Van insurance premiums reached a record £1,881 last month, the latest analysis from insurance market experts Consumer Intelligence shows. Its Van Insurance Index shows that average premiums for new customers were at the end of March, up by 2% compared with 12 months ago. The cost of insurance on vans, tools and equipment is one of the key overheads for many sole traders and self-employed contractors, most of whom have had to bear the brunt of the lockdown financial pain.
While those in employment have been offered 80% of their salary, and many public sector workers are at home on full pay, small traders have often found that no help is available, as they lack registered business premises and are NOT a limited company.
Prices for young drivers fell by 9.9% in the past 12 months, although average premiums for 17-24 year olds were still eye watering at £4,415 in the absence of a large telematics presence in the van market which has helped to lower prices for young car drivers.
Drivers aged 25-49 saw a 5.9% increase in whilst over the 50s received quotes which were on average 6.6% higher than 12 months ago.
Consumer Intelligence warns of pricing turbulence in the months ahead as the number of van drivers falls during lockdown and those that remain drive less. Insurers are predicted to make savings on claims as the number of vehicles on the roads has fallen by 59% compared to February but this will be tempered by delays to planned whiplash claims reforms.
And according to a flash poll by Consumer Intelligence, 55% of sole traders have had to either cease trading or plan to in the months ahead.
Pricing expert John Blevins says: “Many ‘man-and-van’ businesses are ceasing to trade because of the pandemic with policy cancellations likely in the coming months.
“Reduced new business volumes or cancellations are likely to dent insurers’ profitability, so prices could yet go either way,” he adds.
Once lockdown lifts, it may well be the army of UK van drivers who are the first to hit the road again to earn their living.
“Those who’ve cancelled their policies may see an increase to their premiums or, indeed, given the lack of claims made, potentially even a reduction – but it’s a risk they take,” says Blevins.
“Anyone who does cancel their insurance policy needs to register their vehicle as off the road with DVLA and will not be covered for theft.
“As always, it’s best for drivers to have a conversation with their insurer about any savings they can make from driving less and to shop around for the best price at renewal.”