If you work from your van then it can seem like a strange idea to think about using it for private use. After all, surely you spend enough hours in it in the week? But at the same time, it’s a vehicle you know exactly how to handle and park, and it comes with a lot of room. The question then of whether you use your van in your spare time comes down to practicalities, particularly, insurance.
Commercial Van Insurance
If you use your van for work purposes, it is necessary to have commercial insurance. While it can seem like there are many types of van insurance, there are essentially three main distinctions: commercial use, private use, and vintage van use, referring to those vehicles which are over 25 years old. Commercial van insurance is more expensive than private van insurance because it is assumed that you will have a higher mileage, which means a higher chance of wear and tear to the vehicle’s tires and engine, as well as a higher chance of accidents simply due to spending more time on the road.
Therefore, if you own a van you use for commercial use, you are safe to put it to private use, as the more expensive commercial option already covers high mileage. This will increase if the vehicle is also used for your private affairs in lieu of a second vehicle. However, while the savings of not having to buy and maintain a second vehicle can be impressive, using one vehicle for work and private use will see more miles clocked. This will also lead to slightly higher premiums, and will mean that if the vehicle breaks down, both your private and work life suffers extensively. Often, Commercial car insurance also covers tools within the van in case of theft, as this would prevent you from working.
Private van insurance
If you don’t use your van for any commercial purposes or if you cease to use it for commercial purposes, you must provide evidence of this to your insurer, as it will mean lower premiums due to your reduced mileage. A good way to do this would be to put a black box in your van that would track your routes and could attest to your use of the van as not matching the patterns of a commercially used van. However, if you are using your van commercially and also want to use it for private, there would be no need for this, as the commercial insurance with its higher premiums would already reflect this.
Ensuring the right insurance
It is illegal to drive in the UK without insurance, with a fixed fine of £100 and a potential maximum fine of £1000. It is therefore essential that you have at least third-party insurance. The importance of the commercial van to your business also makes it very prudent to choose comprehensive insurance instead of a less expansive policy. This type of policy covers the whole vehicle, so if any apart of the vehicle is damaged which is not due to another driver, theft or fire, you will be covered, and able to get your vehicle back on the road faster.