With the number of vans on the UK’s roads increasing by 500,000 to 4.5m* in just four years the RAC has launched the first ever specialist van breakdown cover to ensure customers get the expert assistance they need, at the roadside or at home.
Department for Transport statistics show there has been a 13% growth in light goods vehicles since 2017 and a 25% leap since 2014. With so many different types of vans on the road, the RAC has revamped its breakdown packages to give both small businesses – from sole traders to companies with fleets – and private individuals cover that suits their needs.
While the nation’s 4.5m vans are predominantly used for commercial purposes 2.1m are privately registered**. Department for Transport statistics*** reveal that panel vans make up 59% of the light goods vehicles on the road (2.66m), followed by pick-up vans (10% – 449,819) and then motor homes (6.5% – 291,045). The most popular van**** is the Ford Transit with more than 800,000 on the road, followed by the Volkswagen Transporter with around 273,000 and the Vauxhall Vivaro (237,000) and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (224,000).
RAC Van Breakdown cover is designed to keep both business and recreational users on the move and make it quicker and simpler to get their van back on the road should one of the RAC’s expert patrols not be able to fix it on the spot as they normally do four out of five times.
The RAC has created two new products – Van Lite and Van Total – both of which are intended for business and personal use. Van Lite, priced at £120 a year for one vehicle, provides ‘rescue anywhere’ cover for three call-outs a year, with a 10-mile tow and a 20-mile taxi from the garage if the van can’t be fixed there and then.
Van Total, priced £160 a vehicle, offers the same business or personal ‘rescue anywhere’ cover but with unlimited call-outs as well as a tow from anywhere in the UK and a choice of replacement van or overnight accommodation while their vehicle is being repaired. It also features advanced garage support to make the repair and garage liaison process as straight forward for the customer as possible.
For businesses, the cover also includes access to an online vehicle management portal which enables those responsible for several vehicles right up to larger to fleets to set MOT reminders, update vehicle details and amend cover as required.
Siobhan Duffy, head of RAC Van Breakdown cover, said: “With 4.5m vans on the road being relied on by both businesses and increasing number of private individuals, we decided there was a real need in the breakdown market for specialist van cover.
“While our expert patrols have all the right tools and technology to get van drivers back on the road, there are inevitably times when vehicles need to be repaired at a garage which is an issue for customers who rely on their vans for work. This is why our Van Total cover provides van-for-van replacement so they can carry on working as normal – after all time is money.
“We also felt it was very important to provide ‘rescue anywhere’ cover that doesn’t involve forcing customers to upgrade to be rescued at home or at their registered business address. This means – unlike some providers – we’ll rescue customers on their driveways or on the road as standard. And we’ll always try to fix them on the spot, rather than towing them straight to a garage.
“The two products we’ve created are designed to meet two distinct levels of need, whether that’s business or personal. Van Lite is aimed at customers who only require three call-outs a year and are unlikely to need towing long distances if they break down whereas Van Total covers all the bases with unlimited call-outs, tows from anywhere in the UK and a replacement van while theirs is being fixed.
“If it’s expert breakdown a customer needs, then we’ve got them covered. After all, if anyone know vans, it’s us.”
* Table VEH0101 – Licensed vehicles at the end of the quarter by body type, Great Britain from 1994 Q1; also United Kingdom from 2014 Q3 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1021006/veh0101.ods
** Table VEH0402 – Licensed light goods vehicles at the end of the year by keepership 1 (private and company), Great Britain from 1994; also United Kingdom from 2014 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/985963/veh0402.ods
*** DfT analysis of Light Goods Vehicle category by body type detail as of 30 June 2021 requested by the RAC
**** Table VEH0124 – Licensed cars at the end of the year by make and model and year of first registration 1, United Kingdom 2020 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/985623/veh0124.ods