The cost of insuring vans for tradesmen and small firms has soared to almost £1,600 a year, according to new research.

A report from analyst Consumer Intelligence has found that the typical annual premium for a van now stands at £1,591, which is almost twice as much as the average cost of insuring a car.

Overall, van cover became 11.7% more expensive in the 12 months to October 2016. However, although drivers under the age of 25 still paid far more than other age groups for cover – the average bill was £4,770 – their prices increased by just 3.6% over the course of the year.

Adding to the cost of doing business

Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence, said: “Van drivers are paying double the average car insurance premium of £788 and with more people using their vans for work, that adds to the costs of doing business.

“Researching the market is crucial and shopping around will help as prices vary month-on-month and between providers. However, the general trend is up across all segments of the market.”

Hughes added that van owners should consider looking for carriage-of-own-goods cover when using price-comparison services to find the cheapest quotes, as this is offered by a wider range of insurers.

“Not all insurers offer social, domestic and pleasure cover for vans,” he said. “Drivers requiring SDP cover will get an average of 23 quotes from a price-comparison website, compared with 27 who opt for carriage of own goods.”

Carriage-of-own-goods insurance is aimed at workers such as builders, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, as well as shopkeepers who commute to work. Drivers who opt for social, domestic, and pleasure (SDP) cover for their van should be aware that insurers often apply this definition more strictly than with a car.

Consumer Intelligence added that, despite the sharp increase in the cost of cover, sales of new vans had not suffered. According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, new van registrations have reached an all-time high of almost 319,000 so far in 2016.

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