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A new year and a new decade have arrived for the nation’s van insurance customers. As is typical, the new year and the new decade are a time of change, so if you rely on a van for your business, you better be aware of some of the driving laws and driving innovations that will serve to make this new decade different to the last.

New smartphone laws

We have known for some time, that driving while using your mobile can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. As such, in 2003 the government introduced rules to stop drivers from using their phones when behind the wheel.

However, the 2003 law had its limitations – it was drafted at a time when phones still had buttons and sophisticated touchscreens largely remained the stuff of sci-fi. In 2020, as a response to the acquittal of man who used his phone to film a crash, loopholes in the 2003 law have been closed, so from spring of this year, the law will also apply to the use of phones for purposes other than communication – i.e. to “browse the internet, film, take photos, or scroll through playlists”.

Those who break the law face a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Post-Brexit forays into Europe

With the UK now finally scheduled to leave the EU on 31 January, you should be aware that if you plan to drive on the continent, you may need to apply for an international driving permit (IDP).

An IDP costs £5.50 and can be applied for from the Post Office. Check whether you will need one for your intended destinations – for example, you will need an IDP for France but not for Belgium (if you are visiting for 185 days or less).

Importantly, remember that you will also need a van insurance green card from your commercial vehicle insurance company.

New MOT rules

Many people are unaware that the rules regarding MOTs recently changed. For example, there are now more stringent classifications, and if your van fails its MOT, you will not be able to drive it until it has been adequately repaired.

Also be aware of new tests for contaminated brake fluid and underinflated tyres.

Van insurance market evolution

The van insurance market is continuing to evolve and this is likely to continue apace in the new decade. Nowadays it is possible to search online for niche cover such as an any driver van insurance policy, young driver policy or fridge van policy. It is also increasingly easy to compare van insurance quotes by using a specialist company such as iVan – Happy New Year!

 

If you've managed to make it through January 16 without needing to notify your van insurance company of an accident, you have done well; January 16 is the most accident-prone day of the year in the UK, according to data from a motor insurance company.

It has long been known that January is the worst month of the year for accidents and van insurance claims, so, in a way, it makes sense that the 16th would be the worst day for collisions; it falls right in the middle of the month. January 18 and January 13 were the fourth and fifth worst days respectively.

The data shows that on January 16 there are 420 collisions per hour in the UK, which equates to one every 8.57 seconds.

Why are there so many accidents in January?

It is easy to see why there might be a disproportionate number of accidents in January. Not only are daylight hours at their shortest, but there are also climatic variables such as cold and frosty mornings, high winds, flooding and black ice to contend with. Furthermore, many may also be worn out by or ‘coming down’ from the Christmas period. One thing is surprising, however: drivers tend to cover fewer miles in January so in theory have less opportunity to become involved in an accident.

What is the most common kind of January accident?

The majority of January crashes involve one vehicle rear-ending another, while the difficulty of January driving conditions is reflected in the fact that the second most common type of insurance claim is for single-vehicle collisions. The third most common January motor insurance claim is for incidents involving a parked or stationary vehicle.

The causes, a statistical breakdown

Driver explanations for the accidents tally with the notion that January makes for a perfect storm when it comes to road safety. Drivers said their accidents were caused by poor concentration (24 per cent), bad weather (20 per cent), poor visibility (20 per cent) and tiredness (10 per cent).

 

Just how much does disregarding driving laws cost you on your van insurance?

Although there is no exact formula for working out this question, a new piece of research has revealed that picking up three penalty points can result in you paying an additional £209 on your van insurance, with those carrying the weight of a three-point penalty paying an average of £746 for their motor insurance.

Unsurprisingly, the more points you carry, the greater the hit to your wallet, with drivers who have received six points on their license paying an average of £1,160; the theme continues with 12-point penalty drivers paying an average of £1,466 in addition to their inevitable disqualification.

Penalty points – how are they shared around Britain?

2.6 million of the UK’s 33.6 million drivers have penalty points on their license. Around two million of these are men, compared to 780,000 women – a factor which helps explain why women drivers typically find it easier to obtain cheaper van insurance than their male counterparts.

There are many reasons why a driver might receive penalty points, with police sometimes handing out penalties for infringements for careless or reckless driving that might not otherwise be covered by the law. According to the DVLA the most common penalty point infringements are broken down as follows:

  • Speeding (85%)
  • Running a stop sign or traffic light (7%)
  • Using a mobile phone while driving (5%)

Penalty points are an effective punishment, with 75% of drivers saying that after receiving them, they took steps to improve their habits behind the wheel.

iVan insurance, for cheaper cover

To increase your chances of getting the best price possible on your van insurance, there are precautions that you, and any drivers you employ, can take so that insurers view you as less of a risk. Having drivers with impeccable driving records is sure to lower the price of your premium, so it's of course important to drive carefully and obey the rules of the road at all times. You can also ensure you're getting a great price by finding a quote with iVan. We'll compare quotes from over 30 of the UK's top insurers to find you the most suitable policy at the cheapest price.

Whether you are looking for fleet van insurance, any driver van insurance or comprehensive cover for a single commercial vehicle, at iVan we are confident that we can help you find cheaper van insurance so that you can take to the road with the quality protection you need.

 

Never underestimate the benefits of being organised. Whether you are a school pupil trying to keep on top of your homework, a parent getting packed lunches ready for your children or a van driver looking for the cheapest van insurance, there is no substitute for being organised.

If you needed any confirmation of these assertions, consider the following: according to one study, leaving it late to get your cover ready can cost you as much as £338, making it all but impossible to obtain the cheapest van insurance.

The research, which was carried out by a motor insurance comparison website, revealed that the longer you wait to organise your renewal, the more you risk paying. The study claimed that if you renew on the day your cover is due to expire, you risk paying an average of £775, whereas you would pay only £436 if you organised your van insurance cover just three weeks earlier, £660 if you had renewed a day earlier, £547 if you had renewed a week earlier and £472 if you had renewed two weeks earlier. The picture is even more pronounced for those who renew at the end of the year, with premiums particularly expensive in December. This is because demand for motor insurance tends to be at its lowest in December; without a great deal of competition, insurers do not work so hard to entice customers.

Despite this, nearly four in ten of all motor insurance renewals come either on the day a policy ends or the day before it is due to expire. The comparison site also found that average premiums in December are higher than any other month of the year. Drivers renewing this month are forking out an extra £75 for cover.

Can you find the cheapest van insurance with iVan

iVan can help you on your journey to finding the cheapest van insurance cover. If you are organised enough to search the market – ideally well in advance of your renewal deadline – you stand a much better chance of finding cheaper cover. Try our quote engine today, whether you are looking for any driver cover, fleet cover or some other type of commercial vehicle cover.

 

Britain has recently experienced a record-breaking spell of wet weather and for one man from Somerset and his van (from Germany) it has had some pretty profound consequences.

The van insurance policyholder recently attempted to drive his newly acquired van through a puddle. However, in the absence of any warning signs, he did not realise that the puddle was several feet deep. As a result, the engine of his brand-new Mercedes van became overwhelmed with water and failed. With the man unable to move his vehicle, its cabin quickly became deluged with floodwater.

The driver then made the difficult decision to remove his trousers, leave his vehicle and wade through the water so that he could seek help. Devon Live reports that the van insurance holder is “fuming” with the local authorities for failing to close the road or to warn of the dangers of the puddle.

The driver, who is in contact with his van insurance company, says he is concerned that his commercial vehicle, which he had just bought for £33,000, is now a write-off.

"There was no light on the road, it was pitch black, no warning and no road closure,” he commented.

"I headed for what I thought was a slight puddle and mistakenly drove my brand-new Mercedes Vito into four feet of water. I'm fuming that the road was not closed. Police came to my assistance and then closed the road."

In a cruel twist, shortly after abandoning his van, the driver said that a council transit van arrived to erect a sign warning of the flood danger.

The scene he described resembled a horror film or thriller. He spoke of the “pitch black” night, the dark looming castle in the background and stags lurking in the nearby fields. “It was pretty damn scary,” he said.

To make matters worse, the longer the man waited, the more danger he realised his commercial vehicle was in. The water level quickly rose further, and the Mercedes’ bonnet became submerged.

He says that the council should be considered liable for the accident as it had allegedly received numerous warnings of the flood risk several hours prior to the incident. He says that he would never have driven the route if he’d been aware of the risk.

“I’m sure people will claim it’s my fault but the road got deep with water instantly with no warning,” he said.

Fortunately, it is likely that if the Devon County Council does not compensate the driver, his van insurance company will.

"But it is just incredible they didn't close the road and warn people," he said.

With heavy rain hitting all over the UK this December, it's important for all van drivers to practice caution and never ignore road closures or flood warnings.