Who’s driving Britain’s vans?

Teachers, dog walkers and firefighters may not immediately spring to mind when you think of van drivers, but these are just some of the professionals getting in on the not-so-secret idea that bigger really can be best!

Couple driving van

With beauticians and tree surgeons also increasingly behind the wheel of Britain’s vans, is it time for white van man to take, well, the back seat?

According to the RAC’s van travel trends in Great Britain, the number of vans on our roads has been rising more than two and a half times quicker than cars. Every 10th vehicle on the road is now a light commercial vehicle (LCV), while between 2002 and 2012, the number of vans increased by 29% to 3.3 million.

Over the same decade, the number of cars rose by 11% to 28.7 million, while lorries (HGVs) fell by 5% to 460,000. So, with vans now the fastest-growing category of vehicle in the UK - just who is driving them? 

Van drivers: men or women?

Van graphic

The majority of van drivers are men. Of the Admiral Van Insurance policies started during the last quarter of 2018, a whopping 92.5% were taken out by men - with almost 40% aged 46 to 60. Nationally, however, 32% of van drivers are female.

Of the women drivers who insure their vans with Admiral, nearly half are in the 46-60 age group, while more than a third of our female van insurance customers are aged between 31 and 45. 

Which are the most popular vans?

Overall, the top five vans we insure are

  1. Ford Transit
  2. Vauxhall Vivaro
  3. VW Transporter
  4. Renault Trafic
  5. Mitsubishi L200  

The Ford Transit is the number one option in every age group over 20, as well as being first choice for both women and men. 

The Mercedes Vito, Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner also feature in most age brackets, while pickup trucks such as the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi L200 are also commonly insured by Admiral; the L200 being the second most popular van among our female van customers.

For men, the Vauxhall Vivaro is the second van of choice after the Ford Transit, while, for men and women, the VW Transporter is in third place. 

Most popular jobs for van drivers

van graphic

Among our female customers, the most popular jobs for van drivers are

  • Company director
  • Dog walker
  • Cleaner
  • Teacher
  • Beautician
  • Police officer
  • Project manager
  • Nursery nurse

For men, the top five roles are:

  • Builder
  • Carpenter
  • Company director
  • Electrician 
  • Painter and decorator

These other trades are also popular among Admiral Van Insurance customers:

  • Joiners
  • Plumbers
  • Gardeners
  • Firefighters
  • Tree surgeons

The rise of the ‘gig’ economy appears to be reflected in van driver occupations - with courier and delivery drivers featuring among our male and female customers - as does the increase in self-employment. 

According to Office for National Statistics figures, the number of self-employed people stood at nearly five million in 2017 - a rise from 3.3m in 2001 and representing more than 15% of the labour force.

Vans as a lifestyle choice

According to Autotrader, 40% of van use is non-commercial, suggesting that lifestyle choices are a real lure for van buyers. Vans provide more space for larger families, while sliding side doors and rear tailgates and barn doors offer easy access for items such as prams and pushchairs.

Vans are also an excellent option for an adventure lifestyle, with plenty of room for surfboards, climbing and camping gear and bicycles. There’s also the option of converting your van into a camper and using it for weekend getaways and road trips.

Small and compact vans can be incredibly versatile, easily able to nip around town as well as proving smooth and reliable on longer journeys, while the higher driving position and good visibility also help to make them increasingly attractive.

What colour vans are we driving?

Van colour graphic

So, is white van man still in pole position? Well, white does indeed remain very much at the top of the leader board. According to automotive data experts cap hpi, more than half (52%) of new LVC registrations and 60% of used wholesale vans are white. 

Grey, silver and black are also popular, with grey accounting for nearly 13% of new van registrations and 6% of used wholesale vans, silver making up 12.75% and 13.5% respectively and black being chosen by nearly 9% of new van buyers and nearly 8% of used wholesale vans. 

In comparison, as a nation our favourite car colour is black, with almost a quarter of our car insurance customers choosing a black car and just 14% opting for white.

  • Blue - 19%
  • Grey - 16%
  • Silver - 12% 

Cap hpi’s senior vehicles editor, Steve Botfield, said: “In most cases, the colour of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) is determined by the corporate identity of the operator. 

“To give an example, blue vehicles tend be associated with a large utility company, red vehicles with a mail company and so on. It follows therefore that these large fleets have a regular replacement program which will have a direct impact on the colour of the vehicles being registered.”

Getting the right van insurance

Whatever the size of your van and whatever its use, it’s essential to have the right cover.

Our comprehensive van insurance is rated five Stars by Defaqto and in 2018 our new customers scored our service 9.5 out of 10 (SMS responses). 

We insure all types of van up to 3.5 tonnes and offer four levels of cover, depending on whether your van is for commercial purposes or enables you to lead an active life.

The easy way to manage your policy on the go