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HGV Insurance: What is classed as heavy goods?  Heading Image

HGV Insurance: What is classed as heavy goods?

Get a better understanding of the different HGV category types.
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Understanding the different categories of HGVs can sometimes be a little confusing. As providers of HGV insurance, we have come up with this guide to help you get a better understanding of the category types for HGVs.



The term Heavy Goods Vehicle or HGV (also known as Large Goods Vehicle or LGV) which comes from the EU term for any vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of over 3.5 tonnes).

HGV categories are determined by the weight and size of the lorry. The type of lorry you can drive is determined by the licence that you hold. If you’re looking to drive a vehicle weighing over 3.5 tonnes then you will need to hold an HGV licence. This licence will cover all commercial trucks, such as tippers, refrigerated wagons, dropsides, flatbed trucks and much more depending on the weight of the vehicle and the type of licence held. 

HGV Licence Classes 

Cat C1 (also referred to as 7.5 tonne or Class 3)

A category C1 licence is for small commercial vehicles that weigh more than 3.5t but less than 7.5t. If you gained your licence before 1997 you’ll automatically have this category on your licence. If you gained your licence after 1997 you’ll have to take a test. 

Cat C1+E (also referred to as a 7.5 tonne + trailer)

This category gives you the ability to tow a trailer behind your Cat C1 vehicle. These tend to be seen on horseboxes and larger commercial vans towing a trailer. This category is an upgrade on the C1 licence and can only be taken once the licence holder has successfully passed a C1 test. 

Cat C (also referred to as Class 2 or Rigid)

The category C licence is designed for vehicles that are over 7.5t. This licence tends to be the most popular enabling the holder to drive both articulated and rigid-based trucks. Examples of these vehicles include fire engines, rubbish collection vehicles and tippers. 

Cat C+E  (also referred to as Class 1)

This category is for vehicles over 7.5t that has a detachable or separate trailer (also known as an Artic). Cat C+E licenses can only be applied for once the driver has taken and passed the Cat C qualification. These are larger vehicles usually used for long haul, national and international routes. 

Overloading your vehicle

An overloaded vehicle not only causes wear and tear to our roads but it also puts you and others at risk. The way a vehicle drives changes under a load, affecting the stability, steering and stopping distances. Loading a vehicle to exceed the maximum limit it should carry is illegal and ignoring weight limits could lead to an accident.

You should ensure that you know the axle weight and the GVW of your vehicle. This can be found on a plate which is often located in the cabin or under the bonnet of the HGV.

Hopefully, this helps and now you have a better idea about the different HGV licence categories that are available. 

How can Staveley Head help?

Looking for an insurance quote for your HGV? Why not call our team of HGV insurance specialists on 0800 023 7917 or get a quote online.

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