Volkswagen van driver stopped for insurance omission
When is the best time to buy van insurance? Well, if you do not yet have cover for your vehicle or your existing cover is due to expire, the answer is a resounding “now”.
This reality was brought home to a Volkswagen van driver from Leeds who, after being caught speeding by police in the vehicle he had just bought, was found to be driving without van insurance. Police officers from Derbyshire Roads Policing Unit stopped the van driver in December last year as he made his way along the A38 from Burton, where he had just purchased the vehicle, to his home in Leeds.
The result? Well, the van was seized by police, leaving the man's livelihood in the balance as he waited to discover when he would get his van back.
Local news media reported that when police asked the driver if he had van insurance cover for his commercial vehicle, the driver replied by answering, “Insurance? Not bothered."
Reports do not detail how the van driver managed to get home, but it is conceivable that he had a very long and very cold walk indeed.
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Van drivers uncertain of their vehicle’s insurance category
Is it a car or is it a van? This simple-seeming question is, it appears, rather more difficult to answer than many drivers might imagine. This revelation comes after one non-specialist van insurance comparison website revealed that last year 129,000 van drivers attempted to insure their vans with car insurance products. Interestingly, the phenomenon is not confined to van drivers; the insurance website revealed that nearly 50,000 car drivers attempted to get van insurance quotes for their cars.
The fact that hundreds of thousands of drivers are confused about the type of vehicle they drive would once have seemed both laughable and highly improbable; however, such increasing confusion is understandable as recent years have seen growing numbers of so-called “crossover” vans that offer the same kind of comfort, style and performance typically associated with cars.
Perhaps the confusion arises partly because of driver ideas about van use, with around 4 in 10 van insurance applicants using their commercial vehicles for personal use. Many vans now feature three seats or more and are smaller than the traditional van, so, it is easy to see how many might make the mistake.
Examples of the types of commercial vehicle that could easily be mistaken for a car include the Vauxhall Corsa Van, Renault Clio Van and Ford Fiesta Sport Van as there is really very little difference between the van and the domestic car versions, so it's not surprising that drivers are mistakenly applying for car insurance rather than van insurance.
Five other vans that drivers often mistakenly categorise include:
- Volkswagen Caddy
- Toyota Hilux Invincible
- Citroen Berlingo
- Nissan Navara
- Mitsubishi L200
Are you driving a car or a van?
When you apply for a van insurance quote with iVan, you might want to check whether you are driving a car or a van. This can easily be done by checking your vehicle’s V5 logbook.
Uninsured drivers under Operation Drive Insured spotlight
Driving without insurance is not only against the law, it is also risky in other ways; the offence is punishable by a £300 fixed penalty notice, six licence points and possible destruction of your vehicle. Furthermore, there is also the potential for unlimited fines and a lifetime ban, so driving while uninsured convictions can affect employment prospects.
This message is one that the UK’s 43 police forces were looking to communicate to the public during “Operation Drive Insured” (October 26 to November 1), an operation saw a large-scale police attempt to identify and seize uninsured cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes from the nation’s roads.
The campaign is run in conjunction with the National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigation (NRPOII) committee and has seen an increased police presence on the UK’s roads as police look to apprehend anyone they find driving without suitable van insurance, car insurance or similar.
Not a victimless crime
One thing that the police are keen to do is to dispel the myth of uninsured driving as a “victimless crime”. This is because police know that uninsured drivers are not only more likely to be involved in serious road traffic accidents, but their actions also have a cost for insurance providers and policyholders.
For example, if an uninsured van driver is involved in a serious road accident that injures another driver, all related insurance settlements must be paid for by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). This body is funded by the insurance industry, which, of course, is funded by policyholders; without uninsured van drivers on the roads, the van insurance policies of honest drivers would be cheaper.
According to the MIB, every year 130 people are killed and 26,000 injured as a result of accidents caused by uninsured or untraceable drivers.
Furthermore, according to Anna Fleming, MIB’s chief operating officer, there are concerns that although the number of uninsured drivers has fallen since 2016, the impact of Covid-19 could result in a resurgence.
How many uninsured vans on the UK’s roads
Although statistical evidence detailing the numbers of commercial vehicles that take to the UK’s roads without suitable van insurance is not readily available, newspaper reports paint a rather damning picture.
For example, in just one week, officers from OPU (Operational Patrol Unit) Warwickshire stopped a van on the A45 near Wolston and found that it did not have van insurance and had a number of serious safety defects; Northamptonshire Police spotted a blue Vauxhall Vivaro parked illegally and found that it was uninsured; police in Bournemouth stopped a van driver who had cancelled his van insurance just weeks after purchasing it; and officers from Staffordshire Police Road Policing Unit in Derby stopped a Ford Transit driver for using a mobile phone while driving only to find that he was also driving without van insurance.
Van drivers working for free 45 days a year
A new piece of research by one of the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers, Volkswagen, has found that van drivers routinely work for free on behalf of friends and family, with their generosity effectively meaning they carry out a combined £14.9 billion of pro bono work each year.
And This is to say nothing of the four hours a week van drivers regularly spend pricing work that is never performed. The losses caused by this element of a tradesman's work are significant, working out at an average of £4,300 a year.
Celebrate the generosity of mates rates
The German automotive giant has calculated that all this free work is equivalent to working for nothing for 45 days each year. As such, it decided to name October 27 as “Mates’ Rates Day” as the time from this date until the end of the year represents the 45 working days that the nation’s van insurance customers annually work for nothing. All in all, the Volkswagen study found that nearly eight in ten van drivers regularly carry out unpaid work – at an average of three hours of free work a week.
Furthermore, the study found that van drivers in London and Northern Ireland were the most generous when it came to offering their services for free to friends and family, with drivers from these regions spending an average of eight to ten hours working for free each week.
iVan, for all your van insurance needs
Whether you are looking for an any driver van insurance quote, a fleet van insurance quote or a quote for a new generation electric van insurance policy, iVan can help you find the policy that is right for you. Simply use our quote engine today or call to speak with a van insurance advisor.
Fleets turning electric
During the summer of 2019 legislation requiring a 100% net reduction of 1990’s greenhouse gas levels by 2050 passed through parliament, and with more than one-quarter of the UKs carbon emissions caused by transport, it immediately became clear that electric vehicles would form part of the solution.
Although there has been a certain amount of resistance to the idea among van fleet managers, there is increased acceptance that electric vehicles not only make environmental sense, they also make practical economic sense from many perspectives, including those that relate to van insurance.
For example, although many fleet managers expressed concern that electric vans would not have the necessary mileage capability to cover the territory of most fleets, figures from the Department for Transport reveal that on most days half of all UK vans don’t stray further than 15 miles from their base location. Moreover, recent experiences of Covid-19 have further strengthened the argument for electric vans, with multiple studies indicating that pollution levels play a significant role in affecting a person’s chances of becoming seriously ill with the disease.
No surprise that electric fleets are increasing
Perhaps we should not be surprised then that electric vans are becoming increasingly popular. According to Activa Contracts electric vehicles have accounted for one in three (35%) fleet orders made in 2020, with “green conscious” businesses, fleet managers and consumers a major factor in this growth. Furthermore, it is likely that as green technologies develop they will become both more efficient and more affordable.
For example, at the moment some fleet managers have concerns about the van insurance claim implications of costly electric parts; given time, it is likely that these will become less and less of a concern.
Lastly, as green charging points become more widespread across the country, another barrier to electric commercial vehicle fleets is rapidly being removed.
Fleet van insurance from iVan
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