When buying a caravan, what usually springs to mind are the holidays you'll take, the caravan sites you want to visit—or even the money you plan to make by renting your caravan out as a second income. What most people might not consider however, is insurance for their caravan.
Caravan insurance costs around £100 - £400 per year depending on the value of your caravan. Given this, let's see what's covered and what's not to help you decide if caravan insurance is right for you.
Do I need caravan insurance?
Although caravan insurance is not a legal requirement except for motorhomes, it is still strongly recommended. This is because caravans are costly investments, and just like a car or a house there's so much which can go wrong that could leave you out of pocket and can be especially important if you live in your caravan.
For example, the Warwickshire Police reported that 1,400 caravans are stolen in the UK each year. Having insurance to cover caravan theft is essential to help you recoup some value if yours is taken.
What is caravan insurance?
What your caravan insurance protects you against depends on the type of cover you choose, but most caravan insurance policies should cover you in the case of an unexpected event such as theft, loss or damage (e.g., from a fire or flood).
Your insurance should also cover 3rd party liability costs, which will cover you against claims made by a member of the public, similar to how public liability insurance works. This is especially important if you plan on renting your caravan out, which many owners do due to the lucrative return this can offer, especially during school holidays.
The insurance policy should also contribute to the cost of repairs due to damage. It's worth checking what damage this covers, as some policies will differ from others and it's essential to choose the right policy to suit your needs. For example, some policies provide you with a new caravan should yours be written off, while others may pay a lump sum of the market value. General wear, tear and damage is not generally included in caravan cover.
Caravan Insurance May Cover:
- accidental damage
- storm and flood
- malicious damage
- 3rd party liability
Different types of caravan insurance
Just as there are many different insurers of caravans, there are also many different policy types as well as actual insurance types, depending on what type of caravan you own. Here are the 3 main categories of caravan insurance, along with what your policy will need to cover by type of caravan:
Static caravan insurance
Often a requirement of the park owners in which you wish to leave your caravan, static caravan insurance is for larger caravans which remain in the same location for long periods of time. Static caravan insurance may cover aspects such as new for old cover, contents cover and storm damage, which is especially important if you are leaving your caravan in the park over the wintertime.
In addition, some insurers may offer a discount on your static caravan insurance if you take steps to secure your caravan. This can include things such as additional locks, CCTV, alarms or tracking devices to deter thieves.
Touring caravan insurance
Your car insurance policy may offer basic cover (e.g., 3rd party liability) if you are towing a caravan. If your car insurance doesn't cover your caravan, or if you want extra coverage (e.g., damage or theft) then you'll need a separate touring caravan insurance policy.
By their very nature, touring caravans cover a lot of ground going to and from their destinations. This means they are prone to damage on their journey, as well as from the different sites where they're parked. You will also need to factor in having an adequate storage space for your touring caravan for when it's not in use—your insurer may go easier on you if this involves a garage or other secure location, as opposed to being left in a street.
There may also be a weight limit for your touring caravan insurance, as your car and caravan can not exceed 3,500kg if you passed your driving test after January 1997. This is due to the difference license conditions which were introduced after this time. Finally, look to see if EU cover is included if you plan on touring the continent.
Motorised caravan insurance
This type of insurance is a little different, as unlike regular caravan insurance which is optional, it is illegal to drive a motorhome without insurance. It's also not possible to put it on your regular car insurance, so you do need to ensure this is properly taken care of before you set off on holiday.
Things to factor in include foreign policy cover for travelling abroad, and contents cover which is especially important given your motorhome is self-contained with all your possessions, as well as the vehicle itself. Be aware that some insurance providers set a minimum and maximum age limit for those they will insure to drive a motorised caravan.
Whilst every insurance policy differs and therefore should be read thoroughly before accepting, there are some common exclusions that won't be covered by your insurance.
Permanent home: using your caravan as your main address is not typically covered. Caravans are designed for temporary use and are not built to the same specifications of your home. In addition, many campsites will close for at least 2 months of the year during low season, as the weather makes caravan use unsuitable especially with issues such as cold, frozen pipes and potential storm damage.
Contents: Certain contents such as electronics or jewellery may also not be covered under the contents section of cover. If these items are essential to your holiday, you may be able to take out additional insurance against these items. However given that caravans do not contain safes and are not the most secure of environments, it's advisable to leave valuables at home as insurers will not process these type of claims, and you could be left out of pocket.
Unsecure caravan: Because caravans are not as secure as a home if you also leave any doors or windows unlocked this will void the insurance. Therefore, you should consider investing in additional locks and other security methods for your caravan, especially if it will be left for months at a time.
Wear and tear: Any damage caused by general wear and tear of your caravan is also unlikely to be covered, as its expected that furnishings and fixtures will diminish over time. You should factor this in when buying a caravan, especially if you are able to choose the finish yourself as you want to make sure it's built to last.
European cover: If you plan to take your touring caravan or motorhome to Europe, enquire about paying extra for European cover unless it's already included as standard on your policy.
Use by 3rd party: Check the terms of your policy as it may not cover use by other people.
How to Save Money on Caravan Insurance
Here are a few top tips to reduce the cost of your caravan insurance:
Use a CaSSOA registered site: CaSSOA are registered bronze, silver or gold. CaSSOA was started as a collaboration between AmTrust insurance company and some storage site owners to combat caravan theft. It's goal is to reduce caravan theft by providing caravan storage sites with the highest levels of security. For example, CaSSOA sites include features such as full perimeter fencing, lockable gates, CCTV and monitored entry and exit of the site. Insurance companies are likely to give you a discount on caravans that are stored at a CaSSOA site.
Security: By boosting the security of your caravan, you can often reduce your insurance costs. Many insurance companies recognise products by Sold Security, for example.
Joining a club: Some insurance companies also provide a discount if you're a member of a caravaning club such as Caravan and Motorhome Club.
Finally, while caravan insurance isn't required by law, it may be required by a site, depending on where your caravan is parked.