Motorists are required to have insurance if they want to go on the roads. The legal requirement is just one of the reasons why it’s a good idea to have a cover, though. If your van were to be stolen, broken into, damaged, or involved in an accident then having cover could well save you a huge amount of money. If you rely on your vehicle for your business then it is vital that it is appropriately covered.
When you take out insurance, you will be given a copy of your van insurance documentation. It is important that you keep a hold of this document because it has the numbers and details on it that you would need to provide should you ever need to make a claim. It also has important dates, and the name of the company that you hold your policies with, as well as what they are (third party, fire, theft, fully comprehensive, etc). These are all things that you will be asked for in the event that there is an accident or incident.
When you put in an application, it is important that you answer every single thing on it truthfully to the best of your knowledge. Providing incorrect information is insurance fraud, and it would mean that your van insurance documentation is, quite literally, worth only the paper it is written on (or the bits that it was emailed as!). There are many factors that will alter the premium you pay, and the insurers use the information that you provide them to calculate your level of risk. Things that you will be asked as a part of your application include:
If you have made a claim in the past then that could mean that your premium will be more expensive, because it shows that you have a history of being a risk factor. This depends on what the claim was for, and how long ago it was made.
Someone who drives long distances or who takes their van to dangerous areas is more likely to be involved in some form of incident than someone who drives only recreationally and occasionally. The more exposure to risk, the greater the likelihood of an accident. There are some companies that specialise in insuring commercial vehicles and you may find that they are a better choice for you as a motorist than the companies that cater primarily to recreational drivers.
If you are parking your truck, van or other vehicle on the kerb and leaving tools in it overnight then there is a high chance that it will get broken into. If you are parking it in a garage then it is safer. If you have immobilisers, external link to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immobiliser)alarms and trackers then that can help too. All of those things are taken into account when premiums are being calculated. Your ZIP code (or the ZIP code of the office/site where you park overnight) could make a huge difference as well.
There is a huge difference between “carriage of company goods” and “carriage of goods for hire and reward” l or “social reasons” when it comes to working out how much cover costs. These are things that you will need to answer truthfully, along with questions such as who is driving – are you the only driver, or will there be several different drivers (and if so who are they/how are they listed on the policy?).
When you take out the policy, the provider will give you a certificate or a cover note. This is a temporary certificate which serves as evidence that you are insured. If the police were to stop you then they may ask to see it. These notes are valid only for a short time, and they will be replaced with a full schedule later. You should also be emailed, or sent in the post, a full policy document which sets out all of the terms. Make sure that you read and understand this because if you are in breach of the terms then you may not be able to make a claim.
Hold on to your van insurance documentation. Take a photo of the key pages such as the telephone number of the company that covers you, because in an emergency you may need to provide those details to other people.
One detail that you may see in your policy document is the insurance excess . The excess is how much you would be required to pay towards any claim that you have to make. Most insurers have a compulsory excess, which is something that they set and depends on the details that you gave them when you were setting up your account with them. You can sometimes choose to pay a higher excess in order to reduce the premium that you pay. This is something that you should consider carefully. A very high excess may mean that you sometimes end up in a situation where it is not worth making a claim because the cost of the repair is less than or very similar to the excess. That’s what the company is banking on – you pay less because you are less likely to want to make a claim.
However, in the event of a serious incident, you are still likely to want to call upon your policy. If you go for a long time without having any accidents (which most people certainly aim to do) then a high excess can end up saving you a lot of money.
There are no claims bonuses for people who go for a long period without needing to make a claim, and these will often transfer from company to company. A combination of a long no claims and a high excess can make your policy very affordable indeed if you are an experienced driver.