- More than 26,000 female drivers requested van insurance from Confused.com in 2017 – up from 17,000 the previous year(1)

  • The average premium for van insurance for women is £1,025 on average - £181 cheaper than it is for men(2).
  • Rise in women buying van insurance suggests more are becoming self-employed, with the number of female dog walkers taking out van insurance increasing 55% in 12 months(1).
  • Data shows the number of male and female company directors taking out van insurance increases 45% in 2017(1).
  • Handy guide from Confused.com advises van owners on how they can bring their insurance costs down – as the average premium for vans increases 21% year-on-year(3).

Owning a van has its perks, be it more space for the family, pets or getting rid of an old sofa. And it seems that women are increasingly jumping on the bandwagon, as new research suggests more and more female motorists are driving vans.

That is according to Confused.com which has seen a 52% surge in the number of female drivers taking out insurance for vans. In total, 26,166 quoted for van insurance in 2017, which is up from 17,198 the previous year(1). These figures are reflected in further research by the driver savings site, which revealed almost one in 10 (9%) UK drivers know a female motorist who has bought a van in the past two years(5).

While the reason for the sudden uptake remains to be seen, data from the driver savings site suggests owning a van is cheaper for women than it is men, which is just one of many possible reasons behind this spike. Insurance premiums for female van drivers is £1,025 on average - £181 cheaper than it is for men, who get an average price of £1,206 in comparison(1). However, it goes without saying that this is still more expensive than the average car insurance premium, which sits at £715 for women, and £810 for men(4)

Costs aside, it’s clear more and more female drivers are in need of a van for work purposes. In fact, more than two fifths (41%) of women who own or drive a van mostly use it for business uses. And the data suggests this could be down to more women becoming self-employed, meaning we may just be seeing a new breed of white van drivers. The number of female dog-walkers, in particular, has increased a whopping 55% in just 12 months(1). Similarly, 59% more female cleaners are taking out van insurance policies, and 76% more care assistants (1).

And the number of van drivers who are registering as self-employed seems to be on the rise among both men and women, with the number of company directors applying for van insurance seeing a significant hike. Combined, the number of van drivers in this position increased 45% in 2017 compared to the previous year(1). And this is the third most common profession declared by van drivers in 2017, after builders and carpenters(1).

However, it isn’t just self-employed drivers who are making use of vans. In fact, the number of female nurses taking out van insurance increased 43% in 2017 from the previous year. Similarly, the number of female teachers taking out van insurance increased a whopping 56%, while 36% more housewives purchased polices year-on-year.

But it’s clear to see vans have become a popular investment for both male and female drivers alike with almost one in three (29%) van drivers claiming it is their main vehicle. This is despite insurance premiums being more expensive than the average car policy, largely due to the fact that vans have larger engines and are often carrying more valuable goods. However, there are ways for van drivers to save on their insurance, and some of these are often overlooked. Confused.com’s handy guide offers advice to van-owners about the little known ways to lower their van insurance. This includes advertising your business on the vehicle’s exterior to make it easier to identify and less appealing to thieves – something those who are concerned about their van’s security will be pleased about. No doubt, small, yet significant changes, like this will be welcomed by van drivers as the average price of van insurance has increased an eye-watering 21% year-on-year(3) – reaching as high as £1,913 in August 2017(1).

However, vans aren’t all business and no pleasure. In fact, the research shows that more than a third (34%) of van drivers are using their vehicles for social and/or commuting. And most are finding practical uses for the additional space they offer. For example, almost two thirds (62%) have used their van to move house, or help a friend or family member (59%). Almost another two thirds (63%) have also used their van to take rubbish to the tip, or camping inside (45%) or in a tent (43%).

In fact, the data compiled by Confused.com shows that there has also been a surge in the number of retirees purchasing vans. The number of retired drivers taking out van insurance increased a whopping 64% in 2017(1) – perhaps as they invest in larger vehicles to spend time travelling across the UK and beyond.  And it isn’t just older drivers who are showing a greater interest in vans, as the number of 17-20 year olds quoting for van insurance more than doubled (121%) in 2017(1). However, it is 31-40 year olds who are the main van-owners, accounting for more than quarter (27%) of drivers who took out van insurance in 2017(1).

The research shows running a van can be very expensive for the owners, but cheap for family and friends! In fact, one in four (26%) van drivers admit they regularly get asked by family and friends to borrow their van. With a one in four (27%) going even further, saying they feel they use them for their van. But some have put their foot down, with more than one in five (21%) saying they don’t let their family and friends use their van.

It goes without saying van owners, as well as their friends and family, feel they are very handy vehicles to have access to. A third (33%) of van drivers find it much more practical than owning a car because they can be used for more than one purpose, while a further one in three (32%) find them more spacious. And perhaps as more and more people continue to invest in vans, they may just become people’s preferred choice of vehicle.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Everyone has heard of the white van man, but now it’s the ladies’ turn! There is no denying owning a van has many benefits, and it seems female drivers are starting to jump on the band wagon.

“While owning a van has practical appeal, their running costs bear higher price tags, particularly when it comes to insurance. However, there are many ways van owners can curb the cost of their premiums, as listed in Confused.com’s handy guide.

“By taking measures to lower their claims risk in the eyes of insurers and shopping around at Confused.com, for the cheapest policy, van drivers can keep costs to a minimum, and could make savings of up to £492(6).”