What are the requirements to drive a van?

If you’re thinking of buying a van for your business, first things first – you need to make sure you’re actually eligible to drive it, before you part with any of your hard-earned cash.
There are strict rules and regulations as to the type of van you can drive on any given licence. For some vans, you’ll just need a standard UK driving licence, but others may require you to take a separate test.
It’s best to know the facts before jumping behind the wheel of a van; especially if you’re thinking of investing thousands of pounds in a new model for your business.
Different vans have different speed limits, too, so any responsible driver should get to know the rules first so they don’t fall foul of the law.
Whatever type of van you decide upon, Insurance Factory is here to help you find the right van insurance to match.
We can consider lots of different business uses, including if you’re transporting fragile or hazardous goods, so give the team a call today to see how much you could save.
Let’s take a closer look at driving licences, to work out which van might be right for you.

What size vans can you drive with a regular licence?

Most of us will have a full UK driver’s licence ­– known as a category B licence – and this allows us to drive a car on the public highway. You may be able to drive other vehicles, too, but that will depend on when you actually passed your driving test.
If you drive a van or HGV without the proper licence in place, you could be risking points and a hefty fine.
As the Gov.UK website points out, you can drive a van weighing up to 3,500kg if you have a standard car driving licence.
If you passed your driving test after 1st January 1997, you may need to sit another driving test before you can legally drive a van that weighs between 3,500kg and 7,500kg.
You may also need to take another test to tow a trailer behind your van.
If you want to ‘upgrade’ your driving licence to be able to drive heavier vehicles like lorries or buses, you can get a provisional entitlement and then take tests to get those higher, more advanced categories added to your licence.

What about heavier electric vans?

As Honest John points out, in 2017, the UK Government increased the weight limit for electric vans that you can drive on a standard UK licence. This is to take into account the weight of the batteries on board needed to power the vehicle.
That means that if you have an electric van you can drive one up to 4,250kg on a category B licence.
The good thing about this is that you won’t have to take any extra driving tests before purchasing an electric van; but the bad thing is that you’ll have to carry less goods on board to balance up the weight limit.
Alternatively you could apply for a category C licence that let’s you drive heavier vehicles.

How can I tell what type of licence I have?

The best way to tell what type of driving licence you currently hold is to visit the Government’s website or the DVLA.

Do different vans have different speed limits?

Speed limits for vans can be different to those for normal cars. After all, they’ll probably be transporting goods as well as people so they won’t be able to safely travel at the speed of normal cars in certain circumstances.
As Parkers explains, the speed limits for vans in the UK are set slightly lower than cars in some instances:
• Built-up areas – 30mph
• Single carriageways – 50mph (10mph less than a car)
• Dual carriageways – 60mph (10mph less than a car)
• Motorways – 70mph

If you’re driving a van that weighs up to 3,500kg like a Mercedes Sprinter or a Ford Transit van, then these speed limits will apply to you.
A silver van driving down a motorway at night

Does my new van need an MOT?

If you treat yourself to a brand new van for your business, it won’t need an MOT for the first three years. But after that, it will need a MOT test to make sure it’s safe to drive on public roads.
Your MOT is essential and enables you to get your tax and van insurance, too.
Remember that not everything is tested on the MOT – things like the engine and the clutch won’t be inspected so it will be up to you as the van owner to make sure your vehicle is kept roadworthy.
Ask a professional to service your van at regular intervals and keep up with basic maintenance. After all, your van is an essential part of your business and if it’s not running smoothly, it can cost you dearly – both in terms of repairs and lost business.
If you have an accident and your vehicle is off the road for a few weeks, that’s where having the right van insurance in place can pay off.

Your insurer may be able to offer you a replacement, like-for-like vehicle so you can keep trading without any costly downtime.

Get a quote for van insurance today

Your van is your livelihood, so you need to protect it from accidents that can occur while you’re out and about.
Whether you work as a delivery driver or a scrap dealer, Insurance Factory can find you a competitive quote for van insurance tailored to your specific business needs.
We have experience of helping young drivers and convicted drivers find the cover they need, too. So if you have a previous conviction, or this is your first driving job, give us a call and get a quick quote today.
Optional extras to standard van insurance cover can include things like:
• 14-day, like-for-like van hire
• Key care cover
• Breakdown, tool and accidental cover

We understand that your van is much more than just a vehicle; it’s an important part of your business. Think of it as your office on wheels!
Protect your livelihood and get a quote for van insurance today.