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Does Shop Insurance Cover Commercial Vehicles?

By Maria Hickey on November 29th, 2022

Many retail shop businesses in the UK use cars or vans as part of their operation. In most cases, shop owners will use their vehicles for deliveries or collections, in which case they will need to take out commercial vehicle insurance.

Vehicle commercial insurance is different from business insurance, so it is essential to understand the difference to ensure you don’t take out the wrong type, which can end up leaving you out of pocket should you need to make a claim.

Commercial vehicle insurance is tailored to cover vehicles used as an integral part of a business. For example, you will need this cover if you are a driving instructor, run two or more vans for your parcel delivery company, operate a taxi service, run a fleet of HGVs for your logistical firm, or operate minibus hire.

Should your vehicle be involved in an accident, your commercial vehicle insurance will protect you, your business, your assets, and the third parties involved in the incident. This insurance will ensure your business continues to operate without being out of pocket.

Does shop insurance cover commercial vehicles?

Shop insurance policies are drawn up with a focus on the risks that retail business owners face. This usually means your policy will be built with coverage that suits your individual needs rather than the protection that doesn’t apply in a retail business environment.

The main features of a retail shop insurance policy may include the following:

  • Public liability: To protect your business against compensation claims made by customers or members of the public for injuries or personal property damage while on your premises.
  • Shop building’s insurance: This protects against damage to the building from fire, flooding or accidental damage. The property owner should hold it, so if you rent your shop from a commercial landlord, you may not need this protection.
  • Business interruption: Should you need to close your shop for some time due to flooding, fire or vandalism, this insurance will cover the costs of lost income, shop rent and other necessary outgoings you still have to pay while your shop closes.
  • Building contents: This covers any fixtures and fittings that are not permanently fixed down and covered by your building’s insurance coverage. This includes belonging owned by you and your business not owned by your landlord.

As you can see from the above list, shop insurance covers the physical aspects of running a brick-and-mortar business. Still, shop insurance doesn’t usually extend to cover any vehicles used as part of your business. If your business relies on commercial vehicles, you must take out separate commercial vehicle insurance to meet your individual needs.

Knowing how to insure a commercial vehicle you use for your business is the key to ensuring you get the proper protection. It is also essential to distinguish between commercial and business vehicle insurance coverage.

Is there a difference between business and commercial car insurance?

There is a significant difference between commercial and business vehicle insurance. For example,
commercial car insurance will be for those whose vehicle is integral to their job, such as a delivery driver, driving instructor or taxi driver.

Business car insurance may be a better fit if you run a shop and use your car while working. This is where the confusion lies. Standard domestic car insurance covers your daily commute from home to a place of work, but if you use your car for any other reason than driving to your site of work, you will need to take out business car insurance.

Business use car insurance comes in different classes, depending on the level of coverage you need:

  • Business car insurance class 1: You need this if you drive between multiple work locations, make deliveries, or visit customers.
  • Business car insurance class 2: If you want to add a co-worker or named driver to your insurance, this is the cover for you.
  • Business car insurance class 3: This cover is for when you need to drive long distances as part of your job – but if you need to deliver large or valuable physical orders or carry shop merchandise, then you will need commercial vehicle insurance instead.

If you run a shop where you take orders in person from customers coming into your shop, over the phone or via your website, you may own a car or van as part of your business and use it to collect fresh stock and make deliveries to local customers.

While in some cases, class 1 business vehicle insurance may be enough for your needs, you may need to work out if you would be better off with commercial vehicle insurance, especially if you find yourself spending a lot of time carrying around a large number of customer orders or shop merchandise.

Does shop insurance cover commercial vehicles on site?

Your shop insurance policy will not extend to cover any commercial or business vehicles you park on your property. Shop insurance is specifically built to protect against running brick-and-mortar business risks.

Commercial vehicle insurance is geared towards protecting your business vehicles from the risks they face, which are very different to those faced by retail shop businesses.

Does shop insurance cover commercial vehicles in transit?

Your shop insurance policy won’t cover any vehicle you use as part of your business, but it is worth understanding how to protect your business vehicle while in transit.

Many shop owners will use their business vehicles for social, domestic and commercial use. Others will have a different car for work and another for everyday family use. Depending on your needs, there are five options to choose from when it comes to insuring your vehicles:

  1. Social only: For leisure and domestic use, such as school runs and grocery shopping.
  2. Social and commuting: For family use and driving to and from a permanent place of work.
  3. Carriage of own goods: This includes the tools and equipment needed to do your job.
  4. Carriage of own goods for hire or reward: For carrying around your own goods for hire or delivering goods for money.
  5. Haulage: Carrying goods or cargo you don’t own, such as customer goods or parcels.

If you are a shop owner that uses a business car or van to carry business-related goods, such as a food takeaway shop that delivers, or a florist delivering local customer orders, then the best option would be carriage of own goods (number three on the list). However, this doesn’t mean that your goods will be covered – you may need extra protection.


While it is a legal requirement to have motor insurance for the vehicles you drive in the UK, using cars or vans for business purposes raises the risk of accidents and theft. Standard car insurance doesn’t offer enough protection to cover the elevated risks that business vehicles face.

It is essential to consider the impact having your vehicle off the road will have on your business. Taking out appropriate commercial or business vehicle insurance will allow your business to continue and give your staff access to the transportation they need to do their job.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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