UK in January was the transit van of which nearly 7,000 were sold; followed by 4,366 two-to 2.5-tonne vans and 3,400 pick-up trucks respectively.
Check before you buy
Both van insurance and fleet van insurance can be expensive when compared to conventional car insurance, but there are a host of tactics to lower your premiums. With a bit of research and planning, you can save hundreds of pounds on each vehicle.
The general rule of thumb is the smaller the van, the cheaper the van insurance policy.
Naturally, you should buy a van that is the size and capacity right for the work you do. A mobile windscreen fitter will be different from a courier delivery or a dog grooming business. If you’re thinking of buying a larger vehicle for the extra space, just bear in mind that your insurance premiums may increase.
Keeping Costs Down
How much you pay for your van insurance will depend on many factors, one of which being the insurance group it falls into. There are 50 different van insurance groups, and all are set by a governing panel (including the Association of British Insurers). When setting the criteria, they look at the following areas:
1. Parts and Repairs
If replacement parts are easy to access and cheap to buy, then the van will be covered under a lower cost group. The same would then follow for the repairs which should also be cheaper.
When insuring a van, your underwriter will consider the speed of your vehicle. As faster vehicles tend to be in more accidents, your van is likely to be put in a higher insurance group.
3. Engine Size
The same as for speed, the larger the engine size, the more powerful the van and the greater likelihood of an accident, so the higher the insurance group.
Heavier vans are put into higher insurance groups as they are more difficult to drive and require greater expertise from the operator.
With van and van contents theft increasing at an alarming rate, having a van fitted with security features as standard will keep the cost of your premium down.
When looking for your van, remember that driver age also plays a part. The younger you are, the more your insurance will be but choose a smaller, lighter vehicle with a less powerful engine and you are likely to save financially.
Additional Factors to Keep Costs Down
Once you have chosen the van that is right for your business, there are some other areas to keep in mind when negotiating with your insurance broker.
1. Pay more voluntary excess: If you agree to pay a higher excess in the event of a claim it could noticeably bring down the cost of your van insurance.
2. Build up your bonus: Building up your no-claims bonus is a simple but helpful way to reduce your premiums. You might even be able to use your own car’s no-claims bonus history on your van insurance. Tradex also offers a bonus boost to reduce the time it takes for younger drivers to get their first year of no claims under their belt.
3. Safe & Secure: You can often lower your insurance premiums by making your van as secure as possible, making it tricky for people to steal or break into. If your van doesn’t come with enough security features as standard, fit a van alarm, an immobiliser, or a van tracker, and leave your van in a safe place overnight.
4. Clean it out: Don’t leave costly tools and equipment in your van overnight. Just by declaring an empty van can lower your premiums, as it offers no temptation to casual thieves.
5. Paying ahead: Paying early or in in advance for a year of van insurance can save you quite a bit of money. A lot of insurers prefer a lump sum, so they’ll should offer a discount on annual premiums.
6. Check your drivers: Adding extra drivers to a fleet always brings up your premium especially if they’re under 25 with a claim’s history.