Van Breakdown Cover

Whether you have a standard or car-derived van, these policies are ideal for domestic drivers. Commercial (business) vehicles will often need a quote.

Company Summary Average Response Roadside
Fix Rate
Next Step
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

RAC have amongst the best average response times and roadside fix rates in the industry. Cover prices are competitive and you can save money by purchasing online too.

37 minutes 82% Buy Now

From £34.99
per year

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Emergency Assist already has over 200,000 members and an AVRO approved network of over 4,000 vehicles. The ‘Saver’ cover they offer is currently one of the cheapest on the market.

41 minutes 73% Buy Now

From £19.00
per year

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Relatively new compared to their rivals, using over 4,000 independent specialists rather than their own network. For this reason, you won't have seen see their brand on the road.

40 minutes 70% Buy Now

From £17.90
per year

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Unlike most providers, GEM only offers personal-based cover. This can be much cheaper for those using multiple vehicles, although often expensive if only using one.

40 minutes Unknown Buy Now

From £59.54
per year

Your Guide to Van Breakdown Cover


Are you dreading the possibility of breaking down on the side of the road in your van? You're not alone. Countless professionals and individuals alike suffer from sudden van breakdowns that seem to happen for no particular reason. While you might not be able to stop your van from ever experiencing any problems, you can take steps to ensure that you're protected when things don't go according to plan.

Van breakdown cover is a form of protection designed specifically for van drivers. These policies offer much of the same solutions you would expect from a typical car breakdown cover service, but the service is especially suited to vans.

If you don't have breakdown cover for your vehicle and something goes wrong, then you could end up stuck on the side of the road, waiting for a friend or local garage to come and collect you. Often, this means paying painful fees so that you can continue with your journey.

Not sure whether you need car or van insurance? Look at your logbook and check out the section under "vehicle category." If your category is N1 or N2, it's a van. If it's M1, it's a car. You can also double-check with the breakdown cover provider if you have any concerns.

What kind of Van Breakdown Cover Do You Need?

Before you begin searching for the coverage you need to protect yourself and your vehicle investment, it's a good idea to determine what kind of support you need. Just like with car insurance, you'll have the option to choose between "vehicle" policies and "personal" policies.

When you're covered by a personal policy, you are protected whenever you're in any van, regardless of whether it's one you own or one owned by your company that you're insured to drive. Personal breakdown cover is great for contractors and professionals who might use a number of different vans during the course of their work week. What's more, with personal insurance, you're also covered in your in another person's vehicle as a passenger.

Alternatively, a van specific or "vehicle" policy protects the van itself, instead of you. Regardless of who's driving, the car will be protected. Many businesses choose this kind of protection for their van fleets. Vehicle protection offers extra flexibility, as drivers can be given vehicles without managers having to check what type of coverage they have in place.

Another point worth noting about personal insurance is that it tends to be more expensive on average than vehicle coverage. After all, the firm that you're getting your policy form won't know what kind of van you'll be driving, or how safe it is. When you're considering your coverage options, it's worth thinking carefully on how you plan on using your policy. You'll also need to consider whether you're using your van for personal or commercial use.

If you have a van that you use for both personal and business reasons, most providers will be able to support you with a standard breakdown plan. On the other hand, if you want to cover an entire fleet of vans as a business leader or entrepreneur, then you'll need a specific strategy offered by a commercial insurance provider.

Levels of Protection for Van Breakdown Cover

As with typical van breakdown cover, commercial van cover offers support at various unique levels. For instance, you can choose for a basic roadside assistance package if you just want someone to help you get back on the road if something goes wrong with your vehicle. On the other hand, you might need something more advanced depending on where you travel. Your options include:

  • Roadside assistance: The standard level of breakdown cover for vans. If you typically travel and work locally, then roadside assistance is likely to be the cheapest option for you. With it, you'll be able to access an expert who can come out and attempt to fix your vehicle for you on the roadside. If your van can't be set, they may be able to tow you to the nearest garage.
  • National coverage: Sometimes, basic roadside assistance just isn't enough. If you want to make sure that you're covered no matter what happens, then you can access National Breakdown cover for your van instead. Along with roadside repairs, this coverage will also help to get you and your trailer to virtually any destination in the UK. It's often a good idea if your lifestyle or business takes you around the UK.
  • Home start: You'd be surprised how many problems can happen with your van when it's still sitting outside of your home or office. If your car simply won't leave the driveway, or it gives up when you're close to home, you'll be able to use the Home Start service to access some additional help. Most van breakdown cover providers don't offer this service as standard.
  • Onward Journey cover: This level of coverage ensures that you can continue your journey regardless of where you are after a breakdown. Even if your van can't be fixed, your coverage provider will get you to where you need to be. This could mean placing you in a hotel overnight while your vehicle is repaired or giving you a separate hire van to use.

With any level of policy, you'll need to check the details to find out exactly what's covered by your provider. Make sure that you know whether cost of parts is included too.

European Van Breakdown Cover

Many people, particularly those who use their van for business purposes, might find themselves using their trailers across geographical borders. If that sounds like you, then you might need an extra level of coverage known as European van breakdown cover. EU breakdown cover protects you when you're traveling across a multitude of European countries. However, it's important to check which areas are covered before you leave the UK.

Some providers offer breakdown cover for your van that will last all year- no matter how many times you travel throughout the EU. However, if you only plan on leaving the UK once or twice, it might be possible to get European coverage on a pay-as-you-go basis too. This will allow you to access a comprehensive level of cover for the length of a single trip.

If you do decide that you need European van breakdown cover, then remember that there are multiple coverage levels available. The amount of coverage you need will dictate the kind of price you can expect to pay.

What Might be Excluded on Your Van Breakdown Cover?

All van breakdown cover options aren't necessarily the same. Even if you choose multiple policies from different providers that are all in the same level, you could end up with varying exemptions from each provider. For instance, certain companies impose restrictions on the number of times a mechanic will be able to work on your van at the roadside before you're asked to pay additional fees. Other companies will place restrictions on the weight or size of your trailer.

When you're searching for the right van breakdown cover solutions for your needs, it's important to make sure that you're comparing like for like quotes. Most comparison websites will give you all the information that you need to make a confident decision about your coverage, including added extras, fees, and restrictions.

It's also worth keeping in mind that rarely, some car insurance providers might be willing to provide breakdown cover as an add-on to your van policy. If this is the case, don't just sign up for van cover from the same insurance provider because it's easier. You could find that you can save a great deal of cash just by getting your policy separately.

Check what's available from your insurance provider, then get online and examine some of the other solutions that local coverage companies can offer. Remember to check for any exclusions in the policies that you choose. For instance, some of the most common exclusions you'll find on any van breakdown cover policy include:

  • Issues caused by lack of regular maintenance: If your van breaks down because of something you have or haven't done - like failing to change the oil, then your policy provider will probably still help you out on the side of the road, but they may also charge additional fees. Make sure that you keep on top of your maintenance strategy.
  • Accidents on the road: If you've broken down because of an accident with another car, or you've hit something on the road, then your coverage provider might have to wait to assist you until the emergency services have left the area. It doesn't matter whether the accident was your fault.
  • Problems happening on private land: If you're working on a home in private land, or you're in a private area for some other reason, it may be difficult for your breakdown cover provider to reach you. You may need to pay an extra fee to cover the inconvenience.

When Might People Need Van Breakdown Cover?

It's hard to predict everything that could go wrong with your van over the years. Whether it's a commercial or personal vehicle, the van you use can be subject to some common problems, ranging all the way from flat tyres, to problematic batteries. If you're not sure whether van insurance is really necessary for you, then check out some of these common reasons why people end up needing van breakdown cover.

  • Flat battery: The number one cause of people needing van breakdown cover, is a flat battery. If you're hearing your engine constantly creak and crank when you try to start your van, then you may have a flat battery. Something as simple as leaving your lights on for too long can cause your battery to drain down to nothing. Cold weather is also another common problem. You may need to jump-start your vehicle to get it up and running again, and roadside assistance can help with this.
  • Engine issues: Problems with your engine tend to be more costly and serious than problems with a battery. In this case, you'll probably need your van breakdown cover provider to tow you to the nearest garage for diagnostics and repairs. Remember, your van's alternator is responsible for how the battery operates. If this machine is faulty, then your battery might go flat. There's nothing much you can do to stop an alternator from dying. Your best bet is to make sure that you have coverage if something does go wrong.
  • Flat tyres: The UK has a pretty significant problem with potholes. One accidentally bump caused by a pothole can be enough to damage your tyre, leaving you with no way to get around. Punctures are another significant problem for van owners. Unfortunately, either way, there's nothing you can do to protect against these issues. If you do hit a pothole or end up with a slash in your tyre, then you're going to need roadside assistance at the very least. If your cover provider can't give you a spare tyre on the side of the road, then they'll need to tow you to the nearest garage.
  • Using the wrong fuel: Although it's easy to assume that you would never accidentally put the wrong fuel in your precious van, you'd be surprised how often this mistake happens. Hundreds of thousands of people use the wrong fuel each year. If you haven't started your engine, you'll need to have the fuel pumped out of your system. However, if you have fired your van up, then you could have caused mechanical damage to the system.
  • Lost keys: How many times have you almost been late to work because you thought you've lost your keys? If you accidentally misplace your keys or lock them inside your vehicle, then you're going to need to call for help. Ideally, it's a good idea to keep some spare keys on your person just in case. However, if you haven't done that, then a breakdown cover provider can be a lifesaver in your time of need.

How Much Will Van Breakdown Cover Cost?

If you think that van breakdown cover is a good idea for you or your fleet, then you're probably wondering how much it's going to cost you. As with most things when it comes to insurance and protection, the amount you'll pay will generally depend on the kind of coverage you need, and how many vehicles or people you want to cover. Some of the things that can affect your fees include:

  • The type and level of coverage you want: If you need EU coverage, then you'll need to pay a little more to ensure that you're protected wherever you are.
  • Extra support: Sometimes, you can add extras to your policy, including help when you lose your key, or support if you accidentally use the wrong fuel.
  • The number of vehicles or people on a policy: Adding numerous cars or people to a plan will cost a little more, but it will be less expensive than taking out multiple procedures.
  • The kind of van you cover: Sometimes, the kind of van you're covering, and the age of that van can affect the fees you need to pay.
  • The company you get coverage from Different providers are willing to offer their own unique deals depending on what you're looking for.

Typically, finding the best level of coverage means being willing to get out there and do your research. Shopping around on comparison websites will help you to get a better idea of the options you have for comprehensive coverage. Remember, if you want a special kind of coverage, such as commercial support for a fleet of vehicles, then you might need to speak to a specific insurance provider. Some companies won't be able to offer business support at all. Other companies may only be able to offer local support, but not EU coverage.

A good way to keep your fees as low as possible to compare regularly to make sure that you're getting the best deal from your provider year after year. If possible, try to avoid paying for your policy monthly. Annual fees are usually less expensive in the long-term.

Van Breakdown Cover FAQ

Still have questions about the kind of van breakdown cover you need, or whether you need coverage at all? The following information might answer some of your most pressing queries.

Q: How Many Times Can You Claim on Breakdown Cover?

A: The number of claims you can make will depend on the level of cover you have and the provider you choose. Some people will be able to give you unlimited numbers of call outs. Other companies will request extra fees if you go over a certain number of claims.

Q: Do I Need commercial or personal cover?

A: This depends on the nature of the van you're protecting. If you're using the van in question for work purposes, then you should still be able to get a standard policy for breakdown cover. However, if you're covering an entire fleet of vans for your workforce, then you'll need commercial coverage.

Q: Will I be Covered in Someone Else's Van?

A: If you choose personal coverage for your policy type, then you'll be covered regardless of which vehicle you're in. You'll also be able to access your coverage even if you're a passenger in the van and not the driver.

Q: What Kinds of van Can I cover?

A: Again, this will often depend on the policy and provider that you choose. Most plans will cover any minibus or van that weighs no more than a certain amount. If your van is particularly large or heavy, then you might need an extra level of support.

Q: Will I need to pay an excess on my call out?

A: Most of the time, the answer to this question is no. If you're just paying for a standard breakdown cover, then you'll pay a monthly or annual fee, and your callouts will be covered each time. However, there are some coverage providers that will ask you to pay for each call out, and then claim the price of the service back later. This insurance-style policy is usually better for people who may need unlimited call outs.

Q: Will There Be any Exclusions in my Policy?

A: Exclusions and limitations in van coverage policies apply to virtually any type of cover. It's difficult to find a provider that can cover you for anything and everything that might happen to your van. To make sure that you're prepared, it's best to ask your provider what they exclude from their services in advance.

Q: How Often Can I make Changes to my policy?

A: You should be able to make changes on a good policy as often as you need to. However, there may be some insurance providers that require you to wait a certain number of months between significant changes. For instance, if you upgrade the level of coverage that you need on your plan, then decide you can go back down to a basic policy a month later, you may need to wait a bit longer.

Q: When Can I cancel my policy?

If you decide that you no longer need van breakdown insurance, then you should be able to cancel at any time during your policy before the expiry date. If you've paid an annual fee to get a deal; however, then this might be more complicated. You'll need to discuss your options with your policy provider in this case.

Q: Am I obligated to anything when I take out van breakdown cover?

A: You will be required to take reasonable care of your van and ensure that it's in a roadworthy condition. You should also make sure that your van has a current MOT certificate, and that you're taking all reasonable care to protect it against damage. It's also worth noting that most insurance providers will require you to provide them with any information about changes in your circumstances as quickly as possible.

We may receive payments or commission for advertising. This does not influence any ratings or reviews which are based on our opinion. Average response times and roadside fix rates will not normally include major accidents or extreme failures. Information correct at time of publishing.