If you're planning a holiday and are thinking that traveling with a caravan would be a great way to see the country then you may have some questions about legal requirements. Besides learning about licensing and weight limit restrictions for your car and caravan combination, you're probably wondering what kind of insurance cover do you need—is extra caravan insurance really necessary?
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Do I need insurance to tow a caravan?
Unlike self-powered motorhomes, which are required to be insured, there is no special insurance required by law to tow a caravan, whether you're just renting one for a holiday or buying your own. Hauling a caravan behind your car or SUV does not necessarily require that you purchase any insurance as such. However you may want to buy extra coverage. Here's why.
Comprehensive coverage on the vehicle you will be using for towing will typically include an automatic provision for hauling caravans or trailers, but this insurance coverage only goes so far. For example, most car insurance coverage of caravans only extends to 3rd party claims for damage to someone else or their property caused by the caravan while it's being towed—it won't cover damage to your caravan.
That is, the majority of companies will offer no protection to your caravan should you have an accident. If this is not a concern for you then there is no legal obligation to purchase special insurance to tow your caravan. Any extra coverage you choose to add (e.g., to cover damage to your touring caravan) is completely optional—if you want to cover the cost of repair or replacement due to accident or theft for your caravan, then buy special "caravan insurance", which will cost around £150 depending primarily on the value of the caravan.
That said, you may be required to have caravan insurance by the site where you park your RV when it's not in use, depending on where you park your caravan.
Does towing a caravan affect my insurance?
Towing a caravan should not affect your car insurance, but it's always a good idea to check with your insurance underwriter to find out for sure before you hook up.
Remember, however, that comprehensive cover for your car does not extend to cover damage to your caravan, as discussed above. That is your comprehensive car insurance won't apply to damage sustained or theft to both the car + caravan, only the car—the caravan only gets 3rd party coverage in most cases. So in that sense your car insurance is "affected" (i.e., you don't get comprehensive cover for the whole car + caravan unit, only the car).
On a separate note, if you own and want to move a static caravan you'll not only need a specialist moving company but you should let your caravan insurance company know, as you may need to pay an extra premium to have it covered during the move.
Does my car insurance cover caravan towing?
Yes and no. As mentioned above, car insurance often includes coverage for any towing of a trailer or a caravan that you may undertake—but only if you have comprehensive car insurance. However the cover provided for caravan towing typically just extends to your car and third party damage, meaning if you had a no-fault accident the other person's property or personal damage would be covered, but not your own caravan—coverage for damage to your caravan is usually not included in a standard comprehensive car insurance plan.
Generally speaking, it would be wise to add coverage for any damage to your caravan so that you are suitably covered for repair or replacement in the event of an accident although this will depend upon the value of your caravan and your individual financial situation.
Do I have to pay road tax on my caravan?
Towed caravans are not subject to road tax—another question commonly asked by people thinking of buying a caravan.
Caravans that are towed behind a car and do not weigh in excess of 3,500kg are not required to pay road tax. Good news for caravan owners. Trailers that exceed this limit and some motorhomes do have some road tax obligations and if you are parking a caravan on the road there may be some costs or restrictions associated with that depending on your local authority. For road tax, new rates came into effect on April 1st, 2017 and are based on your vehicle's emissions. Road tax rates can be checked at Gov.uk’s website by different vehicles and other criteria.