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Van insurance - social, domestic, pleasure, commuting – what are ‘classes of use’?

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Van insurance often costs considerably more than a typical car insurance policy would set you back, but if you choose the wrong ‘class of use’ you could pay even more than you have to. Find out what van insurance classes of use are, and how they can affect the cost of your insurance.
Van insurance: social, domestic, pleasure, commuting – what are they, and why do they matter?

When you’re taking out a new van insurance policy you’ll be asked to confirm your ‘class of use’ or ‘type of use’ for that vehicle. The reason for that is that how you plan to use the van will play a role in the insurance premium calculation, since different classes of use carry different levels of risk.

For example, if you use your van for commercial purposes there’s a good chance you’ll spend more time on the roads and clock up more miles than you would do if you were only using the van as a private vehicle for social, domestic and pleasure purposes.

Since you’re more likely to be involved in an accident at some point if you spend more time on the road and clock up more miles, insurance providers will usually factor this in and raise your premium to reflect the elevated if you choose a ‘business’ option under the class of use.

So what are the different van insurance classes of use?

Van insurance policies can have the following classes of use:

  • Social, domestic and pleasure only: This class of use is usually the cheapest when you’re taking out van insurance, because on average it should indicate that you’re likely to spend less time on the roads and clock up fewer miles during the course of a year.
  • Social, domestic, pleasure, commuting van insurance: This class of use adds commuting, which means you’re likely to clock up many more miles. A significant number of commuters are also more likely to travel during times of heavy congestion, and they may also be more likely to commute into heavily built up areas, which are all factors that can result in higher insurance premiums when you choose the van insurance social, domestic, pleasure, commuting class of use.
  • Business use for carriage of own goods: Van insurance for business use is almost always more expensive, but the ‘carriage of own goods’ class of business use is usually the cheapest of these commercial classes. This class of use would probably be a suitable option for plumbers, carpenters, joiners and many other tradesmen, many of whom will transport their own tools in the van but making deliveries to lots of different areas for other people.
  • Business use for carriage of goods for hire or reward: This is the class of use couriers and delivery people would usually choose. Since this type of ‘hire and reward van insurance’ is specifically intended for van drivers who are likely to spend most of their time on the road and clock up a lot of miles during the course of the year, this class of use is generally more expensive than if you’re only transporting your own tools.
  • Business use for haulage: This class of use is for van insurance policies where the vehicle will be used to transport commercial goods. Since haulage vans often spend a lot of time on the roads, and can also have high mileage, this class of use is usually one of the more expensive options.
Can I drive a van for social, domestic, pleasure and commuting if I choose a business class of use?

Limitations and exclusions do vary from one insurance provider to the next, but in many cases business van insurance policies will allow you to drive the van for social, domestic and pleasure purposes when you aren’t driving it for work.

The same principle doesn’t work the other way around, though – if you’ve chosen social, domestic, pleasure and commuting van insurance you almost certainly won’t be covered to drive that van for business purposes, even on an occasional basis.

That’s why it’s vital that you choose the correct van insurance class of use when you’re taking out a new policy. If you choose a business policy even though you only ever use the van for social, domestic and pleasure you’ll likely pay over the odds for your insurance. But if you choose ‘social, domestic and pleasure only’ but then use your van for business there’s a very real risk you could invalidate your insurance policy.

This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.

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