How Safety Effects Large Passenger Van Insurance Cost

Large Passenger Van photo

Help Protect Your Church, School or Nonprofit From the Risks of a 10, 12 or 15 Passenger Van

Passenger vans are the vehicle of choice for churches, private schools and nonprofits. They are attractive because of their higher occupancy and efficiency than other vehicles. The ability to carry large groups of youth (ie. sports teams, summer campers, etc.) all while promoting fellowship is a real advantage. But large passenger van insurance costs are skyrocketing.

The most common for religious needs are the 12 passenger van and the 15 passenger van. They are actually the same vehicle but with different chassis lengths. Also, the number of passengers noted includes the driver.

Though passenger vans are efficient and attractive, they also pose a high safety risk. An overwhelming number of studies show the dangers of these top-heavy vehicles.

Potential for an accident is often compounded with other passenger van safety issues. Underqualified driver, passenger misconduct, seat belts not used and lack of side-impact protection. These combined increases the probability of a rollover causing serious injuries or fatalities.

“In 2010-2019, 69% of the occupants killed in rollovers were not wearing seat belts. 57% of the occupants killed in rollovers were ejected from the vehicle.”

So, what can you do to mitigate these risks and prevent accidents from happening? In this article, we will first look at the reasons why passenger vans are dangerous vehicles. Then, we will review solutions to help prevent costly mishaps from happening. Finally, we will take into account ways to help keep your 10, 12 and 15 passenger van insurance cost down.

Problems With 10, 12 and 15 Passenger Vans

First, let’s examine the most common issues with passenger vans that pose a high safety risk:

Rollover Risk

Both 15 passenger vans and 12 passenger vans have a higher risk of rolling over than others. Almost 60% of fatalities in crashes are from rollover accidents. Several different factors contribute to higher rollover rates. The most common is when more weight is on one side of the van than the other. Uneven distribution of weight by luggage and people can often shift. Together with excessive driving speed spells certain disaster.

Large Passenger Van Speeding Down Road photo

Capacity Load

The idea behind passenger vans is to carry large loads. With that, they often get packed inside and out. Inside with the max number of people in the seats and their heavy baggage and equipment on the roof. Often times the max number of people recommended is ignored. Overloading a 12 or 15 passenger van may be common but it is one of the biggest safety mistakes.

“Fully loading or nearly loading a 15-passenger van causes the center of gravity to move rearward and upward, which increases its rollover propensity and could increase the potential for driver loss of control in emergency maneuvers.”

Inexperienced Driver

It is common to put a volunteer or young driver behind the wheel for convenience or lack of help. Yet, most people do not have enough experience driving a large-size vehicles. Also, the handling of a 12- and 15-passenger vans is very different than other heavy vehicles. This is due to their unusual dynamics and the distribution of carried weight. Unfortunately, inexperienced drivers don’t know these important facts.

Infrequent Use

12 and 15 passenger vans do not get used very often. They stay in the building garage for weeks or even months. Because of this, routine inspections are often forgotten due to lack of use. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. It is even more severe when these larger vans get stored outside in the elements. These small details can result in major issues later. For example, reduced brake capability, low tire pressures, outdated safety equipment and more.

Safety Tips for the Use of 10, 12 and 15 Passenger Vans

Next, let’s review the safety tips that help prevent costly passenger van accidents:

Reduce the Rollover Risk Associated With Passenger Vans:

No Rollover Van sign
  • Keep passenger occupancy less than the max recommended
  • Driving conservatively rather than aggressively
  • If less than the max number of passengers, fill the front first
  • Maintain a safe speed, under 50-mph, even on the highways
  • Quality tires mounted properly
  • Proper tire pressure at all times, check tire pressure often
  • Do not put cargo on the roof of van even if racks are present
  • Keep the gas tank as full as possible
  • Removing the backseat if possible

Safe Capacity Loads for Large Passenger Van Sizes:

  • For 15-passenger vans, limit occupants to ten people
    NEVER more than fifteen occupants including the driver
  • For 12-passenger vans, limit occupants to eight people
    NEVER more than twelve occupants including the drive
  • For 10-passenger vans, limit occupants to seven people
    NEVER more than ten occupants including the driver
  • Always leave the roof empty.
    NEVER transport cargo on the roof of a van
“15-passenger vans with ten or more occupants had three times the rollover rate of those with less than 10 people on board.”

Safety Tips for Passenger Vans That Are Not in Frequent Use:

  • Perform safety checks every six months or less
  • Ensure routine maintenance with a log outlining safety issues
  • Measure tire tread and replace old or worn out tires
  • Maintain adequate tire pressure as directed by owner’s manual
Good Tire Tread on Van photo
“Fatal rollovers involving vans are most likely to involve tire failures.”

Requirements to Reduce Risks Due to Inexperienced Drivers:

Organizations currently in ownership of 10, 12 or 15 passenger van should implement the following safety practices:

  • Training and license is a must. All drivers must have a current license and keep it up to date
  • Do not allow persons without proper licensing to operate the vehicle Careful screening of all drivers
  • Passing of nationally-recognized defensive driving courses to operate large passenger vans. The course may be Internet-based but must meet minimum requirements including:
    • 4 hours of instruction time
    • Testing with written results
    • Driver certification from programs such as Coaching the Van Driver III, DDC-4 and DDC-PC (Online)
  • Provide re-training to all approved and licensed passenger van drivers at least once a year
  • Pre- and post-trip inspections of the vehicle
  • Communication of safety procedures to all occupants
    • Requirement of the use of seat belts by all passengers
    • Access to onboard safety items such as cell phones, first-aid kits and fire extinguishers

Churches and schools should also be aware that the use of large passenger vans to transport younger children to and from school should be prohibited.

“Most states prohibit use of 15-passenger vans for pre-elementary, elementary and secondary school children or significantly restrict the use.”

Insurance Coverage for the Risks of Passenger Vans

Last, let’s take a look at the best ways to help keep your passenger vans insurance rates as low as possible:

Safe Driving = Better Coverage on Your Passenger Van

Passenger Van Driving on the Road photo

Like any other vehicle, safe, accident-free driving prevents your insurance rates from skyrocketing. For example, insurance rates can triple for a passenger van with only one accident.

Due to the dangers of 12 and 15 passenger vans, more demand to obey strict federal laws are now at the state-level.

Families of accident victims are often the driving force behind changes in the law. This has caused many insurance companies to reassess coverage options for these vehicles. Existing policies are likely to have more stringent requirements added to their coverage.

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As you know, it has become more difficult to get the insurance coverage you need to operate a passenger van. Not to mention, religious organizations are more mindful of the rising insurance costs. We are here to help! Beacon can help you with insurance for your 12 and 15 passenger van at rates that won’t break the bank.

Steer Clear of the Dangers in Driving a Large Passenger Van

Who was it that said, “…knowing is half the battle”? This is no more true than with your insurance coverages and rates. Our goal is to provide helpful information you can use to better your coverage. And, may even help lower your passenger van insurance cost.

Get Your Free 15 Passenger Van Checklist & Reference Guide PDF:
Use this to ensure proper safety measures are completed

(Also applies to 10 and 12 passenger vans)
Click the button below to download your free PDF:


All organizations must adhere to state laws on the use of passenger vans. They alone are responsible for the safety of the passengers they transport. So, reducing the possibility of a crash and injuries should be of your highest priority.

At Beacon, lighting the way to your peace of mind is our mission.
Our goal keeps us driven to provide the coverage you need to find that peace of mind.

The Beacon difference is in our expertise. We have served the insurance needs of churches, schools and nonprofits for over a decade. Beacon provides safety resources to help prevent risks for 12 and 15 passenger vans. It is also our mission to offer the coverage you need to continue your mission of service.

We partner with GuideOne who has over four decades of knowledge and experience on risk. They are an expert on safety for churches, private schools and nonprofits alike. Together, we provide resources you need for safe operation of high-risk passenger vans. This helps you meet the requirements necessary for comprehensive coverage at lower rates.

Contact us today for a review of your organization’s vehicle policies.
You can also learn more about GuideOne and our large passenger van coverage.


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