RV insurance

How much does it cost to own a caravan?

Just as with most large purchases in life, it is not just the initial ticket price that needs to be taken into account when buying a caravan. Similar to when you purchase a home you will need to think about the costs of heating, lighting, maintenance and keeping it safe.

If you're thinking of purchasing a caravan here's a breakdown of expenses associated with caravan ownership, which you'll need to factor in before committing to buy. Of course it you're just renting a caravan then you won't need to worry about these costs.

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How Much is a Caravan?

Prices for a new caravan range from £15,000 to £250,000 or more, depending on which type of caravan you buy, how big it is, the quality of the fixtures, etc.

How much does it cost to buy a new caravan?Low EndHigh End

If you want to buy accessories like a caravan awning, these typically cost extra. For example a caravan awning will set you back anywhere from £100 up to £1,000 or more depending on the size, style and quality.

How much is a touring caravan?

Prices of touring caravans can range from £15,000 to more than £35,000 for new models. The cost increases as you go up in size from a 2 to 4 berth model, longer length and better fixtures. If your budget allows you to purchase in one of the luxury ranges you could be spending £30,000 or more. In contrast, renting a touring caravan costs around £350 a week.

Used models will run a bit less and you can pick up 5-year-old units for a fraction of the price. If that is older than you'd like then 2 to 3-year-old models should have relatively little wear and tear and provide you with substantial savings.

How much is a static caravan?

Static caravan models range from £30,000 to over £250,000. Prices can increase drastically based on model, size, and quality of the unit. There are also things like ground rent and fees to consider with this type of caravan, which can fluctuate a lot depending on the caravan park that your unit is located.

If touring around the country hauling your caravan home behind you isn’t quite what you were looking for then maybe a static caravan will work better for you. These lodge or park style caravan homes remain in one place that you can visit whenever you choose.

Cost of Utilities for Your Caravan

Whether you're paying for metered electricity for a static caravan or a nightly charge for a hook-up for a touring caravan, it's good to know two things:

  • How much electricity gadgets & appliances consume (to avoid overloading and tripping the circuit)
  • How much running appliances in a caravan might cost

How much electricity can a caravan use?

Caravan electricity consumption will depend on the appliances and heating in your unit. Some of the worst energy-consuming appliances are kettles, toasters, microwaves, hotplates, heaters and air con—each of these typically uses at least 4.5 amps (~1000 Watts). Remember that amps add up, so for instance using a 4.5 amp heater, a 5 amp toaster and a 3 amp low wattage kettle at the same time would put the electricity load at 12.5 amps. Most sites in the UK have a 16 amp or a 10 amp supply, and it's generally recommended to only use up to 80% of the capacity.

Recommended electricity load for caravans
It's best to use a load of at most 80% of the supply
10 amp supplymax 8 amp load
16 amp supplymax 12.8 amp load

Keep in mind that some appliances have a "startup surge"—a surge in electricity that occurs when you first turn the unit on.

Common Caravan Appliances: Electricity Consumption & Cost

While your exact consumption will vary by use (e.g., cold days that require using heating will consume much more than moderate days), it is useful to know what appliances use on average. Here is a guide to the power consumption of popular electrical appliances as well as estimated electricity costs for a week in your caravan (if you are on a meter), using an average cost of electricity of 24.5p/kWh.

Power Consumption and Cost by ApplianceWattsAmpsDaily UsageApprox. Cost per Week
Heating (e.g., Prem-I-Air)40026 hours£4.12
Heating (e.g., Kampa Diddy Portable Heater 750 or 1500 Watt settings)150076 hours£15.44
Heating (e.g., Kampa Diddy Portable Heater 750 or 1500 Watt settings)7503.56 hours£7.72
Toaster (e.g., Kampa 2 slice)7003.510 min£0.20
Microwave (low wattage)600310 min£0.17
Air Con Unit10004.56 hours£10.29
Water heater7503.52 hours£2.57
Hotplate1500730 min£1.29
Kettle (low wattage)900420 min£0.46
Phone charger50.53 hours£0.03
Fridge (e.g., SMAD 3 way caravan fridge)900.524 hours£3.70
Mains lights (e.g., 10 LED lights x 6W each)600.54 hours£0.41
TV (e.g., Philips 24" Full HD LED)200.52 hours£0.07
Total (use 1000W appliance for heating or cooling/day)£19.19
Weekly Total (with no heating or cooling)£8.90

Metered electricity should cost a similar amount to what you pay at home, since site owners are not supposed to profit from the re-selling of electricity—around 24.5 p/kWh depending on where you live. Nightly hookups cost around £2 to £7 regardless of the amount of electricity you use—electricity may be automatically included in the pitch fee as is the case for Caravan Club sites. Many people fit a solar panel to their caravan to save money on electricity.

How to Avoid Tripping the Circuit

To avoid tripping the circuit when camping, you may need to turn off some appliances while using others. For example, turn off your heater temporarily if you want to run the kettle and the toaster at the same time for breakfast. While higher-wattage appliances like kettles and toasters may only be on for a few minutes and not contribute significantly to your overall energy consumption, they can put a large load on the circuit causing problems for the short time they're on. Buying a low wattage kettle (e.g., 1000W or less) can certainly help, rather than using a 3000W rapid boil kettle like you'd use at home.

Many a caravanner has used so much electricity while on their travels that they have tripped the main switch. It can be a fact of caravanning life.

How much gas does a caravan use?

Just as with electricity your gas consumption will fluctuate based upon how much you are using for cooking and other functions. Many caravanners use propane as it can be used all year round but butane is actually the more efficient of the two. Tanks will need to be refilled periodically and many caravans now come fitted with static tanks as standard.

To calculate your gas usage this formula will help you:

Chart showing gas use formula for a caravan

H = Number of hours appliances will be in use

R = Rating of appliances being used in kw (from your handbooks)

C = Calorific value of gas (butane 13.7 kwh / propane 13.9 kwh)

Site Fees

Fees will run £15-25 per night for touring caravans, but will vary depending on the site that you're staying at and the range of amenities on offer. Site fees for a static caravan placed in a purpose-built park will run an average of £2,500 to £5,000+ per year. If you're staying temporarily at a caravan ground or site for your holidays then you will need to pay pitch or site fees. These fees allow you to place your caravan at the site as well as including some needed supplies like gas, electric and water.

Annual Servicing

An annual caravan service done at a professional dealer will cost £150 - £250, plus extra for parts that need replacing or maintaining. Most responsible caravan owners elect to have their vehicles inspected once a year by way of an annual service. There is no requirement for an MOT on caravans so an inspection is a good way of making sure the unit is fully roadworthy. You may also be able to find a mobile service that comes to your home to perform the inspection, quite handy if your caravan is parked up.

Caravan Insurance

Finally, while caravan insurance is not required by law (just like MOTs and road tax caravans have no legal obligation to be insured), it may be required by the site where your caravan is located. A caravan insurance policy will cost £100 to £400 per year for touring caravans and £230 to £350 for static caravans, mostly depending on the value of the RV—generally a reasonable cost to protect a valuable asset, in our opinion. Most car policies will provide you with third party cover, but this only helps other people in the event of an accident. Most caravan owners will buy a policy to cover their caravan and protect themselves from financial loss in the even of from damage, accidents, and theft.

Keep in mind that caravan owners looking to offset the costs of ownership or support their family budget might like to rent out their caravan, potentially earning around £400 per week their caravan is rented out.

Emma Hersh

Emma is a writer based in Manchester. She's written about business management, lifestyle, personal finance and recruitment advice for a range of magazines, large enterprise clients and industry trailblazers. She also has extensive Six Sigma experience from her years in logistics business management. For more information see Emma's Linked In profile.