What are the different types of van insurance in the UK?

Written by Steve Cook

Published on

If you’re a van owner in the UK, or you’re thinking of becoming one, it's important to have the right insurance in place. It keeps you and your vehicle protected if you’re involved in an accident.

There are a few types of van insurance, each designed for different types of use. And it’s important to understand the differences between them.

In this guide, we’ll explore the main types of van insurance in the UK, giving you the information you need to make the right choice.

What are the different types of van insurance in the UK?

What are the main types of van insurance?

The main types of van insurance in the UK are: social only (for personal use); social and commuting (for personal use and travelling to work); carriage of own goods (for transporting your own tools and equipment); and haulage (for delivering goods in exchange for payment).

The right policy depends on your van usage, with business use requiring more cover than personal use. Additional options like goods in transit, breakdown, and tool insurance can provide extra protection.

Here’s more on the main types of van insurance:

Social only

Also known as private van insurance, a social only policy covers your van for personal, non-business use. This includes things like shopping, visiting friends and family, or going on holiday.

If you only use your van for leisure purposes and personal trips, social only insurance is likely the best option.

Social and commuting

This type of policy includes all the coverage of a social only policy, but also allows you to use your van for commuting to a single, fixed place of work.

If you drive your van to the same office or job site every day, you'll need at least a social and commuting policy. However, it still doesn’t cover you for business use or using your van for work reasons.

Business use — Carriage of own goods

If you use your van to transport tools, equipment or materials related to your business or trade, you'll need a commercial van insurance policy, also known as carriage of own goods.

This is a standard choice for tradespeople like plumbers, electricians or landscapers who carry their own supplies in their van. A carriage of own goods policy will usually cover your van for work use and personal use, allowing you to drive between your home and multiple sites as part of your work.

Haulage - Carriage of goods for hire or reward

Also referred to as van courier insurance, this type of policy allows you to use your van to transport other people's goods, property or parcels in exchange for payment. Delivery drivers, removal companies and couriers would need this type of cover.

Long-distance haulage companies — those that transport goods nationwide between depots or warehouses — may need a different type of insurance, one that covers a fleet of heavy goods vehicles operating across the UK.

Choosing the right van for your business

When choosing a van for your business, it's important to consider things like running costs, reliability and insurance. If you’re a delivery driver, some of the most popular vans for courier work include models like the Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, and Volkswagen Transporter, which strike a good balance between practicality and affordability.

Things that can affect your van insurance

The type of van insurance you need depends on a few things:

  • How you use your van (whether that’s business or personal)
  • Your profession and the nature of your business
  • The goods or equipment you transport
  • Your driving history and experience
  • Your van's make, model and specifications

Insurers assess your driving history and personal circumstances to determine your level of risk. This risk is one of the main factors that affects your insurance price. Being honest about how you use your van is crucial, as misrepresenting this could make your policy invalid.

Optional extras

On top of your core van insurance, you may want to consider extra options like:

These extras boost your cover and provide more protection, but they’ll also increase the cost of your policy. Be sure to weigh up the benefits and risks to decide if they’re worthwhile.

Saving money on van insurance

While van insurance can be a significant expense, there are ways to reduce your costs without compromising on coverage.

Choosing a van in a low insurance group can help you to buy a van that’s cheaper to insure. You could also add improved security features, and drive carefully to build up your no claims discount. And always shop around for the best deals before settling on a policy.

Check out a few more tips for getting cheaper van insurance.


The four main types of van insurance in the UK are social only, social and commuting, carriage of own goods, and haulage (carriage of goods for hire or reward). The right policy for you will depend on how you use your van — if you use your van for your work or business, you’ll need a commercial van insurance policy rather than just social or commuting.

Always give accurate information to your insurer, and consider any additional extras you may need to boost your cover. By understanding the different types of van insurance available, you can make sure you have the best possible protection for you and your van.

What happens if I have the wrong type of van insurance?

Using your van for reasons not covered by your policy could invalidate your insurance. So, if you need to make a claim, it may be rejected, leaving you liable for any damage, injuries or legal costs. Always make sure your policy accurately reflects how you use your van.

Can I drive a van on my car insurance?

In most cases, your car insurance will not cover you to drive a van. While your licence (category B) allows you to drive a van weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, the insurance you need to drive it may be different, especially if you’re using the van to deliver goods. In most cases, you'll need to take out a specific van insurance policy. Find out more about whether you can drive a van on your car insurance.