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Van Drivers Put Their Vehicles At Risk Of Theft

Many leave tools or equipment in vans overnight

Research from has revealed that many of Britain’s van drivers could be putting themselves at risk of theft, and some haven’t even got the right level of cover, according to a survey by insurance comparison site,

Almost two thirds (63%) of those surveyed – which included many small businesses who rely on vans – said that they transport tools, equipment or goods in their vans; and half (50%) leave these items in their vans overnight.

The same research also shows that one in 10 van drivers select ‘social only’ as the class of use for their vehicle when buying insurance. When asked why they chose this level of cover, 71% said it was to get cheaper insurance, 23% said they didn’t want or need cover for the items they transport, 13% assumed that the cover was the same no matter what class of use they selected, and 8% admitted to not knowing the difference between the various cover options available.


While almost half (46%) of those surveyed had needed to make a claim on their insurance (10% due to an accident, 22% because of theft, and 14% claiming for both), over a third (34%) said that they’d had a claim rejected or contested by their insurer.

Scott Kelly, head of motor services at, said: “For many van drivers their vehicle isn’t just for ferrying the kids around or popping to the shops; it’s vital to their livelihoods. So it’s important to invest in the right sort of insurance policy.

“If you transport goods or tools you need to choose the appropriate class of use so that your insurer can provide you with the right level of cover. There’s often a negligible difference in cost between a policy that’s for ‘social use only’, and one that also covers ‘carriage of own goods’, so far from saving you any money, opting for social only could actually land you with a policy that might not cover you adequately, if at all.


“Your insurer will base your premium on the information you provide, so if you’re a builder driving a Ford Transit but select ‘social only’, don’t assume that your insurer will automatically provide you with carriage of own goods’ cover based on your occupation. Check your policy wording carefully and, if in doubt, contact your insurer to check what your policy does and doesn’t cover.

“We’ve all seen stickers on vans claiming that nothing is kept inside them overnight, but our research suggests that one in two vans do in fact have things left in them at night. Don’t rely on a sticker to act as a deterrent for opportunistic thieves. Lock up your van securely, remove any valuable items, especially overnight or when the van’s being left unattended for a prolonged period, and get a van insurance policy that covers your tools or
goods too.” has put together a van insurance guide that explains the different classes of use, so that those who use their vans for work purposes can choose the right cover for their needs.


Of course, it is often not just the contents of a van that get stolen: it is the van itself. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS), the most frequently stolen vehicle in the UK is the Ford Transit.

Clearly, people in the security industry should need no telling to ensure their vehicles are as thief-proof as possible – but as we all know, the thieves are getting smarter so it is important never to relax your guard.

Remember that your insurance cover may not be valid if you have failed to make proper security provision and/or given your insurers accurate insurance details. The impact of problems such as this on a small business can be considerable.


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