If you deliver goods for a living in your own vehicle, you will need to ensure that you have the most suitable insurance policy in place. However, one question you may have if you carry out work in your van is whether you will need a van or haulage insurance policy. It is important to know the differences involved before deciding upon the cover. Here are some of the main factors to keep in mind:
- van cover comes in various forms. There is one type of policy that is required if you use a van exclusively for personal use, and one if you use it for work purposes. Car insurance is different because some policies cover you for both personal and business purposes, but with van policies this is not the case;
- if you use your van to transport your own property for the purposes of work (e.g. a builder transporting his tools), you may require a ‘carriage of own goods’ policy. However, this is also usually necessary for any van driver who drives to their place of work, even if they do not specifically use the van for work;
- for occupations that involve making multiple deliveries at various destinations, which could involve courier drivers, a ‘carry goods for hire or reward’ policy may be required;
- for occupations that involve making regular deliveries to established clients, a haulage policy may be needed;
- essentially, if you deliver goods in a lorry or van, you need either a courier or haulage insurance policy. Different insurers, however, have their own definitions for what constitutes haulage drivers and courier drivers. There is also some useful information at Gov.uk on the different types of goods vehicle operators;
- some of the definitions could involve the type of vehicle you drive, how far you travel and how many deliveries you make;
- a typical haulage policy may provide international cover to provide you with protection should you carry out deliveries overseas, as well as goods in transit cover, public liability cover and employers’ liability. It may also cover your personal belongings, breakdowns and vehicle hire. A basic van policy will not typically provide cover for as many things;
- some types of cover require careful attention. For example, with goods in transit cover, there may be limits on the types of items that are covered. For example, valuable items like jewellery may not be protected unless this is specified and highlighted to the insurer;
- the weight of the vehicle may also have to be taken into consideration. If you drive a vehicle above a certain weight, you may be required to take out an HGV insurance policy;
- it is important to make sure you get the most suitable policy for your needs. If you think you are a haulier and get a haulage policy, but the insurance company thinks you have carried out courier work, this could see your insurance become invalid.
If you are unsure whether you need a van, courier or haulage policy, always check with an insurer or a specialist broker. They can then advise you on your situation so you know what type of cover you need.