What Types of Insurance Do Tradesmen Need for Their Vans? - The Redditch Standard

What Types of Insurance Do Tradesmen Need for Their Vans?

Redditch Editorial 19th Jun, 2024   0

Tradesmen rely on their vans as an essential tool for their business, using them to transport tools, equipment and materials to job sites. But with this daily use comes a certain level of risk – from accidents and breakdowns to theft and damage. That’s why having the right insurance in place is critical to protect your van, your livelihood and your legal obligations as a tradesman.

So, what types of insurance do tradesmen need for their vans? Here’s a rundown of the key covers to consider:

Commercial Van Insurance

First and foremost, you’ll need a dedicated commercial or business van insurance policy. Standard car insurance won’t be valid if you use your van for business purposes – instead you need specialist cover that reflects your trade and the increased risk associated with higher mileage, heavier loads and the tools or equipment you carry.

Commercial van policies come in three main levels:

• Carriage of own goods: For tradesmen who use their van to carry their own tools, equipment and materials.




• Carriage of goods for hire or reward: If you transport other people’s goods or products in exchange for payment, such as operating a delivery service alongside your trade.

• Haulage: Needed if you deliver goods or materials for other companies as a full-time occupation.


All commercial policies will include some level of liability insurance as standard. This can include:

• Public liability: Covering injury or property damage to third parties caused by your business activities. For example, if materials fall from your van and damage a parked car.

• Employers’ liability: A legal requirement if you have any staff, even part-time or temporary workers. It covers injury or illness claims from employees.

You can then choose from three levels of protection for your van itself:

• Third party only: The minimum level of cover, this only pays out for damage you cause to other people’s vehicles or property. Damage to your own van is not covered.

• Third party, fire and theft: Includes third party only cover and also protects your van from fire damage or theft. But damage from other causes, like accidents, isn’t included.

• Comprehensive: The highest level of cover available, this protects your van in almost any event including accidents, malicious damage, fire and theft. It also covers third party injury and damage claims.

While third party only cover is usually the cheapest, it’s generally advisable for tradesmen to opt for comprehensive insurance given how integral their van is to their work. You can keep costs down by choosing a van in a low insurance group, building up a no claims bonus and paying annually instead of monthly.

Goods in Transit Insurance

On top of your standard van insurance, goods in transit cover protects the tools, equipment and materials you carry in your van. Policies can include cover for:

• Theft, loss or damage of goods while in transit

• Damage caused by accidents, fire or water

• Goods that are lost or damaged during loading and unloading

• Overnight storage in your van, up to a specified limit

Goods in transit insurance is often an optional extra, so you’ll need to request it and make sure the value of cover is high enough to replace all your gear if the worst happens. Some policies also exclude theft unless there’s clear evidence of forced entry to your van, so always check the small print.

Breakdown Cover

Breaking down is more than just an inconvenience when you’re a tradesman – it can mean missed jobs, lost income and unhappy customers. The right breakdown policy will get you back on the road quickly if your van fails and help you honour your commitments.

Look for a policy that includes:

• Roadside assistance and emergency repairs

• Vehicle recovery to a garage if your van can’t be fixed

• Onward travel or a replacement van so you can still get to jobs

• Cover for misfuelling, flat tyres and flat batteries

For an extra premium, you can also get cover for breakdowns at your home address, European trips and a guaranteed replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired after an accident or theft.

Legal Expenses Insurance

Legal expenses cover does what it says on the tin – it pays your legal costs if you need to settle a dispute or claim in court. For tradesmen, this could include:

• Pursuing compensation if you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault

• Defending claims brought against you by employees or members of the public

• Recovering debts from clients who haven’t paid for your work

• Disputes with your van insurance provider over a claim settlement

While legal cover is rarely compulsory, it offers valuable protection and peace of mind in case you’re ever drawn into a legal battle. Some policies will also give you access to a 24/7 legal advice line for guidance on any business-related legal matters.

Personal Accident Cover

Driving a van for work can mean long hours behind the wheel and lots of physical activity, from lifting and loading to working on building sites. An accident or injury could put you out of action for weeks or months, leaving you unable to earn a living.

Personal accident insurance pays a lump sum or weekly benefit amount if you’re injured and can’t work as a result of an accident in your van. It can help tide you over financially while you recover, covering things like medical costs, living expenses and lost income.

Most van insurance policies include a basic level of personal accident cover as standard, but it’s usually only a nominal amount. For more comprehensive protection, you can add personal accident cover as an optional extra or take out a standalone policy.

As a tradesman, your van is your mobile office, storeroom and workhorse all in one – so it pays to keep it properly protected. While insurance costs are an added expense, the financial fallout of an accident, theft or legal claim could be far worse.

Consider your commercial van insurance the foundation, covering your legal liabilities and damage to your vehicle. You can then build on this with extra protection like goods in transit, breakdown, legal expenses and personal accident cover to create a comprehensive safety net for your business.

Remember, the cheapest insurance isn’t always the best. Instead, look for policies that offer the right level of cover for your needs, backed by reliable customer service, a strong claims record and added benefits tailored to your trade.

With the right insurance in place, you can have total confidence that you’re covered against the everyday risks of running your business. And that will leave you free to focus on what you do best – putting your skills to work.

​​What type of van insurance do most tradespeople need?

For most tradespeople, the type of van insurance cover needed will be ‘carriage of own goods’, as this covers the van for business use and personal possessions, as well as the tools or equipment that you need to carry out your job.

What does full liability insurance cover for builders?

Full liability insurance for builders can help cover legal and compensation costs if, for example, some brickwork fell and damaged a nearby car, and you were found liable for the damage.

When do you need commercial van insurance?

You’ll need commercial van insurance if you use your personal van for business purposes or to commute to work. If you use your van purely for socialising and not travelling to your place of work, then you’ll need a private ‘social only’ policy.

What is handyman public liability insurance and why is it important?

As a handyman, you will interact with the general public almost daily, as you fix, build, and maintain various aspects of your customers’ homes. Handyman public liability insurance is important because it covers you in the event that injury or death is caused to a member of the public as a result of your work, or if damage is caused to a third party’s property.

What details may you be asked to provide when insuring your van?

When insuring your van, you may be asked to provide details such as your name, age, occupation, full address, previous claims and convictions, medical conditions, van use, and full van details including age, registration, make and model, and any van modifications.

Does your car insurance policy automatically cover you to drive a van?

Not necessarily. Even if you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, it might only cover you to drive a van on a third-party only basis. This means that if you have an accident when driving the van, you’ll only be covered for damage to other vehicles or injuries to other people involved, not you or the van you’re driving.

How much does tradesman insurance typically cost?

The cost of tradesman insurance can vary depending on factors like the level of coverage. For example, a basic policy with £6.19 per month may not include commercial legal protection or cover for tools, while a more comprehensive policy at £20.58 per month might include £100,000 of commercial legal protection and £2,500 of tool coverage.

What does tradesman public liability insurance cover?

Tradesman public liability insurance is designed to cover the policyholder in the event that injury or death is caused to a member of the public, or damage is caused to a third party’s property, as a result of the work being carried out by the policyholder.

Article written By Tom Riley at Digital medi

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