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Information written by Rhiannon Philps Last updated on 19 April 2022.

Who is van breakdown cover for?

Van breakdown cover is for anyone who owns and drives a van, whether you’re a sole-trader, a business, or someone with a personal van. Vans are integral to many people’s jobs including plumbers, cleaners, electricians, gardeners, delivery drivers, and even dog walkers, and breakdown cover can make sure you aren’t left stranded for long if your vehicle breaks down.

If you have a van and don’t use it for business, you may be able to take out standard breakdown cover instead of a specific policy for vans. Many providers will cover vans as well as cars, bikes and more under their usual breakdown policy, as long as the vehicle meets its specifications and requirements.

Some vans may not be eligible for standard cover, maybe because they are too tall, wide, or heavy, or because they are used commercially. In these cases, specialist commercial van breakdown cover may be more appropriate.

Businesses with multiple vehicles could cover all of them under one fleet breakdown policy.

What is commercial vehicle breakdown cover and fleet breakdown cover?

Commercial breakdown cover is designed for vehicles that are used for business purposes, whether that’s a tradesman transporting equipment between jobs or a delivery driver carrying food or other goods. Standard breakdown policies don’t normally cover any commercial activities, so you would need to get commercial cover for your car or van if you use it for business.

Fleet breakdown cover also covers commercial vehicles, but these kinds of policies are aimed at businesses with multiple vehicles. Companies can take out a fleet breakdown policy for cars and vans to make sure their drivers can call for emergency help if something goes wrong with their vehicle while they are on the road.

» MORE: What is business breakdown cover?

What types of policies are available?

Breakdown cover is available as a personal policy (where the cover applies to the driver) or as a vehicle policy (where the cover applies to the vehicle).

If you only use your van for personal use, you could get cover from a standard breakdown policy and choose either personal or vehicle-based cover.

However, if you use your van commercially, you may not always have this choice. Some providers will only offer vehicle-based policies as part of their commercial van breakdown cover. This means that anyone driving the vehicle(s) named on the policy will have cover. This type of cover could suit many businesses, as they are likely to regularly have different people driving different vehicles.

What level of cover can you get?

You can get breakdown cover for your van with varying levels of protection.

  • Roadside assistance is the basic level of cover that will help you out in an emergency. If you break down, you can call your provider and a mechanic will come to your van. They will try to get it going again or, if it needs further work, they will take it to a nearby garage.
  • Home start means if your van stops working at home (or its registered address), you will be able to call for help under your cover. Without this, most policies will only cover you once you’re a certain distance away from home.
  • National recovery, also known as vehicle recovery, offers a bit more protection than roadside assistance. If your van needs towing to a garage, this level of cover allows you to choose where to go in the UK, rather than just going to the nearest garage.
  • Onward travel allows you to choose where you get towed to and also offers a replacement van while your own vehicle is at the garage for repairs. This is the most comprehensive level of cover, and subsequently the most expensive, but it can help to minimise the disruption a breakdown could cause to your business.

Can you get European breakdown cover for vans?

You can get European breakdown cover for vans, but you will need to add this to your existing cover or buy it as a separate policy. A standard van policy will only cover you in the UK, so you should take out European cover if you want to give yourself peace of mind before going abroad.

Breakdown cover isn’t the only thing you’ll need to think about if you’re planning to drive your van in Europe. Check out what has changed about driving in Europe post-Brexit so you don’t get any surprises when you go to cross the border.

» COMPARE: Single-trip and annual European breakdown cover

Van Breakdown Cover FAQs

Who can buy van breakdown cover?

Individual van owners and businesses that own one or more vans can get van breakdown cover. If you use your van for personal use then a standard breakdown policy may be sufficient, but if you use it for business activities, you can get a specialist commercial van breakdown policy.

Am I covered if I break down while driving someone else’s van?

This depends on the type of cover you have and if the van you drive is covered. If you have personal breakdown cover, you will be able to make a claim whatever vehicle you drive (as long as it meets the terms of the breakdown provider). However, if you took out vehicle cover for your van, you will only have cover when driving that particular van.

If the other person’s van is covered by a vehicle breakdown policy, then you may be covered under that.

Do I need commercial vehicle breakdown cover for my van?

If you use your van for business purposes, whether that’s delivering goods or transporting equipment between jobs, you will need commercial breakdown cover. Standard policies won’t cover commercial vehicles.

Can I make a claim immediately after getting van breakdown cover?

Cover on most breakdown policies will only begin a certain amount of time after you take out the policy, often 24 hours. However, with some policies, you will be able to make a claim straightaway.

What types of vehicles can I cover?

You can get breakdown cover for all kinds of vehicles. Most standard breakdown policies will cover cars, vans, motorbikes and more, with specialist policies available for vehicles that don’t meet the requirements for this ordinary cover. Van breakdown policies will normally be able to cover an array of different types of vans, including those that are used for commercial activities.

How can I find cheap van breakdown cover?

You can find cheap van breakdown cover by comparing policies from different providers. Once you know what kind of policy you need and what level of protection you want, you can look at how much they cost from each provider. It’s important to make sure you choose a breakdown policy with the cover you need, which may not always be the very cheapest option.

About the author:

Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more

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1 product found
  • GEM Motoring Assist logo

    Van Cover

    • Available
      • Roadside Assistance
      • National Recovery
      • Home Start
      • Onward Travel
      • European Cover
    • Personal
      Price (From)
    • Vehicle
      Price (From)
      Option unavailable

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