Young drivers have always been a target for increased premiums, no matter what vehicle they drive. That’s the price we all pay for being inexperienced and, at least theoretically, more likely to be influenced by friends into making foolish decisions.
Most newly qualified drivers get around this to varying degrees by choosing older cars with smaller engines – but what if that’s not suitable? For many new young drivers, getting behind the wheel is a key part of their job, and often a more practical vehicle is required.
But for those wishing to get behind the wheel of a van, the costs can increase immeasurably – after all, it’s a bigger, heavier and usually more powerful form of transport. So how do you get the best possible price for van insurance when you’ve only recently passed your test?
The short answer is that there isn’t a magic formula for instant savings – but hopefully, by following the tips listed below, you’ll be able to shave a little cost off the price of your van insurance premium.
Step 1: Choose your van carefully
Just as with cars, not all vans are created equal. While you might quite like to take to the roads in a 4.0 litre heavyweight, for most younger drivers a smaller van will meet your work needs whilst keeping insurance costs down. The weight, too, will factor – vans over 3,500kg are usually in a higher insurance bracket. There are many compact, lightweight vans with a 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre engine that will provide more than enough space and power to ferry you, a colleague and a few tools around.
To get an idea of some of the cheaper models on the market, take a look at this Parkers feature on the most cost-effective vans to insure.
Step 2: Shop around
The golden rule for anyone looking for insurance – or, indeed, any kind of service – is to shop around for the best deals. It can be tiresome trawling through site after site, filling in the same forms each time – so cut the hassle and use a comparison site that specialises in van insurance, such as Compare Van Insurance, that can offer young driver van insurance quotes against a wide range of comparable UK insurance companies.
Step 3: Stick to the basics
If you’re on a budget, then keep things simple with a no-frills policy. That doesn’t mean you need to skimp on things like comprehensive cover – especially if you use the van for work – but insurance companies are always keen to offer additional extras for temptingly low prices. After a few clicks, though, those little prices can quickly add up to being an extra £30-40 a month. So make sure you only pay for the cover you need.
Step 4: Boost your excess
Another way for anyone to reduce their premium is to increase their voluntary excess. Every insurance policy has a mandatory excess – the minimum that everyone has to pay towards any insurance claim – but most give you the option to voluntarily contribute more. If you think it’s unlikely you’d ever claim from your insurance (which can be the case if you’re driving an older van, where the cost of repairing it is more than the cost of the van itself) then opting for a higher voluntary excess can reduce your monthly or annual payment considerably.
Step 5: Invest in security
Make your van as unpalatable to thieves as possible by giving it every additional security feature you can think of. Wheel locks, motion sensor cameras and even simple things like stickers stating you don’t keep tools in your van overnight can deter would-be raiders. Check out companies like Van Locks for a great selection of products designed to keep your van safe at any time.
It is worth noting, though, that if you do keep tools in your vehicle overnight then they won’t be covered by your insurance – and if anything happened, you may find your claim won’t be honoured. Anything of value should always be removed from the van at night and stored somewhere secure.
Step 6: Get your employer to pay
Of course, if it’s looking like getting young driver insurance for your van is still going to cost a pretty penny, it’s worth asking if your employer can cover or contribute towards the cost. This should be the case if you’re driving a company vehicle, but if you’re expected to provide your own transport then paying for your own insurance is probably part of the deal too – and it’s is definitely down to you if you’re self-employed.
Step 7: Take additional driving courses
Another way to show insurers that you’re less of a risk is to take additional driving courses. There are bespoke van-driving courses you can attend that cost a few hundred pounds but have the potential to knock that off your premium, and are also valid for the rest of your driving career (as long as you retain your licence).
Companies like Specialised HGV offer training for various types of vehicles, and even if you’re not planning on driving any of them immediately, if your role may require it in the future it’s probably a worthwhile investment sooner rather than later. Many courses only require you to be 18 years or older too, making it an accessible option for many young drivers.
Step 8: Get a black box fitted
An alternative to extra driving courses is to fit a black box, which is already a popular move among young car drivers. It monitors your driving style, including speed, times of day when you’re most active, when you accelerate (and how quickly) as well as how often you brake (and how sharply) to determine how sensible a driver you are. This all then factors into an algorithm which works out if you’re a safer driver than might otherwise be assumed, which can lower your premium.
You won’t need to take all of these steps in order to reduce the cost of your insurance, but with any luck at least some of them will keep your wallet – and you – happy.