What is the difference between van and haulage insurance?

Photography by Nigel Green at www.truckpictures.co.uk
Photography by Nigel Green at www.truckpictures.co.ukWhat is the difference between van and haulage insurance?

What is the difference between van and haulage insurance?

Conventionally, the word haulage simply means the carriage of goods for hire or reward. Whether the goods are being transported by the ubiquitous white van or a mammoth heavy goods vehicle, therefore, the principle may be very much the same – the carriage of goods for hire or reward.

In the world of insurance, however, there may be a difference between:

  • the van that is making deliveries between one address and another according to the particular route determined by the list of consignees at any particular period in time, thus requiring Van Insurance: and
  • the haulage operation that typically sees the transport of goods from one depot to another, often according to a regular and predictable itinerary, therefore requiring Haulage Insurance

The difference between the two sorts of operation may be relevant to the kind of cover you arrange and, in particular, the demand for the goods in transit insurance you require.

Goods in transit insurance is a notoriously complicated, potential minefield of a subject, on which you might want the security and reassurance of consulting experts such as ourselves here at Isis Insurance.

The contractual arrangements

One of the reasons for potential misunderstandings between consignors, consignees and the particular need for insurance cover of the goods in transit is because there is no absolute standard for the transfer of ownership of the goods in question. Just when the ownership – and therefore insurable interest in the goods – transfers from you as haulier to the end consignee is typically a matter solely of the particular contract of delivery

These contractual responsibilities may differ according to whether yours is essentially a delivery operation – such as that that might be carried out by a van – or a haulage operation requiring a much larger HGV vehicle.

The importance of insurance

Whether you are making deliveries by van or hauling much larger loads from one part of the country to another, or overseas, however, the insurance of the goods in transit may prove especially important.

Goods in transit may be lost, damaged or their delivery delayed. You might even want to insure against the financial loss to your business in the event of such a delay.

For this reason, the government website writing about insuring goods for international trade stresses the importance of insuring your goods in transit and for taking into account:

  • the value of the goods actually in transit; and
  • whether their transport is within the UK or involves haulage or delivery abroad.

Each of these factors may have a bearing not only the type of insurance you arrange but also the total sum you may wish to insure.

Duty of care

Whether you are delivering goods for a third party or hauling a cargo from one destination to another and have taken the precaution of ensuring that they are safely insured against loss or damage, this does not mean that your duty of care ends with the insurance contract alone. Typically, you are also going to be responsible for mitigating the risk of any loss or damage by:

  • packing and loading your cargo securely and safely;
  • ensuring that the vehicle you use is properly maintained and fit for the purpose of transporting the goods;
  • recruiting drivers whom you may reasonably expect to be careful and safety conscious; and
  • ensuring that the consignee informs you without any undue delay of any loss or damage to the goods in question.

Although there may be no great difference in principle between the delivery of goods by van or the haulage of goods by HGV, there may be important considerations to keep in mind when it comes to organising Haulage Insurance or Van Insurance.