/ Van Insurance

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Ben.o.neill 04 Jul 2019

After a quick search of the forums I couldn't find anything on van insurance although I'm sure I've read about it on here before. 

So I'm looking to buy a van and use it as a day camper. I don't want to go through with a full camper conversion, just something simple but I would like to add some windows. the problem is that adding windows is classed as a modification and this seems to double any insurance quotes I'm getting.

Anyone got any advice on how to deal with this? good companies or a useful workaround?

Cheers.

MB42 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

Adrian Flux or A-Plan are worth a try. Ring up and explain the situation they'll put you in the right category (camper in conversion possibly) which might help, I've had insurance through both at various points for stealth campers.

balmybaldwin 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

You could paint nice landscapes on the inside of the window panels removing the need for windows?

Ben.o.neill 04 Jul 2019
In reply to MB42:

Camper van in conversion seems to be pretty reasonable but I don't know how long you can be covered for in that state. Thanks for the advice. I'll give them a call.

snoop6060 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

Herts. My camper was insured half converted as a camper and 200 quid less than my car despite being worth literally 20x as much. Very weird. 

MB42 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

Depends on the underwriter. Some allow it indefinitely, one of my vans was 'in conversion' for at least 3 years and they never asked for a finish date. I did actually intend to fully convert it but never quite got round to putting windows in...

Bellie 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

You can get it insured as a day van.  I went through Insurance Choice - explained the situation and they got a tailored package for me.  Be aware though that you'll probably start off at 1 year no claims as they don't take any into consideration as a bespoke package - just in case you have full no claims and want to go back to car after a few years.   Cost wasn't too much - probably not much more than my car insurance in the end.

Cheese Monkey 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

Been with Brent Acre for years. Flux are scum

Mike P 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

Try AXA out of the "High Street" boys. They told me that they only refuse modifications which might affect performance and gave me a good price on my van with windows. Van dept have always been helpful. Only down side is that at least one of their car insurance staff is a rude arrogant prat; bad experience this morning!

Stuart (aka brt) 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Cheese Monkey:

> Been with Brent Acre for years. Flux are scum

Second Brentacre. 

SDM 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Cheese Monkey:

> Been with Brent Acre for years. Flux are scum

What's wrong with Flux?

They are usually the standard answer to this question. I'm not with them for insurance (yet?) but I do have breakdown with them. Would be good to know in advance if there are any particular issues to be aware of.

peebles boy 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Ben.o.neill:

Avoid Flux like the plague. A-Plan and Stavely Head are both useful.

As an aside/extra info - DVLA have recently clamped down on reclassifying vans that have been self converted, and are loathe to issue new V5's saying "motor-caravan" on it these days. Their own admission on this matter is that the vans (whilst meeting every DVLA criteria on their own website) don't "look" like camper vans from the outside (they're not beige with a howling wolf graphic ???) and so law enforcement people/cameras can't tell what the vehicle is/should be and therefore what speed it can/should be doing. So basically, they're making less money from fining speeding van drivers who have had V5 changed to allow them to drive at car speeds.

If you put windows in though, it's definitely worth getting V5 changed to "panel van with windows" for insurance purposes - you wouldn't be the first or last part-converted van owner to run into issues when claiming on a partially converted van... Good luck!

deepsoup 05 Jul 2019
In reply to peebles boy:

>  and so law enforcement people/cameras can't tell what the vehicle is/should be and therefore what speed it can/should be doing.

I spent some time looking in to this a while back, here's what I learned then:

This is nonsense anyway though.  There seems to be much confusion here, among police and magistrates as much as the rest of us.  (And if they get it wrong and you are right, tough shit, unfortunately, unless you can afford to spend a *vast* amount of money appealing a decision.)

The same speed limits apply to a 'dual purpose vehicle' as to a car (not an unconverted van).  The definition of a 'dual purpose vehicle' is given in the Construction and Use Regulations, and if that definition fits the van it is one regardless of what the V5 says.  (In fact if a van is a 'dual purpose vehicle' but not a minibus or a camper, there is no appropriate V5 category that could say that it is.  The bureaucratic structure underlying the V5 document does not perfectly fit the Construction and Use legislation.  It would be necessary to look at the van, not the V5 to properly determine which speed limit applies.  Hence the difficulty.  It requires the use of resources and the application of diligence - the police can't just rely on 'computer says yes' or 'computer says no', and who the hell has time for that these days?)

Under the regs the van is a 'dual purpose vehicle' if it's either 4-wheel drive, or has a rigid roof, is below a certain gross weight, has at least one row of permanent transverse rear seats, side and rear windows of a certain minimum size, and a certain ratio of seating space to 'luggage' space is not exceeded.

Link here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/car-derived-vans-and-dual-purpose-vehicles/car-derived-vans-and-dual-purpose-vehicles

Legal definition of a 'dual purpose vehicle' here (scroll down a bit):  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1986/1078/regulation/3/made

Based on my 30-odd years experience of using a van for personal transport though (an un-ambiguously van van, to which the lower speed limits apply) - if you're not over the speed limit for a car you're *extremely* unlikely to get busted and won't have a problem.  You're not going to get a ticket for doing 60mph on a single carriageway road where the national limit applies.  It's just that if you get clocked at 75mph you will be found to have been 25mph over the limit, not 15mph.

Edit to add:

> If you put windows in though, it's definitely worth getting V5 changed to "panel van with windows" for insurance purposes

D'Oh!  I missed this in your post - and this is exactly what I'm on about.  There is no "panel van with windows" category that can be put on a V5, hence the problem.  For insurance purposes the V5 is irrelevant, as long as the insurance company are aware of the modifications that have been done to the base van and agree to give you cover on that basis.

Post edited at 07:59
MB42 05 Jul 2019
In reply to peebles boy:

Eeep what are the issues with Adrian Flux? My first van I was covered by AF but I gave up on them a few years ago when the price went up dramatically and moved to A-Plan, however I'm actually back on Flux this year as A-Plan price jumped this year and so it was cheaper again.

Thanks others I have a few other names to try next time

kevin stephens 06 Jul 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

We got a ticket in our T5 camper, it’s registered with dvla as a camper but looks like a panel van. The police hadn’t checked properly and the ticket was cancelled when we pointed out the registration 

deepsoup 06 Jul 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

Ah.  Were you doing between 50-60 on a single carriageway or 60-70 on a dual carriageway?  Maybe things have changed and the lower van speed limits have begun to be enforced in their own right then.  Bit of a worry for me, potentially.

If your van had been a 'dual purpose vehicle' (as defined in the Construction and Use regulations - as many semi-converted 'campers' and day vans are) but still registered as a van I imagine it would have been much more difficult to get the ticket cancelled.  It's a nonsense really that a van is subject to a different speed limit to an otherwise identical camper or minibus anyway, the law needs updating imo.

kevin stephens 06 Jul 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

Actually 73 in a 70 dual Carriageway so also had to quote guidance on threshold for prosecution, would have been stuck with a heavy fine if still registered as a van. You have a point, those “coach built” campervans; oversized plastic and chipboard  shed on a skinny van chassis are more dangerous at speed than a panel van

deepsoup 07 Jul 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

> Actually 73 in a 70 dual Carriageway so also had to quote guidance on threshold for prosecution

Sounds like you had a narrow escape!  I'm slightly relieved that it doesn't demolish my theory that all is well even while you're technically speeding as long as you don't exceed the limit for a car.
(But really, why on earth did they not bump the limits for a panel van up by 10mph when they did the same for HGVs, in England & Wales at least, a few years back?)


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