What is business use and do I need it for my car or van?

Car and van insurance is not just about the what, when and how you drive, it's also about the why. Make sure you're covered for the right uses of your car and van so you're always covered should a claim occur.

Man loading parcels into a van
Having the right use on your policy is crucial for both legal and claims reasons

Social, domestic & pleasure


Whenever you get a quote or buy car or van insurance, you'll be asked what you use the vehicle for. For many people, the reasons they use their vehicle fall into a broad category called 'social, domestic and pleasure'. So that's trips such as going to meet your friends, taking the kids to and from school, going on a road-trip to the coast, going shopping and visiting family. Any journeys in your car you make for these purposes would be covered by your policy both from a 'being legal on the road' perspective but also for your insurance should something happen that you need to claim for.


Commuting


When it comes to using your car or van for business, the first option available to you on quotes is called commuting and it covers journeys to and from a fixed place of work, and is per driver. So if you work in an office or a warehouse for example - and it's always the same office or warehouse - driving to and from your place of work would count as commuting and you would choose this option on your insurance quote. Similarly, if your journey to work involves driving to a train station car park, the car park would be seen as your place of work that you commute to. You'll normally see commuting listed on the quote options as 'social, domestic, pleasure and commuting' - so it covers everything we've talked about so far. It's OK if your named drivers also need to use the car to get to and from their work and it's somewhere different to where you work. As long as their place of work is fixed also, they can be covered for commuting.


If you work in more than one place (maybe you spend some time in one office and then some time in different offices or visiting clients or customers), you'll need to start looking at covers specifically for business use, such as Class 1.


Class 1 Business Use


Class 1 Business Use is designed for drivers who use their vehicle to drive to and between multiple places of work. That might be to visit different offices for meetings or training for example, or perhaps a doctor doing home visits. When you're getting your quotes for car and van insurance, include Class 1 only for the drivers that need it as there can be a charge for it.


What about Class 2 Business Use?


Class 2 is basically just Class 1 Business Use but extended to cover a named driver co-worker on your policy. Perhaps you like the convenience of being able to share the driving on journeys to an office that's further away. By choosing the correct options on the quote for the named driver relationship to you and what they'll be using the vehicle for, the quote should automatically include Class 2 for them if it's needed, but check your cover to make sure it meets your needs.


Commercial driving (such as hire and reward)


In all the examples we've talked about so far, we've looked at journeys to, from and between places of work. That is, places where the work takes place. It sounds obvious, but if the work is more about the journey itself, then Class 1 or Class 2 isn't going to be sufficient and this is where we start getting into things like hire and reward. Typical examples of where commercial driving cover is needed are delivery drivers, taxi drivers and driving instructors. All these occupations earn their money by doing the driving itself, rather than at the place where the driving takes them. Not all insurers will offer cover for drivers in this category, so it's worth getting quotes from comparison sites so you're checking the widest possible selection of insurers.


Be clear on what you're using your vehicle for


When you're getting quotes for your car or van, be sure to accurately disclose what you and your named drivers will be using the vehicle for. Not only will this keep you legally insured on the road at all times for all journeys, but will give you the protection you need in the event of a claim.


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