Commercial van insurance vs personal van insurance

Written by Steve Cook

Published on

Before you insure your van, it’s important to know how you intend to use it.

Generally speaking, if you only plan to use your van for driving to the shops or trips to the beach, you’ll need personal van insurance. If you also intend to use it for work or as part of your business, you’ll need a commercial van insurance policy.

However, the choice isn't always so clear. Sometimes, the line between personal and professional use can be a bit blurry.

In this guide, we'll explore the key differences between personal and commercial van insurance, helping you to make the right choice for you.

Commercial van insurance vs personal van insurance blog card

What is personal van insurance?

Personal van insurance covers vans used for personal driving only. You might also hear it referred to as social, domestic and pleasure insurance.

This type of policy covers you for everyday driving, like trips to the shops, weekends away, or transporting hobby equipment.

Most personal van insurance policies typically don't cover you for commuting to work on a regular basis – this is where the distinction between personal and commercial use becomes important.

Key points:

  • Suitable for everyday driving, but not for work or business use.
  • Typically doesn’t cover commuting to work.
  • Generally more affordable than commercial van insurance.

What is commercial van insurance?

Commercial van insurance (also known as business van insurance) is designed for vans used for any type of work. This includes not just full-time business use, but also part-time jobs, and even hobbies that generate an income.

For example, if you're a part-time DJ using your van to transport equipment, you’ll probably need a commercial insurance policy.

Key points:

  • Covers your van for work-related use, and often personal driving, too.
  • Covers a broader range of activities and risks.
  • Often more expensive due to the higher risk associated with business use.

Different types of business van insurance

Carriage of own goods

This is cover for drivers who use their van for work, and need to protect their tools, gear or equipment. Tradespeople, contractors or small business owners will most likely need this type of van insurance.

Carriage of goods for hire and reward

This is insurance for drivers who transport goods or passengers in exchange for payment. Delivery drivers or couriers will most likely need this type of cover.


This is a more specialist type of van insurance tailored for long-distance deliveries, typically involving regular routes and clients.

Why the distinction matters

The type of insurance you choose should always align with how you use your van.

Using a van for your business or work involves different risks, like higher mileage and the increased likelihood of keeping valuable equipment in the vehicle.

This increased risk drives up the cost, often meaning that commercial van insurance is more expensive than personal van insurance.

If you're underinsured, or you have the wrong type of policy, you risk not being covered in the event of a claim.

A couple of practical examples:

  • A florist using a van for delivering flowers needs commercial insurance.
  • An individual using a van for camping trips needs only personal insurance.

Choosing the right policy

So, before you choose a van insurance policy, it’s really important to think about all the ways you intend to use your van.

If you plan to use it for both personal and business driving, be sure to tell your insurer so you get a policy that covers both aspects.

Additional features to consider:

  • Breakdown cover and emergency assistance
  • Windscreen and glass cover
  • No claims discount protection

These optional extras, while not mandatory, can offer some extra protection and peace of mind.

Understanding policy exclusions

Every insurance policy has exclusions — certain things or scenarios that are not covered by the policy.

Common exclusions in van insurance policies include negligence (like leaving keys in the ignition), wear and tear, and lack of coverage for tools left in the van overnight. That’s why it’s important to always read your policy documents carefully to understand your exclusions.


Choosing between personal and commercial van insurance depends on how you use your van.

If you use your van for work or business-related driving, commercial van insurance is a must. If you only use your van for everyday, personal driving, a personal van insurance will usually cover you.

Understanding the distinctions, and making sure your policy reflects the way you use your van, will help you avoid complications and give you that extra peace of mind.

Is business van insurance cheaper than personal?

Business van insurance tends to be more expensive than personal van insurance. That’s because work and delivery vans usually cover lots of miles on a regular basis, and are often used to carry expensive goods or equipment. 

All of this increases the insurance risk, which means higher insurance costs.

The actual cost varies depending on things like the policy type (for instance hire and reward cover, or carriage of own goods cover), your driving history, your age and where you live.

Can you insure a van for personal use?

Yes, most vans can be insured for personal use. Private van insurance is for vans used for everyday, social driving, like visiting friends, shopping or camping trips.

What is the cheapest van to insure?

The cheapest vans to insure are typically those in a lower van insurance group. These vans are usually smaller, lighter and have a less-powerful engine than larger or more expensive vans, and they're usually cheaper to repair, too.

Some examples of vans that are cheaper to insure include the Citroen Berlingo, Ford Transit, and Renault Kangoo. These models are known for their small engine sizes and lower weight loads, making them generally more affordable to insure.

Looking for a van insurance quote?

Head to our van insurance page and enter a few details about you and your van. We’ll give you a personalised price in minutes.

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