What do you need: haulage or van insurance?

It is a good question – and one on which there seems to be no definitive agreement even amongst insurers themselves. Perhaps the most straight forward answer, therefore, may be found by consulting either a specialist insurance provider or your insurer directly about the kind of cover you need for the haulage or delivery business you are in.

The following are some of the considerations which may point you in the right direction when weighing up van or haulage insurance:

  • of the three principal use categories adopted by many insurers, one relates to the carriage of goods which you own or goods owned by others in the same broad area of business as yourself – this is generally recognised as commercial van insurance;

  • haulage is typically described as the carriage for reward of goods or materials belonging to a third party – and generally between two fixed points, rather than to a number of delivery addresses;

  • the third use class may be familiar to anyone who has insured a private motor car and is limited only for social, domestic and pleasure purposes, so it is a form of van insurance, therefore, but not if any work activity is contemplated – unlike car insurance which might include business and social use, this is not the case with van insurance;

  • the cheapest premiums in these insurance-use classes are likely to be those restricted to social, domestic and pleasure;

  • commercial van insurance is likely to attract the next most expensive premiums;

  • whilst so-called haulage insurance may attract the highest cost premiums – and although it may be called haulage insurance it is worth noting that courier or delivery van services also need this level of insurance cover;

  • the official government website offers some useful information about being a goods vehicle operator – and the types of licence you need to drive different classes of goods vehicle – but provides no definitive distinction between haulage and van delivery or courier services;

  • some insurers may distinguish between haulage and van insurance simply on the weight of the vehicle being used – and insisting on an HGV insurance policy, for example, if a vehicle above a certain weight is being driven;

  • haulage insurance is probably more likely to include, or include the optional addition of, goods in transit insurance, whilst van insurance may offer rather more basic cover which does not extend to the goods being carried or delivered;

  • it is generally accepted that haulage work involves the carriage for hire or reward of single loads over generally longer distances;

  • van or courier work, on the other hand, is typically seen as involving the delivery, to multiple addresses within the same general location.

  • Although these considerations might point you in the general direction of deciding whether you need haulage or van insurance, they are by no means definitive standards. Yet, if you get it wrong, and need to make a claim on, say, your van insurance but the insurer considered haulage insurance to be necessary, your claim might be rejected.

    The potential cost of making the wrong decision, therefore, may be sufficient reason to consult the experts in this field, specialist insurance providers. With the expertise and experience typically gained by such providers, you may only need to describe the kind of haulage or courier business in which you are involved in order for the appropriate haulage or van insurance to be arranged.

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