With 3M registered vans on UK roads, it would be impossible to write one single commercial vehicle policy that would cover every van driver’s insurance needs without overcharging a lot of others for services that they won’t necessarily ever use.
However, most van drivers want insurance against a common set of elements; therefore, the way that insurance firms and brokers deal with this, in the main, is by creating one base policy document and exclude certain aspects that are particular to only a handful of trades.
It is these extras to the base policy that are the exclusions.
For example, Derek the window cleaner wouldn’t necessarily need travel to Europe on his van insurance policy and neither would a whole host of other tradesmen. Having ‘Green Card’ cover – your insurance for travelling on many of the European roads – is quite an expensive element in its own rite. In order that the majority of van drivers aren’t paying for a product they don’t need, it is excluded from the base policy document but can be added as an ‘ancillary‘ product for those whose business (such as couriers) may see them taking the trip across The Channel on a regular basis.
Going back to Derek, he may have a small van for better fuel efficiency, greener carbon footprint and cheaper van insurance due to the engine capacity, but the telescopic ladders he carries in the back of the van are not only expensive but are essential to his livelihood.
Paul the Flower Courier, however, carries no such tools in the back of his small van, only flowers. In this instance, Derek would add Tool Cover as an ancillary product to the base van insurance policy (as it is excluded, as standard), whereas Paul would have no need for this service which, depending on the value of tools need to be insured, will affect the price of the ancillary cover Derek takes out to cover his ladders.
These are ‘obvious’ exclusions, but there are high-risk exclusions that you also need to be aware of that you may not be able to add. For example, if you have your tools stolen but it is proven that you left the keys to your van in the lock on the back door, your claim may become invalid due to the negligent part you played in your own downfall – you cannot insure against this type of oversight.
Likewise, if you were to have your door ripped off by an oncoming lorry as you were waiting for roadside assistance as a result of a breakdown, providing you have taken out breakdown coer as an extra to your van policy, you could cover the call-out and repair costs but, as you were breaking the law by leaving your door overhanging into a motorway lane, it is unlikely that the van insurance policy will cover for the replacement door.
There are other ancillary products that you can prepare for through your van insurance – we will discuss those further in the next article, later today.