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Pickup van insurance

Britons use pickup trucks for everything from business to recreation or simply to get around. Insurers treat these vehicles as vans rather than cars (due to their long wheelbases) and require you to get a van insurance policy for them. Many pickups are used for business purposes and therefore need a commercial insurance policy, which can also include coverage for equipment and cargo carried in the vehicle.

But even if you just use your pickup for your own purposes and not for business, you’ll need a specialist auto insurance policy. Pickups are heavier and more expensive than most cars on the road, so a standard policy won’t suffice.

In This Guide:

What type of pickup van insurance do you need?

When choosing an insurance policy for your pickup, you’ll need to consider both which class of policy you want and the level of cover.

There are two classes of pickup insurance, related to how you use the vehicle:

  • commercial use policies: for pickup vehicles used in connection with your business
  • private use policies: for pickups you don’t use in connection with a business but rather exclusively for private or recreational purposes.

Be careful when selecting a class, however, because even commuting to work in a pickup can qualify as a commercial use.

Additionally, as with any motor insurance policy, there are three different levels of cover for pickup insurance:

  • third party cover: the minimum required by law; policies which pay for any damage you cause to a third party’s vehicles, property or injury to them but don’t cover the cost of repairing or replacing your pickup
  • third party, fire and theft: policies which offer both third party cover and cover your pickup if it’s damaged by a fire or stolen
  • fully comprehensive: policies which cover all of the above plus damage to your vehicle sustained in accidents and through other mishaps. These are the most extensive policies but won’t necessarily be the most expensive.

What is a commercial use policy for a pickup?

If you use your pickup for commercial purposes, even just occasionally to move material and stock, you’ll need to cover it with a commercial or business use insurance policy.

There are four main types of insurance for pickups used for commercial purposes, depending on how you use the vehicle and what you carry in it:

  • own goods van insurance: policies which cover your possessions stored in the vehicle, including the tools you need for your trade but don’t cover other people’s goods or cargo. Policies will vary in the total value of contents they’ll cover, and you’ll have to properly secure the vehicle and usually not leave the items in the vehicle overnight.
  • haulage insurance: policies which cover long journeys to drop off goods at one location. These policies don’t typically cover the goods you’re carrying but do cover the hazards of long journeys with that cargo, including increased risk of theft and damage incurred through theft.
  • courier insurance: policies for pickups which are used to deliver other people’s goods on short trips. These policies come with coverage and premiums which reflect the unique risks of couriering goods, including high mileage, frequent stops, and the carrying of products which might be of interest to thieves. They don’t, however, cover the goods themselves.
  • goods in transit cover: These policies do cover the cargo your pickup truck is carrying, goods owned by your clients and not your business itself. When searching for quotes for pickup van insurance you’ll need to disclose the type of materials the vehicle will carry and may need to find a specialist policy or extra cover if you’re carrying hazardous goods or specialists materials.

What is a private use policy for a pickup?

Private use or social use policies cover pickups exclusively used for private or recreational purposes, including simple driving, carrying sports or camping equipment, moving personal possessions or those owned by family members or friends, without remuneration.

These policies will generally be cheaper than those for commercial vehicles but won’t include any provision for contents stored in the van. Using your van for business purposes can invalidate these policies. Even commuting to your place of work in your pickup can make it ineligible for a private use policy.

Additionally, many insurers don’t offer private use policies for pickup trucks over a certain size, such as the Toyota Hilux. They classify these vehicles as light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and will require you to get a commercial use policy for them, even if you’re using them exclusively recreationally.

How much does pickup van insurance cost?

The cost of your pickup insurance will depend on several factors:

  • class of use: commercial van insurance policies for your pickup will be more expensive than private use policies
  • coverage for contents or cargo: what you’re carrying in the vehicle, its value, whether it’s owned by your business or clients, and whether it’s covered by your policy will also influence your premiums. Carrying hazardous or high-value items will inflate your premiums, whether those items are covered by the policy or not.
  • size and weight of the pickup: larger, heavier vehicles are more expensive to insure. In fact, the largest vehicles might not even qualify for private use policies.
  • who’s behind the wheel: information about the driver, or drivers, of the vehicle will also influence premiums, with everything from age, occupation, and driving record are of interest to insurers.