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Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Classic van insurance

Reliant Regents, decommissioned milk floats and ice cream vans, psychedelic vehicles best suited to carrying around a rock band or crime-solving teenagers and their dog. Few of us are driving classic vans, but those who do make themselves known - and they’ll need an insurance policy suited to their unusual ride.

But not all “classic vans” are groovy ghost-busting vehicles or eye-catchers. Some are simply older vehicles still on the road and being used for business.

A crossbreed of classic car and van insurance, classic van insurance meets the unique needs of these unconventional vehicles. These policies are available from both mainstream and specialist providers.

In This Guide:

Why do I need classic van insurance?

Classic vans have unique insurance requirements that means standard car or even standard van insurance policies won’t be suitable. Often, insuring older vehicles will be prohibitively expensive or even impossible with standard policies. Specialist classic vehicle insurance policies, from both mainstream and specialist providers, can affordably cover these heritage vehicles.

Classic van insurance policies can also include specialist coverage. This can include repairs, which can be more expensive on classic cars, especially where vintage parts are hard to source. Other extra provisions include for restoration, exhibitions, and races.

What qualifies as a classic van?

“Classic van” invokes images of Volkswagen Campervans and Mr Whippys, but not all vans that meet insurers’ definitions of classic are as iconic, or idiosyncratic. Some are simply old.

What qualifies as a classic van will vary between insurers. Some define any van over 20 years old as a classic, while others put the cutoff at 25 years. Even if you don’t think of your van as a collector’s item, it can be worth getting quotes for classic cover for it. Some insurers will require it for older vans, or you’ll find these policies will be much more affordable.

How much does classic van insurance cost?

Don’t assume that you’ll pay more to cover your classic van. Often insurance policies for classic vans - especially those which are merely old and not historical - are cheaper than those for new vehicles. This is because insurers recognise that older vehicles have lower speeds and simpler mechanics than new vehicles. They’re less likely to be involved in serious crashes and can often be repaired more easily (provided their parts can be sourced).

Furthermore, classic vans are often carefully restored and maintained, and driven with caution by hobbyists.

They’re also often driven less, only rolled out for occasional drives or trips, or parades and shows. But watch out for the strict mileage limits classic policies may impose on you. If you use your classic van more than just occasionally you could blow past them and invalidate your policy.

Factors that influence classic van insurance costs are the same that affect the cost of other auto insurance policies. These include:

  • the driver and his/her age, occupation, address and driving history
  • the level of cover and any extra provisions
  • the amount of the voluntary excess
  • how the vehicle will be used (for private or commercial use); how much it’s driven
  • the vehicle’s type and value (although value can be assessed differently for classic vehicles)

Do you need a commercial or private insurance policy for your classic van?

Many vans, even classic vans, are used for business purposes and will require commercial use insurance policies. And some uses of your classic van that you wouldn’t expect will qualify it as a commercial vehicle.

Commuting to work in your classic van is technically a business use and will mean it needs a commercial use policy. Driving a shaggy-haired, throwback band and their instruments to a gig is also a commercial use, provided they’re being paid in more than beer.

And even just occasional use of the classic van—such as the rare driving of a vehicle usually used as a static advert—means it needs a commercial use policy. But the very low mileage of some of these vehicles will reduce premium costs.

If you use your classic van exclusively for recreation or pleasure, you can obtain a (usually cheaper) private use policy for it. But be aware that not all policies of this class will cover vehicles when they’re driven to rallies, exhibitions, or other events or when they participate in races.

What’s the difference between agreed and market value policies for classic vans?

With some classic van insurance policies, especially those offered by specialist providers, the sum insured matches the agreed, rather than the market, value of the vehicle.

Standard insurance policies only cover the market value, or book price, of the vehicle. That’s the most they’ll pay out if your van is stolen or written off. But for some classic vans, that level of compensation won’t be enough, especially if the owner has poured time and money into lovingly restoring the vehicle.

In those cases, the insurer can cover a value agreed between themselves, the vehicle’s owner, and an independent valuer. To obtain an agreed value policy for your classic van or when you make a claim, you’ll need to show evidence of the van’s condition and receipts for the work done to it. These policies typically cost more than policies that merely cover a market value but will give restorers and classic van enthusiasts security that their passion project is fully insured.

When insuring your "classic" or old van, you must think about how you'll want, or need, to use it before taking out an insurance policy. And make sure you compare van insurance policies from different providers.