The truth behind caravan and car insurance: How to get the best policy
It's hard to know exactly where to turn to find advice on buying caravan insurance. We all know the hours of adverts we must have sat through between our favourite television programmes, or that feeling you get when you change a detail in your policy and the cost jumps up, even just a little bit.
But what's the best way of protecting your pride and joy? What do you need to do to save the most money while keeping your caravan safe at home, on the road, or on site? Is your policy cost going to rocket if you move house? To find out on how to get the most from your caravan insurance, we went straight to the source...
Peter Cue – Founder and director of Comfort Insurance
“There are a number of factors that should be considered when looking at caravan insurance. First and foremost, will be the influence of postcodes.
“It’s generally assumed that nicer areas equates to cheaper deals. This is not the case. The premium will be based on how many claims the insurance company has dealt with in that particular area. This aspect of the insurance is unwavering.
“The area that you can influence most will be storage. This provides some of the largest discounts for quotes. For instance, if you permanently site the caravan, you will receive 20 per cent off of one of Comfort’s caravan policies. If you store the caravan in a CaSSOA Gold certified location, 15 per cent discount will be attributed.
“While it is fine to park the caravan on your drive, you will not receive the discounts in the way hoped to influence the premium.
“Vehicle security is another important factor affecting premiums. All insurance companies have different requirements, however, most will require a wheel-clamp and hitch-lock to be used. Fitting the caravan with extra security such as a Thatcham approved or Phantom tracking device will help to achieve further substantial discounts.
“We recommend looking at all of these factors to achieve the maximum discount the insurance companies can offer. However, all that said, insurance policies should never be all about the premium."
Peter’s top tips:
• Make sure you are covering the caravan for your needs.
• Always verify it has suitable contents and awnings cover.
• Consider whether European cover is needed and for how long and always insure for the correct amount if you have new for old cover.
Andrew Leech – Manager at Safeguard
“Getting a good deal on caravan insurance isn’t just about entering details on an aggregator website or calling an insurer and choosing the lowest price. There are practical steps that customers can take to influence premium as well as protect their caravan.
“When at home, storing the caravan within a garage or behind a padlocked secure gate, or keeping it in a reputable storage unit, will demonstrate to the insurer that the caravan is safe and secure.”
“Fitting security hardware such as a hitch lock, wheel clamp and alarm will also act as visible protection to help deter thieves, and a high-quality world-wide tracking device can help to locate the caravan if stolen. Investing in these measures now will help protect against unwanted expense in the long run.
“When taking out a new policy, it is vital that customers check all the details, reassessing the value of their caravan as well as the contents and informing their insurer if there have been any changes in these or their personal circumstances. This will ensure that customers receive cover that matches their individual needs, at a price to suit.”
Stuart Craig – Marketing manager at Shield Total Insurance
“Check you have the cover you need. Your car insurance will not cover the cost of repairing or replacing your caravan and its contents. Do you have the level of flexibility to adjust the personal accident and public liability to suit your needs so that you pay for exactly what you want?
“What about continental cover? Are you paying for it when you never use it? Have you got enough if you are touring in Europe for longer periods?
“Caravan insurance can fall into three ‘basis of cover’ that apply in the event of a claim settlement: new for old, market value and guaranteed value (or sometimes called ‘agreed value’). Choose the right cover for you.
“Big discounts of up to 25% are available if you’re a careful caravanner and haven’t claimed during the last four years. This discount is valuable but could be lost on your renewal if you suffer a loss.
“The claims service is the only time you truly know whether your insurer is any good! Check for UK-based claims handling teams, speak to friends and neighbours on site to get their experiences.
“Many insurers expect you to fit a wheel clamp and hitchlock but what do they do if you are prepared to go that little extra and fit the best security devices? They may offer you discounts but how many remove the theft excess entirely?
“The place you keep your caravan is important; the more secure locations allow you to enjoy big premium discounts. Gold-rated CaSSOA sites could save you another 25% off your premium.
“Put simply, the excess is the first part of a claim that is not paid by insurers. The higher amount you choose for this, the cheaper your premium.
“Club membership is another big point to look at when taking out an insurance policy. Why do you get a discount for this? Because it means you are an enthusiast and usually take better care than others.”
Liz Harrison – Communications officer at Caravan Guard
“Accidental damage claims are the most common. With this in mind, we reward customers who are safety conscious with discounted premiums.
"Having an anti-snaking device such as the AL-KO ATC, fitting tyre safety devices such as Tyron wheel safety bands, or fitting a caravan reversing camera are just three of the ways you can reduce the cost of your insurance.
"Always remember to mention which devices you have fitted to your caravan.
“When choosing an insurance specialist, it’s also important to do your research online. Does the provider have a good reputation? Is its claims service up to scratch? Does it offer value for money? These are the types of questions you should be asking before taking out a policy.
"A great way to find out how well a company is rated is by searching consumer review websites such as Review Centre or Trust Pilot. Alternatively, most companies have a review section on their Facebook page.”
Walter Ego – Caravan insurance industry insider
“When I see a smart new caravan I don’t think: ‘Wow! That’s nice.’ I think: ‘How much will it cost to replace that panel?’ Manufacturers simply don’t consider the cost of repairs, with some designs requiring very complex procedures. Guess who pays for it in the long run?
“Whichever ‘specialist’ caravan insurance providers you approach, just listen out to make sure they know their stuff. If they really don’t know what a Swift Charisma is, or ask you how to spell Elddis, I wouldn’t waste any more of my time and money...
“The average premium for touring caravan insurance is less than £200 and the average sum insured is £10,000. Think about it – is your chance of having some sort of incident less than one in 50? I don’t know any caravanner – myself included – who hasn’t bumped, scratched, or damaged their caravan (or worse) at some point in time.
“Caravanning is actually a very safe and fun-filled activity, so we all just need to take a few steps to ensure it stays that way. An entire auxiliary industry has grown up around caravan security, but too much of it is about charging people fortunes for devices that ultimately, can all be beaten. The manufacturers have a duty to secure their products better, not leave it to the aftermarket.
“The car industry had the same issues years ago and makers took steps to improve basic security. The only real example of the caravan industry working as one was the introduction of the AL-KO Secure Lock system.
“Caravan insurance is essential – too many people still regard it as an option. If your caravan is damaged, stolen, broken into or the victim of fire, you will be the one who is out of pocket.”
• Always remember to look at the latest Defaqto star ratings to see how each company compares.
Or simply tell us what you think!