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Flatbed van insurance

Flatbed vans, sometimes known as dropside vans or dropside lorries, are vans with open, roofless backs, and typically sides which drop down to open. They’re not as ubiquitous as the white panel vans used by tradespeople but are of particular use in the building industry as they can be used to transport oversized or unusually shaped equipment and materials from site to site.

These vehicles require van insurance policies tailored to their unique build and to include the risk of theft of equipment and materials carried in them. Here’s what to look for when insuring a flatbed van.

In This Guide:

Types of insurance for flatbed vans

Nearly all flatbed vans will be used for business purposes and will require commercial use insurance policies. These policies are different from private use policies, which cover vans used exclusively for recreational purposes.

There are a few types of commercial van insurance. The following are the most appropriate for flatbed vans:

  • own goods van insurance: policies which cover the vehicle and your personal or your business’ property, including equipment and materials, carried or stored in it. They won’t cover materials and equipment owned by others, including clients. These policies will require you to secure the vehicle properly. In the case of flatbed vans, which are open in the back, they won’t allow you to leave belongings in the bed while the vehicle is unattended or overnight.
  • haulage insurance: policies which cover vehicles on long journeys to drop off goods. They won’t cover the goods themselves but do cover the unique risks of long drives to transport them, including motorway driving and theft.
  • goods in transit cover: policies cover the vehicle and cargo carried in it - goods or materials owned by third parties, including clients. These policies will be appropriate for flatbed van owners transporting goods owned by others.

There are other kinds of van insurance, including courier insurance, but these are probably less appropriate for the ways flatbed vans are usually used.

You’ll also need to decide on the level of cover for your flatbed van: either third party liability; third party, fire and theft; or fully comprehensive.

How to find insurance for your flatbed van

When you start to look for insurance quotes for your flatbed van, you’ll need to specify the make and model of the van. Because more expensive, heavier, and more high-powered vehicles are more risky and costly to insure, insurers use this information as part of the calculation of your premiums.

You usually won’t have to seek out specialised ‘flatbed van insurance.’ Most van insurers will cover these vehicles. However, flatbed vans can be more expensive than other vans to insure. They’re very versatile but because of their open loads, can be very difficult to drive and can be targeted by thieves.

When searching for a policy, you’ll also need to supply information about who will be driving the flatbed van, including their age and occupation. You’ll have to disclose any modifications you’ve made the van, how the van will be used, and what it will be carrying.

How to save money on insurance for your flatbed van

Here’s how to trim costs on your flatbed van insurance:

  • increase security: The open beds of flatbed vans make them a particular target of thieves. Usually, your insurance policy will only be valid if the loaded vehicle is never left unattended and if it’s properly secured at night, in a garage or locked yard. But you can earn discounts on your premiums if you add extra insurance industry-approved security systems, including alarms, trackers, and immobilisers.
  • consider multi van insurance: If your company owns several vans, even if they’re of different types, you can insure them under the same policy. A multi van, or fleet, insurance policy reduces the hassle and confusion of holding many policies. And insurers often give you discounts for insuring multiple vehicles with them.
  • increase your voluntary excess: The excess is the amount the insurer requires you to contribute to any repairs or to replace a van. All insurance policies will have a set minimum excess, but you can increase the level of your voluntary excess and see savings on your premiums. You’ll need to ensure your business has the funds to meet that excess, however, should you need to claim on the policy for your van.