Looking for Modified Van Insurance?
Whether you drive a converted VW Transporter or a performance modified Ford Transit, from Mercedes Sprinters to Renault Trafics, vans are modified for work, leisure and performance the length and breadth of the UK.
Van modifications are commonplace in the UK, with insurers classifying any changes undertaken outside of the factory as a modification. This guide explores types of van modification, the impact on insurance quotes and how to get the best price for your van.
Types of Modified Van Insurance
Comparing modified van insurance in the UK can be a minefield. Drop-down choices designed to help insurers classify your vehicle within one of 50 insurance groups, don’t always have the option you need, especially when it comes to modified vans.
Even before you get to listing modifications, you’ll need to select the type of insurance you’re looking for. Depending on the insurer, you can usually choose between:
- Private Van (leisure vans; surfers, cyclists, campers),
- Carriage of Goods (trade vans; electricians, gardeners, plumbers)
- Hire & Reward (taxi vans).
Modified Van Insurance Costs
Often modified vans don’t fit within the ABI’s 50 insurance groups. Plus vans are bigger than most cars, can cause more damage if involved in an accident and cost more to repair or replace if damaged. All of these factors push up modified van insurance costs in the UK. Add to this additional risks, such as body kit modifications increasing the risk of theft, and vans with performance modifications being more likely to be involved in an accident, and it’s easy to see why insurers get jittery around modified vans. Some modifications you might not even realise are modifications. For example, additional windows, seating or storage – although these are not sports or performance mods, in the eyes of insurers, if your van is not exactly how it left the factory, it’s integrity could have been compromised and the additional work is not guaranteed.
Useful modified van insurance facts:
Levels of Cover for Modified Vans
Insuring a modified van is the same as insuring any vehicle on UK roads. Third Party is the level of cover required by law and will only cover damage caused by you to others. Third party fire and theft covers others and your own van should it be stolen or catch fire. Comprehensive insurance covers accidental damage caused by you to others or your own van.
Taking your modified to Europe?
If you plan of taking your van abroad, either for work for leisure, you’ll need to arrange additional cover with your insurer or take out additional temporary cover as and when you need it. Some policies included European cover automatically although it’s likely that this will only be third party. If you need more than this or if require commercial cover, then speak directly with your insurer.
It’s also a good idea to check if the countries you’ll be driving in require you to carry a green card. It’s usually quite straight forward to request these form your insurer, however the rules are changing on European travel for UK citizens from January 2021 so check the documentation you require carefully and remember to carry it with you.
What about breakdown cover?
If you are carrying valuable equipment or your van has been modified for specific use, breaking down can have added complications. If you’re taking out breakdown cover it’s worth including a replacement vehicle with similar modifications, so that business or your vacation can continue uninterrupted.
Performance, Leisure and Work Van Modifications
Any change to your van since it left the factory is classed as a modification, although not all modifications impact on the cost of your van insurance. For example, changes to your van’s security such as installing tracking systems, immobilisers or alarms, especially if these are insurer recognised / Thatcham approved, can actually help to reduce insurance quotes.
Many standard insurers will also insure van modifications such as parking sensors, dash cams, towbars or roof racks without too much fuss, just so long as they know about them.
Insurance for modified trade vans
Vans that have been modified for work often require specialist insurance, for example if you’ve installed permanent catering equipment, refrigeration systems, jet washing, tipping or lifting equipment, or additional storage or workstations, all of these increase the value of your van and your insurance costs.
If you’re taking out modified trade van insurance you may also want to think about Goods in Transit Insurance and/or Tool Insurance and be very clear on whether you are insured if you leave goods, tools or an equipment in your van overnight.
Insurance for modified campervans
Unless your van is a factory issued camper, many campervans are converted/modified vans. It’s very popular in the UK to for amateur or professional converters to install beds, kitchens, washing facilities, pop-up roofs, additional windows, seating and storage as well as additional power supplies within vans and all of these impact on insurance costs.
Performance modified van insurance
Many van enthusiasts choose performance modifications and functional alterations, making changes to the suspension, the wheelbase, the exhaust, improving engine performance, adding turbo chargers, additional visual and audio equipment, body kits, alloys and spoilers to name just a few. These are likely to be the most expensive modifications to insure, so if you are thinking of buying a van with any of these or doing the work yourself, it’s worth getting a few insurance quotes first just to check the impact of the modifications on the cost of your premium.
How to Reduce Modified Van Insurance Costs
Trade vans, campervans, vans used for carry sports equipment, bikes, surf boards, fishing gear – there’s no denying vans are really useful, functional and flexible in how they can be kitted out. From Nissans to Mitsubishi’s, Vauxhalls to Citroens, the Ford Transit to the Volkswagen Transporter series, vans are hugely popular all over the UK and all can be modified.
- Use a specialist insurer – bespoke doesn’t always mean expensive, sometimes it means understanding the true risks involved and being willing to underwrite accordingly.
- Choose your modifications carefully – functional mods can be cheaper to insurer than performance modifications, but not always.
- If possible, consider an agreed mileage or telematics policy
- Add a named driver – sharing the driving means sharing the risk, although make sure their licence is clean.
- Join an enthusiast’s club – often this speaks to your care and passion for your vehicle, so if you’re a member of an owner’s club be sure to tell your insurer, alternatively ask your club for insurers they recommend.
- Invest in security and preferably keep your van in a locked garage overnight.
Modified Van Insurance – Useful FAQs
This depends on the modifications, but generally you can expect to pay more to insure a modified van.
Worst case scenario for failing to adequately insure a modified van is having your policy invalidated on the ground on nondisclosure. Not only would this make you personally responsible for costs resulting from an accident, but you could also be prosecuted for driving without insurance and receive a N10 endorsement on your licence.
Yes, insurance for modified imported vans is available if you shop around a little, including insurance for grey import vans and American and Japanese imports.