White van man misconceptions still rife
As a van insurance specialist of many years experience, iVan knows better than most that “White van man” has long been an unfair term of disparagement that does little to recognise the fact that van drivers and tradespeople, in general, are made up of a broad and diverse demographic that typically is not reflective of people’s prejudices and misconceptions.
Now a new survey from the respected tradespeople vetting company Checkatrade has confirmed that an astonishing number of British people (63%) still hold on to these rather tired and misguided preconceptions about tradespeople and, by extension, van insurance customers.
The study, which questioned 2,000 British people found the following:
- Nearly half (44%) believe that so-called “cowboys” or rogue tradespeople still make up for a large proportion of the sector.
- 28% believe that trade services are overpriced.
- 23% believe that tradespeople are unreliable.
- 19% believe that tradespeople overcharge.
- 11% believe that tradespeople are unskilled.
- 6% believe that tradespeople are undereducated.
Perhaps most astonishingly, many people are open in their view of snobbery against and disdain for tradespeople, with 14% of the respondents confessing to knowingly negatively stereotyping tradespeople on the basis of their profession alone.
Interestingly, there is a discord between people’s perceptions of tradespeople and their actual experience of them, with nearly 85% of those who had instructed a tradesperson in the past year describing their experience as positive and 13% actually saying that their experience of instructing a tradesperson had exceeded their expectations.
As a van insurance specialist, iVan has long been a champion of the good work done by the nation’s tradespeople, so we are pleased that the survey has led Checkatrade to launch an innovative campaign under the handle “#RespectYourTrades”.
Van insurance for all the UK’s tradespeople
iVan prides itself on providing van insurance quotes for the nation’s tradespeople. Whether you are a plumber, a builder, an electrician, a plasterer, a carpenter or indeed any other professional who relies on a van, we believe that we are ideally placed to provide you with van insurance cover at a competitive price.
So whether you are a one-man band, a fleet manager or a start-up, use our online quote engine today so that we can help you achieve all your commercial vehicle insurance objectives.
Light Commercial Vehicle demand in decline in 2020
Lockdown has had an adverse impact on the commercial vehicle market, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The figures show that the sale of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) has been hit especially hard, with a 36.4 percent drop in demand across 2020 so far and just 19,407 new vans and pickups registered over August. This is likely to have led to a significant drop in the demand for commercial vehicle insurance, although it will not be possible to establish this until insurers release figures for the same period.
Headline statistics for August from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders include the following:
- Compared to August 2019 there was an 18.2 percent drop in demand for commercial vehicles weighing 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes.
- Compared to August 2019 there was a 35 percent drop in demand for vehicles weighing 2.0 tonnes or less.
- Compared to August 2019 there was, overall, a 16,1 percent drop in demand for all light vehicles (those weighing less than 3.5 tonnes).
Even quieter than usual
Historically, August tends to be a quiet month for both vehicle registrations and the uptake of new commercial vehicle insurance policies. This is partly due to the end-of-summer-lull but is mainly because of fleet managers’ tendency to wait until the arrival of the new September plates.
However, August 2020 has been unusually slow and there are concerns that it could have a negative impact for van manufacturers and commercial vehicle insurance companies alike. There are also concerns that it may hit clear air targets; many fleets are due to make the transition to electric vans and if they do not act soon there is a real risk that targets will not be met.
Despite this, it is hoped that the current situation will represent nothing more serious than a temporary slowdown. The light commercial vehicle market is perhaps the one that will be best able to adapt to new cleaner technologies.
For example, earlier last week Amazon announced it had ordered 1,800 electric vans from Mercedes-Benz to join its European delivery fleet – the move forms part of the retail giant’s plan to run a carbon-neutral business by 2040.
iVan, for all your commercial vehicle insurance needs
Whether you are looking for an LCV insurance quote, a fleet van insurance quote or the flexiblity of an any driver van insurance quote, iVan can help you find the policy that is right for you. Simply use our quote engine today or call to speak with a van insurance advisor.
Peugeot Van Tech Could Combat Overloading
Data from the DVSA shows that almost a quarter of vans subjected to roadside testing since 2015 are overloaded. Exceeding the maximum payload limit for a van is not only against the law, it causes an unnecessary risk for other road users because the handling and braking capabilities of the vehicle will be compromised.
DVSA data revealed that out of 44,000 roadside tests, almost 1 in 4 vans were overloaded. With 7% found to be between 25 to 30% above their payload limit.
In response to this data, Peugeot set up the Tradesman Challenge to see whether electricians or plumbers would be best at judging the load in their vans.
The stunt was largely to promote new tech available in the Peugeot Partner van, the Overload Indicator, but it conveys a serious message at the same time.
Why is overloading a van dangerous
When a van is overloaded it becomes unstable, more difficult to steer and it may take longer to stop in an emergency braking situation. The tyres may overheat and wear rapidly, and there is an increased risk of tyre failure such as blowouts.
Exceeding the maximum weight also means the van insurance will be void, so if there is an incident, you won't be covered.
You can find the 'gross vehicle weight' or 'maximum authorised mass' for your commercial vehicle on the VIN plate. This weight is the maximum that the van is allowed to register when travelling on UK roads. It includes the weight of the vehicle, the fuel in the tank , the driver and passengers, and any load being carried.
Don't overload your van
You've gone to the trouble of getting the right van, you've searched for cheap van insurance and found a great deal, and then you overload your van and you are stopped – you're likely to receive a fine or even be prosecuted.
You wouldn't drive without van insurance or an MOT so why risk making your van unsafe and illegal by overloading it?
Find out the right payload weight for your van today and then work out how much your day-to-day kit weighs, so you can make sure you stay within the limits for your van. And don't forget to include yourself and anyone else when weighing everything up.
The Peugeot Partner van's Overload Indicator makes it nice and easy to stay within your legal weight limits, but if you haven't got that piece of nifty kit, you'll need to do some swift calculations.
Charity Calls for Van Drivers to Cover Up in the Sun
As 2020 has shaped up to be one of the hottest years on record, skin cancer charity Melanoma UK has appealed to van drivers to ensure they are adequately protected from the sun when behind the wheel over the remainder of the summer.
Many van drivers do not realise that they may be suffering overexposure to harmful UVA and UVB simply by driving their vehicles during daylight hours. This is true even when van drivers keep their windows closed. Although vehicle windows are generally quite effective at blocking out UVB rays – which are thought to be the most carcinogenic – they are less effective at blocking UVA rays, which, despite being less harmful, are still implicated in skin cancers and general sun damage to the skin.
Furthermore, Melanoma UK reported that van drivers in the UK were most at risk of right-hand side sun damage. This is because of the position of the driver on the right-hand side of the vehicle and the fact that it results in drivers experiencing direct exposure to sunlight on the right-hand-side arm, face, neck, ear and shoulder.
Half of all van drivers are oblivious to the risk, incorrectly assuming that they cannot suffer sun damage through their side windows. However, the charity reported that some do know the cost; one in five van drivers who participated in the study said they had experienced sunburn as a result of sun exposure while driving.
Worryingly, some van drivers admitted actually to increasing the risk or skin cancer, with 20% saying that they wind the window down and deliberately place their right arm on the driver side door in order to foster an asymmetric skin tone known to many as “white van man tan”.
Skin and sun safety while driving your van
Like any driver, van insurance customers should always take steps to limit their exposure to the sun’s UV rays when they are behind the wheel, particularly if they have a pale complexion, numerous moles or freckles, light-coloured eyes, or skin that is vulnerable for any other reason.
Unfortunately, only one in five van drivers who participated in the Melanoma UK survey reported regularly using sunscreen to protect themselves. However, all drivers who consistently spend daylight hours behind the wheel should wear sunscreen or cover up with long-sleeved clothing. In many cases, it may also be advisable to wear a suitable hat (particularly if your van has a sunroof) as well as sun-safe sunglasses that are also suitable for driving.
It is also advisable to also carry sunscreen in the vehicle, additional clothing and some kind of sunshade, as if you break down somewhere, it may not be possible to find nearby shade.
Choosing a sunscreen
In order to ensure adequate protection from the sun, the NHS recommends that people:
- Choose a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more
- Choose a sunscreen that has a 4-star UVA protection rating or has the appropriate EU standard UVA mark
- Only ever use sunscreen that is in date
How to wear sunscreen
Not only is it important to apply sunscreen, it is also essential that you apply enough. The NHS recommends that adults apply two teaspoons of sunscreen if just covering the head, arms and neck – as would be typical for most van drivers.
Furthermore, if van drivers are going to be in the sun for an extended period they should apply protection 30 minutes before they go into the sun and again immediately before they go out. It should then be reapplied as often as prescribed by the product's instructions – typically every two hours.
Any driver van insurance quotes with iVan
iVan can help you obtain an any driver van insurance quote online within minutes so that you can stay covered in more ways than one.
COVID-19 Impact on Commercial Vehicle Businesses
Like most businesses and industries, the commercial vehicle sector has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial vehicle hours on the road
You could be forgiven for thinking that commercial vehicles and their travel might not have been too badly affected by lockdown restrictions, after all, delivery drivers kept on delivering, but new data from Verizon Connect tells a different story.
From mid-February and into April the number of hours spent on the roads by commercial vehicle drivers went down by more than 50%, so the figures suggest.
The data, provided anonymously, showed that commercial drivers in France were hardest hit during lockdown with their recorded hours falling by 58%. In the UK that figure was down by 55% and in Spain down by 54%.
However, it seems that commercial vehicles in Germany did not suffer as much, with their hours on the road down by just 11%.
Thankfully, the bounce-back began as soon as lockdown measures began to ease. In France there was a 200% increase in commercial traffic between April 7 and May 5. While in the UK the same period saw only a small increase in commercial traffic hours by 22% over the same period.
Commercial vehicle production still suffering
Despite the uptick in hours spent on the road by van drivers and their vehicles, the UK commercial vehicle manufacturing industry is still feeling the considerable effects of the pandemic.
Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) commercial vehicle production in the UK fell by 61.6% in May – that's just 810 new vehicles coming off the production lines. The year-to-date figures are similarly grim: commercial vehicle output was down by almost 30% over the first five months of 2020 when compared with 2019.
Van insurance and coronavirus
It goes without saying that, if you decided to SORN your commercial vehicle during lockdown in order to reduce your van insurance payments, and you are now out about in your van again, you will need to reinstate tax and commercial vehicle cover.
If you did not halt your van insurance cover, your insurance provider may be willing to make adjustments to your policy either by reducing your annual mileage and recalculating the price of your policy or by reimbursing you for reduced mileage during the lockdown.
Contact your insurance provider to ask if they are making any adjustments.
And for a new van insurance quote or any driver van insurance quote contact iVan today.