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Caravan insurance – Why do you need it?
More than one million caravans were being used for holidays and weekend breaks in the UK last summer. The figure, revealed by the National Caravan Council Limited, shouldn’t come as too big a surprise for those of us who have enjoyed a week or fortnight’s break in one. Caravans, it seems, are as popular as ever, and a great way to spend an inexpensive, outdoorsy-type holiday.
So, if you’re considering buying a caravan or happen to own one already, then just make sure you’re covered for anything going wrong. Most claims in the UK are for accidental damage – such as hitting a tree or other obstacle when manoeuvring – or are weather-related (less than 10% are for accidents on the road). Anyhow, the last thing you want is to have your holiday ruined – or that of your guests if it’s being used as a holiday rental and broken into, damaged or stolen (if it’s a tourer).
Requirements for caravan insurance
Before you start looking at the different types of caravan insurance available, make sure you’re within government weight limits. The law, which applies to all drivers who qualified after 1 January 1997, restricts the total weight of the car and caravan to 3500kg.
Considering the average saloon car and caravan both weigh around 1500kg each, it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Bear in mind that being over the weight limit would invalidate your insurance.
You’ll need this if you plan to take your caravan with you on holiday by towing it to the back of your car. A new caravan costs around £9000 so an uninsured stolen one is no joke…
If your caravan is permanently located at a holiday park site or sitting for months at the side of your home, then this is the type of insurance for you.
- Trailer tent and folding camper insurance
If your caravan has a tent component attached, then you’ll need a specialist cover.
- Family and Friends
If you’re the driver then there will be times – especially when touring – that you’d like someone else to take the wheel. With this type of policy, you’re covered for a named or even non-named drivers.
- Alternative accommodation cover
This is handy if anything happens to your caravan e.g. storm damage, vandalism etc while you happen to be holidaying it.
If your caravan is the cause of an accident, then you’ll want to make sure you’re covered for damage and potential legal fees.
- Public liability insurance
If someone gets hurt or injured in (or outside) your caravan when, for example, the bed collapses or a wheel falls off the van, then again you may have damages and legal fees to look out for if you’re not insured.
- Fatal injury insurance
This can prove extremely costly without insurance cover – especially if it results in a Fatal Accident Inquiry.
- Contents and personal effects insurance
Most people will take their laptops and phones on holiday – and thieves are well aware of this. Check to see that this isn’t covered by your home insurance already.
- Storm damage insurance
This is especially important if, for example, your caravan is at a static site near the sea, a lake, river etc.
How to go about getting a cheap quote?
There was a time when it was only possible to get caravan insurance via specialist companies. Thankfully, today that’s all changing. More general companies offering caravan insurance packages has resulted in the market becoming far more competitive and insuring a caravan more affordable as a result – meaning caravan owners have more money to spend on their holiday itself.
Tips on getting best value caravan insurance
- Many caravan insurance companies provide discounts if you’re a member of a recognised relevant body such as The Caravan Club and The British Caravanners Club.
- Get a lower caravan insurance quote by making sure your security is top-notch. That means adding wheel clamps, an alarm and even a tracker system to your static caravan.
- Check to see if your car insurance will cover you for touring a caravan on holiday. If it does though, it probably won’t cover you for ‘extras’ such as a breakdown, wear and tear and rodent damage.
- Some insurers will provide a discount on insurance if you pass a caravan manoeuvring course, or have another relevant qualification, such as a Drive craft certificate or are a member of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).
- Having a higher excess will lead to lower insurance payments.
- Keep your caravan on the same pitch all year round and you can look forward to lower premiums
Caravan insurance FAQs
Q – Do I legally need caravan insurance?
A – Well, it’s not a legal requirement here in the UK, but it doesn’t make sense not to have it. Last year around 1200 non-static caravans went missing in the UK alone. And that’s not including the thousands that were burgled! Weather damage too can be a big problem for many touring caravaners.
Q – Can’t I just put my caravan onto my car insurance?
A – No. You may be covered in terms of third party liability but that’s it. In other words, they’ll pay out for any damage you cause to another driver’s car, caravan etc, but your own isn’t covered.
Q – Can I pay for my caravan insurance via direct debit?
A – Yes, most companies offer this, although it is less expensive to pay in one lump sum if you can afford it.
Q – What if I want to cancel by caravan insurance policy?
A – Most insurers allow you to do this, but you won’t necessarily get a refund for the months you’re not covered and there will be an admin fee. This differs between insurance companies so worth checking.
Q – I’m planning on putting my caravan into storage for a couple of years. Does it matter where?
A – Most insurance companies would prefer if it was kept on a ‘specialist’ site, one that is affiliated to the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA).
Q – Do most caravan sites insists owners have public liability insurance before they’ll allow them to pitch?
A – Yes, understandably site owners don’t want to face a huge bill themselves if anyone gets injured on their site – and which is why they ask caravan owners to have this.
Q – We’re planning a family caravan touring holiday in Spain next year. My insurance is for the UK-only though. Does this mean I won’t be insured if anything goes wrong while I’m abroad?
A – The good news is – not necessarily. Most insurance companies will allow you to extend the cover so that you’ll have the same cover as you would have been holidaying at home in the UK.
Q – My son and his family used our caravan in Spring and it’s still sitting in their driveway (we’ve had an extension built). I was just wondering if the van would still be insured if not at my address?
A – It’s just as well you asked because chances are, you won’t be insured (at least not unless you inform your insurance company).