Whether you drive a van for business or pleasure, you must ensure that your vehicle meets the requirements of the law. As well as making sure your van is roadworthy with a warranty or MOT certificate, you’ll also need an insurance policy designed specifically for your type of van and its purpose.
The short answer is no. You need insurance to be road legal.
Insurance protects you financially if you’re involved in an accident, your van is broken into, or it’s stolen. It works similarly to car insurance, but you’ll need a separate policy for your van. If you use your van for social, domestic or pleasure reasons, private van insurance is the ideal choice; however, for work purposes, depending on the type of work, you may require business or commercial van cover.
If we say so ourselves, temporary van insurance is excellent if you’re moving home and doing the work yourself or unsure how long you need a van, whether for one day or a whole month. These policies offer the greatest flexibility and can be instantly extended via your phone.
AskMID allows you to check your van’s insurance status. MID is an abbreviation of the Motor Insurance Database. Enter your registration number, and it will tell you if your policy is valid. (You can also find out if your car is insured).
AskMID is also jam-packed with useful advice about what to do in the event of an accident and how to stay legal on UK roads. It’s the tool that the police use as part of their Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology. If you are involved in an accident, it can also search for the other vehicle’s insurance details - essential for submitting your insurance claim.
With so many scams around, searching for a second-hand van to purchase or choosing which one to borrow can be worrying, but by using AskMID to check if the vehicle has a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) that the current owner hasn’t told you about, you can relax.
Here's a step-by-step guide for using askMID to find out whether your van is insured.
Even with the best filing system, paperwork easily gets lost, so how can you determine with which provider your van is insured?
The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) - and, yes, we know how annoyingly similar to the MID that is! - has details for every registered vehicle in the UK on their database and manages the MID. For a small fee, they’ll provide information on your insurance history, any claims you’ve made and your current insurance provider.
They can also give you the details of another person, either deceased or living, if you have their permission. This allows you to contact their insurers, informing them of any change of circumstance.
There are other ways to find out who your van insurance is with:
Check your emails - Most insurers will email you confirmation and essential policy details. Use the email search bar to look for words that might relate to van insurance, such as your registration number, and this should bring up any relevant emails
Check your bank statements - Look through your recent bank statements for names of insurance companies. Sometimes, however, the name on the transaction won’t necessarily be as obvious as the name of the provider - it may be the name of their umbrella company. In this case a quick call to your bank should tell you who your van insurance is with
You'll need to get insurance if you plan to use your van. Policies for vans, as with cars, have three levels of cover available:
Fully comprehensive - This covers you and any passengers, your van and any third parties in the event of an accident. It also protects your van against theft, vandalism and fire
Third party, fire and theft - provides cover for any third party property damaged by you. It also protects your van against fire and theft; however, it doesn’t pay out for any other types of damage to your van
Third party only - this is the minimum legal requirement for taking your van on the road and covers any injuries to third parties or damage to their property
Insurance providers, including Cuvva, often include 'carriage of own goods business use' with their van insurance policies. This covers commuting, travelling between different sites or clients, and carrying your equipment or goods. An app for your mobile phone allows you to get instant van cover, meaning a few clicks and you’re ready to go.
If you have a van you don’t want to drive on public roads, you can avoid paying tax or insurance on it by completing a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) declaration.
A SORN prevents you from parking on a public road or in a car park - you’ll have to store your van on a driveway, private land or in a garage. If you are trying to save money and don’t need your van for a period, this can be a good option to explore.
It’s free to apply for SORN, but you will need either:
If you decide you need to drive your van on public roads again, when you reapply for tax, the SORN is automatically cancelled. The same is true if you sell or scrap your van. If you buy a van that is declared SORN, and you don’t plan on driving it anytime soon, you must apply for the SORN document in your name.
As it’s illegal to drive on the UK’s public roads without a valid MOT certificate and vehicle tax, it’s essential to know whether your van or car is taxed and when the MOT is due.
Cuvva have developed a high-tech tool to do exactly that - for free!
Simply put your vehicle registration number into the search bar and instantly display the information. It also gives you the option to look at low-cost insurance options. Quick and easy to use, it saves you time and effort while saving you money!