Does signwriting affect your vehicle insurance?


So now that you’ve checked out the pros and cons of having signwriting, your next question is probably if it will affect your insurance premiums.

Signwriting is a modification that you need to tell your insurance company about, however, some types of temporary signwriting are not classed as a modification.

What is classed as signwriting?

Any form of permanent or semi-permanent words, graphics or logos on a vehicle that advertises your business on the external surface of your car or van. That includes your business logo, a description of your services, and any of your contact details. So even if it’s just a vinyl sticker with your name and number on it, that’s a semi-permanent modification to your vehicle.

Permanent Signwriting

Does signwriting affect your vehicle insurance

Back in the day, a professional sign writer would come along and physically paint the signage onto your van for you. This would be a permanent modification and you’d need to inform your insurance company.

Semi-Permanent Sign Writing

These days most signwriting is semi-permanent and still needs to be declared to your vehicle insurer.

Vinyl applications

Vinyl signage is stuck to your van and usually uses the vehicle’s paintwork as the background. So, for example, your phone number would be individual vinyl cutouts of the numbers, and not one long solid strip like a bumper sticker is.

Vinyl signwriting like this is made with what they call 7-year vinyl meaning it should stay stuck to your car and not fade for around the next 7 years.

Vinyl is easy (but time consuming) to remove with the help of a hairdryer to soften the glue and peel off.

Full Vehicle Wrap

A vinyl wrap is where large, pre printed pieces of vinyl are applied to your vehicle’s bodywork and completely cover the original paintwork. So with this method it’s possible to change your van’s colour scheme to match your brand if you want to.

Because this changes the entire look of your vehicle you’ll not only need to inform your insurer but also declare a change of colour on your vehicle’s V5 document.

A welcome side effect of wrapping your vehicle is that when you remove it to sell, the paintwork underneath will be in pristine condition.

Is a magnetic sign classed as signwriting on a vehicle in the UK?

No, because a magnetic sign is temporary it is not a modification that needs to be declared to your insurer. It also has the added benefit of you being able to remove it if a client prefers it (Some clients will see a sign written van coming to their house as an advert to thieves that the dog is left alone, or that the house is empty). So if you’re wondering whether to get sign writing, a magnetic sign is a compromise and it gives you a chance to see how it affects your business.

Is signwriting a business expense?

Yes, including the application costs too, and the fees of any designer you may have paid to come up with the logo for you. All these can be offset against your tax bill because anything that you pay that is purely because you own your business, is an expense you can claim.

However, if your insurer charges you a change of details charge you cannot put this down as an expense if you calculate your vehicle expenses by mileage but you can if you do a complete breakdown of costs such as fuel, insurance, tax, mot and repairs. Bear in mind, that once you choose a method for your vehicle expenses you cannot change from year to year, you must stick with that method until you change your vehicle.

What can’t I have on my signwriting?

Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, originally stated: “A person is guilty of an offence if he displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”.

After a lengthy campaign the word “insulting” was removed in 2013.


Ultimately it will depend on your insurance provider.

Some companies will reduce the cost of your premium if you have signwriting on your van as this shows them you’re likely to be a better, safer driver because you’re more identifiable, and your van is less likely to be a target for thieves for the same reason.

However, signwriting, especially a full vehicle wrap, will make your van more expensive to repair so your premium may increase.

In the case of tradespeople, having an advert on the side of their van may make it a more favoured target for thieves looking to steal tools. Now although this won’t be the case for you, if your insurance company doesn’t categorise commercial van insurance you may well get lumped in with a company wide blanket increase on policies for signwritten vans.

If you do decide to sign-write your van, then always make sure you tell your insurer because if you don’t, it could affect the amount that they pay out to you in the event of a claim.


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