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Van insurance is a bedrock product for the vast majority of UK tradespeople. Quite simply, without suitable commercial vehicle cover, most trades businesses would be unable to operate. Given its importance, it is little wonder that finding the cheapest possible van insurance is such a priority to so many start-up plumbers, electricians, builders and other tradespeople.

As such, any savings on the cost of insurance can make a real difference to the tradespeople concerned, a fact which has been brought into focus by a recent survey which revealed that 13% of all new trades businesses in the UK fail to last longer than two years.

Although start-up tradespeople are more likely to create a viable business in certain regions – all of London, Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham have relatively good survival rates – there is a harsh reality: competition and financial pressures make for a tough financial environment whether you are a start-up carpenter, gardener, painter and decorator, double glazing installer, roofer or other tradesperson.

Some professions more secure than others

The study revealed that electricians and double-glazing installers have the highest survival rate after two years (89%). In the case of electricians, this may be because they have the highest day rate (£215); however, in the case of double-glazers, this explanation does not hold, as they earn an average of only £150 a day.

On the other side of security stand roofers, with roofing start-ups having the lowest national survival rate of all trades. The exception was in Sheffield, Nottingham and Cardiff, all of which had a 100% survival rate for roofers.

Van insurance, a significant cost

The cost of van insurance varies from trade to trade, with, at the high end, landscape gardeners paying an average of £1,424 a year and standard gardeners paying £1,392. At the lower end, painter and decorators paid an average of £870 and double-glazing installers an average of £889 a year. Electricians must be glad they are able to charge the highest day rate as they pay a yearly average of £1,183 for their van insurance.