Can You Use Your Work Van for Personal Journeys? - The Droitwich Standard

Can You Use Your Work Van for Personal Journeys?

Correspondent 19th Jun, 2024 Updated: 19th Jun, 2024   0

If you’re a self-employed tradesperson or an employee with access to a company van, you might be wondering if it’s permissible to use your work vehicle for personal trips. The good news is that in most cases, you can indeed use your work van for non-business purposes, as long as you follow certain guidelines and understand the potential tax implications. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of using a work van for personal journeys and provide you with the information you need to stay compliant.

Using a work van for personal journeys is allowed if you have the right insurance and know the tax implications. Keep good records, talk to your boss, and follow the rules to use your work van for personal trips without legal or money issues. Be honest and follow the law for a worry-free time using your work van for personal things.

What Counts as Personal Use?

Before we explore the specifics of using a work van for personal reasons, it’s essential to define what constitutes “personal use.” Generally speaking, any journey that is not directly related to your business or work activities is considered personal use. This can include:

  1.  Commuting to and from your workplace
  2.  Running errands, such as grocery shopping or visiting the bank
  3.  Transporting family members or friends
  4.  Taking weekend trips or holidays

It’s important to note that while occasional personal use, like stopping to buy a coffee on your way to a job site, is usually acceptable, regularly using your work van for non-business purposes could have insurance and tax consequences.




Insuring Your Work Van for Personal Use

To legally use your work van for personal journeys, you must ensure that your insurance policy covers you for “social, domestic, and pleasure” (SD&P) use. Most standard commercial van insurance policies only cover business-related activities, so it’s crucial to check with your insurer and add SD&P cover if necessary.

Zego offers comprehensive business van insurance policies that can be tailored to your specific needs, including coverage for personal use. Their flexible plans allow you to pay only for the miles you drive, making it an affordable option for those who use their work van for both business and personal journeys.


If you’re an employee driving a company van, your employer should have the appropriate insurance in place. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm this with your manager or HR department to avoid any misunderstandings.

Paying Tax on Personal Use of a Work Van

When using a work van for personal journeys, there may be tax implications to consider. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to keep accurate records of your business and personal mileage, as you can only claim tax deductions for business-related expenses.

For employees, using a company van for personal trips might result in a Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax charge. The amount you’ll need to pay depends on several factors, including:

  1.  The van’s CO2 emissions
  2.  The fuel type (diesel, petrol, or electric)
  3.  The frequency and extent of personal use

As of the 2023/24 tax year, the BIK rate for company vans is set at £3,600 per year. If your employer also covers the cost of fuel for personal journeys, an additional £688 fuel benefit charge applies. To calculate your personal BIK tax liability, multiply the appropriate rate by your income tax bracket (e.g., 20%, 40%, or 45%).

It’s worth noting that electric vans are currently exempt from BIK tax, as the government aims to incentivise the adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

Using a Work Van as an Employee

If you’re an employee with access to a company van, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with your employer’s policies regarding personal use. Some companies may have strict rules prohibiting non-business journeys, while others might allow limited personal use.

In some cases, your employer may designate the van as a “pool vehicle,” meaning it is used exclusively for business purposes and remains at the workplace overnight. Using a pool van for personal trips could result in significant tax liabilities for both you and your employer.

To avoid any confusion or potential legal issues, always consult with your manager or HR department before using a company van for personal journeys.

Can I use my work van for commuting without incurring a tax charge?

In most cases, yes. HMRC allows employees to use a company van for commuting without attracting a BIK tax charge, as long as the van is primarily used for business purposes and certain conditions are met.

What if I only use my work van for occasional personal trips?

Occasional personal use of a work van is generally acceptable, but it’s important to keep detailed records of your business and personal mileage. This will help you accurately report your usage for tax purposes and avoid potential penalties.

Are there any restrictions on how far I can travel in my work van for personal journeys?

There are no specific distance limitations for personal journeys in a work van. However, excessive personal use could raise red flags with HMRC and lead to a tax investigation. Always ensure that your work van is primarily used for business purposes.

Can I let family members or friends drive my work van?

This depends on your specific insurance policy and employer’s guidelines. Some policies may allow named drivers to use the van for personal journeys, while others might restrict use to the primary policyholder only. Always check with your insurer and employer before allowing others to drive your work van.

What should I do if I’m unsure about the rules for using my work van for personal trips?

If you have any doubts or concerns about using your work van for personal journeys, consult with your manager, HR department, or a qualified tax professional. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances and help you stay compliant with tax regulations and company policies.

Article written by Steve Cook at Zego Insurance

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