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The most ardent football fans in Britain could be inadvertently raising the cost of their any driver van insurance by fixing stickers of their team's crest on their vehicle.

This follows a piece of research by Auto Express that was carried out in conjunction with the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) and a motor insurance company.

The study found that stickers could count as a modification as, under many insurer’s rules, a modification is deemed to be any change that is made to a van once it has been sold by its manufacturer.

As such, failing to declare a football sticker, satnav system or any other addition to the body or interior of a van could potentially invalidate a van insurance policy. In the case of a football sticker, some insurance companies may contend that it makes the vehicle vulnerable to vandalism attacks by fans of rival football teams. Furthermore, once declared, such modifications can add to the cost of a premium by as much as £100.

However, not all football-crest-related items are considered modifications. For example, a football club air freshener – a very popular product in the UK right now – is fine so long as there is only one and it does not interfere with the driver’s view.

If in doubt, notify your insurer

If you are in doubt as to whether something counts as a modification, it is always best to check in with your insurer so that they confirm its status. This is true even in cases where a modification is for the purposes of improving safety. For example, sometimes insurance companies used to increase the cost of a premium when drivers fitted winter tyres to their vans. However, in 2011, 70 percent of insurance companies became signatory to an agreement to not increase premium prices for drivers who fitted winter tyres to their vehicles – but most still wish to be informed.

The same is true of modifications such as tow bars and roof racks; it is unlikely they will increase the cost of your premium, but your insurer is likely to want to be informed regardless.

Furthermore, it is important to inform your insurer of any of the following modifications:

  • Tinted windows
  • Spoilers, skirts and valances
  • Extra lights
  • Upgraded upholstery
  • Upgraded brakes
  • Stripes, decals and badges
  • Replacement seats
  • Turbo/supercharging engine
  • Exhaust system changes
  • Flared wings, bonnet bulges
  • Specialised paintwork
  • Roof rack
  • Tow bar
  • Hand controls
  • Alloy wheels
  • Sat nav
  • Parking sensors

The theme here is clear: if in doubt about whether something constitutes a modification, let your insurer know.

 

Brexit will inevitably have some impact on van drivers and the scope of their van insurance coverage.

Mainly, the likelihood is that van drivers will lose the ability to drive freely across the borders of European Union countries, including the ability to proceed across borders without inspections.

Crucially, van drivers will need to ensure that they have international van insurance that enables them to demonstrate that they are covered by their British van insurance for the duration of their stay in an EU country. These insurance green cards are free; however, they will need to be aware of the following:

  • The van insurance cover provided by the green card may not be comprehensive and it may be prudent to purchase additional short-term cover.
  • The green card should be applied for well in advance – ideally at least two weeks prior to your expected travel date.
  • You may be refused entry with your vehicle if you do not have a valid green card.
  • You will need to apply for multiple green cards if you intend on towing a trailer or caravan on your visit to the EU.
  • You will need multiple green cards if you have fleet insurance covering multiple vans.
  • You will need to ensure you display a GB sticker on the rear of your van when travelling in the EU.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) view

The ABI has urged all drivers to consider that EU regulations will demand a green card as proof of motor insurance unless any Brexit deal reached specifies otherwise.

Furthermore, the ABI says that any driver who travels without a green card in these circumstances risks both breaking the law and invalidating their existing cover, even when driving across the Irish border.

The ABI’s director general, Huw Evans, said that although motor insurance companies were well prepared for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, it was incumbent upon the government to offer greater clarification and support.

“With a no-deal Brexit still on the table, we want all insurance customers to know the facts about what this means for them so that they can take the necessary action,” said Evans.

Just as UK citizens driving within the EU will require a green card in the event of a no-deal, EU citizens driving in the UK will need to ensure the same.

 

In the UK unless you have a valid MOT, your van insurance is not valid, and as such if you have an accident, your van insurance company is unlikely to pay out. In fact, being without a valid MOT certificate is illegal under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Any driver who gets behind the wheel of their commercial vehicle faces being saddled with a £1,000 fine and a charge of six to eight penalty points on their licence.

It would be natural to think that such potential penalties and consequences would be enough to keep any driver from flouting the law regarding MOTs, yet despite this a new piece of research has revealed that every year in Britain millions of miles are driven without a valid MOT.

In fact, the statistics reveal that one in six (17 percent) have inadvertently been behind the wheel of their vehicle without a valid MOT for a week on at least once occasion during the past five years and that one in 12 (eight per cent) have driven without a valid MOT for six months or more.

Men already pay more on average for their van insurance for women, so it is unlikely to encourage insurers to hear that they are more prone than women do drive without a valid MOT (20 per cent compared to 15 per cent). Similarly, younger drivers, another group who have difficulty finding cheaper motor insurance, are considerably more likely to drive without an MOT than those who are a little older.

Furthermore, Londoners, who already pay more for their premiums on average, are most likely to have driven without a valid MOT (32 per cent), compared to 25 per cent in the North East, 20 per cent in the North West and 19 percent in Yorkshire.

iVan’s view

There is no more important aspect to life as a motorist than keeping safe on the road. Having a valid MOT is one of the fundamental steps to ensuring this; without an MOT you can have no guarantee that your vehicle is roadworthy.

However, the drivers of commercial vehicles may sometimes be hesitant about booking themselves in for an MOT as it may interrupt their business activity for a short period. However, skipping an MOT is not only unsafe, but it is also a false economy and in the end could even prove to be a fatal blow to a business.

 

Analysis by building services sector specialist ECIC has revealed that there has been a worrying rise in the economic value of tools theft from vans over the past twelve months, with the total value of such incidents up by 55% on the previous year.

What is interesting is that despite the cost of tools theft incidents rising dramatically, tools and van insurance companies are facing roughly the same number of claims as they did in the previous year.

One theory as to why this might be the case concerns the savviness of thieves; it is thought that they may have become better at identifying and targeting vans containing valuable tools.

Furthermore, it is thought that thieves have become both more brazen and more sophisticated in their tactics, with increasing numbers using the “peel and steal” method to saw vans open and steal the contents. Other popular methods include keyless entry system hacking and driver distraction techniques.

Alarmingly for drivers and their van insurance companies, ECIC says that the average value of tools theft now stands at £2,685 – a figure that outstrips the resale value of many of the vans that are targeted.

“The increase of thefts from vans and van thefts is widely recognised but showing no signs of abating. It is hugely disruptive to contractors, impacting work commitments and insurance costs,” commented a spokesperson with ECIC.

Prevention is key

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of tools theft is, of course, to remove all tools from your vehicle, storing them overnight or when you are not working. Van drivers who must take tools with them throughout their working day should ensure that they are stored inside a secure box that is fixed inside the van.

Taking such steps will not only ensure that you are less likely to be targeted by thieves, it will also help ensure that your van insurance covers you in the event that a thief succeeds in taking your tools.

Furthermore, ensure that you include goods in transit cover as part of your policy and that if you have any driver van insurance, every driver who uses the van has full training on how to keep the vehicle’s tools secure.

 

A newly published report by Consumer Intelligence has revealed that the cost of commercial vehicle cover has risen by 8.3% over the past year.

The revelation is likely to be greeted with a collective groan among van drivers who already have to work hard comparing quotes from specialist providers in order to find cheaper van insurance than that which is generally available from the major high street providers.

Consumer Intelligence, a leading data analytics and market research company, publishes an annual Van Insurance Price Index. This year it found that van insurance costs an average of £1,171. And the firm warns that because the Ogden rate recently increased from -0.75% to -0.25%, consumers can only expect cover to become even more expensive.

“Depending on how insurers have managed their claims reserves in preparation for the change, this will dictate if we see any painful increases in premiums or – indeed – some welcomed price reductions over the coming months,” said John Blevins, a pricing specialist with the firm.

There is some significant disparity in the prices being charged: the drivers of commercial vehicles pay an average of £1,202, while those use their vans for “social, domestic and pleasure” receive cheaper van insurance, paying an average of £1,046.

Furthermore, there is a massive disparity in the price of van insurance depending on the age of the driver concerned, as can be seen below:

  • Van drivers aged 50 or over pay an average of £508
  • Van drivers aged 25 to 49 pay an average of £823
  • Van drivers aged 24 or younger pay an average of £3,958

As can be seen from the figures above the average price is greatly inflated by the cost of cover for younger drivers – a group who have long struggled to find cheaper van insurance.

Cheaper van insurance with iVan

iVan works to provide you with a range of cheap van insurance quotes that you can compare within minutes.

Whether you have a single van or a whole fleet of vans, we are confident that we can help you find quality and competitively priced cover that suits your requirements.

All cover you purchase via us comes with the following:

  • Legal expenses cover
  • RAC breakdown cover
  • Wallet and gadget cover

Get a quote with iVan today.