15/06/2020
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A guide to caravan insurance

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So, how do you get the best caravan insurance cover? First of all, give yourself some research time to make sure you find the correct policy for you. Your new caravan is important so it is essential to make sure it is properly protected.

Saving money on caravan insurance

You can certainly save money on your caravan insurance policy and there are a number of different things you can do to lower your premium. Security devices fitted to your caravan can provide a discount.

But, remember that the best caravan insurance policy for you doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest one. It’s only when you come to make a claim that you find out how well protected you are.

Most policies on the market are comprehensive, but some can exclude certain important areas.

For example, some may not cover your caravan if it is permanently sited. So, check what exclusions and terms there are with each policy you consider.

There are generally three main factors that affect the premium:

  • Your claims history
  • Safety and security
  • Your caravan’s value

Other factors include how and where you use your caravan, where it's stored, and what's in it.

What’s included in caravan insurance?

As standard, caravan insurance would usually includes cover for accidental damage, malicious damage, fire, theft, storm and flood damage. There is often the option to include European cover if you plan on going abroad, and also cover for personal contents and equipment. Always double check!

A caravan damaged by fire

Caravan insurance excess

An excess is the amount that you pay towards a claim. There may be a standard excess set by the insurer, plus the option to add a voluntary excess, which means you would pay more should you need to make a claim.

Your excess is what you pay in the event of a claim. If you have a £100 excess, you have to pay for the first £100 of a claim. An excess is a way of keeping your overall premium down.

The larger your excess figure – the more you pay towards a claim – the lower your insurance premium will be. You can discuss this with your insurer and find a balance that works for you.

Caravan insurance and the policyholder's age

The policyholder’s age should not impact on the cost or level of cover. Again, there may be exceptions, so check if you feel your age may be a factor.

It's highly likely that every insurance company will want to know your date of birth anyway. Needless to say, the onus is on you to ensure you’re towing legally in the first place and, for example, have taken the B+E test if you’re towing an outfit weighing more than 3,500kg and passed your driving test after 1 January 1997.

Be open and honest about any medical conditions you have, too, as there may be insurance restrictions with some conditions. Failure to do so could result in a rejected claim.

Provide accurate information for your caravan insurance

Do not be tempted to withhold or be creative with the truth on your insurance application – the information that you supply must be accurate, otherwise it could affect you if you make a claim and the insurance company may void your policy.

Insurers do not pay out without checking all of your paperwork. If you’ve deliberately misled your insurer, it may well refuse to pay out any claim.

Caravan security and the impact on caravan insurance

Many insurance companies will require a certain level of security features, such as a wheel clamp to be fitted to the caravan when it is unhitched from the towcar. Others will insist on further security devices, such as a tracker and/or an alarm, depending on the value of the caravan you own.

Your insurer will have lists of up-to-date ‘approved’ security products, from hitchlocks to wheelclamps, all the way through to alarms and state-of-the-art satellite tracking systems.

Nothing’s completely thief-proof, however.

A caravan stopped by the police

Secure caravan storage

Ensuring your caravan is stored in a secure location will be one of the key criteria for any insurance provider you deal with. A secure compound is one that has locked gates at the entrance of the site, perimeter security, and is used solely to store caravans and other leisure vehicles.

Insurers will be looking for evidence of where you intend to keep your caravan when you’re not away touring. Sometimes, keeping it on the drive at home isn’t necessarily the best option.

There’s more chance of a caravan being stolen from a home driveway than anywhere else. CaSSOA (Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association) has sites across the country and these are undoubtedly your best storage option, especially as many insurers give a premium discount if you use one (rated gold, silver and bronze).

However, occupancy levels are already high, and fees can reflect this. There are other storage facilities that insurers will accept as secure locations, including some campsites.

Using car insurance for covering your caravan

Your car insurance will cover third-party damage while your caravan is attached to the car but it will usually not cover any damage that occurs to the caravan itself.

In other words, at best, you'll be insured for any damage you cause to someone else or their property. But that’s only when the caravan’s attached to the car.

So, if it’s in storage or on a campsite, it’s not covered. The same applies if you have a bump and it’s your fault. You’ll have to pay for your own repairs. Finally, the repatriation or delivery home of your caravan, if it is badly damaged, may not be covered by car insurance. This is why it is essential you have separate insurance for your caravan, in addition to your car insurance.

Restrictions on caravan use

Most insurance companies stipulate some rules – often they will say the caravan can’t be used for business use, let out for hire or used as a permanent residence.

Take it up with your insurer if you’re considering using your caravan abroad (you could save money if you’re not) or if you’re using it for anything other than leisure purposes.

To that end, in most cases, family and friends can use your caravan, and the contents and equipment will still be covered. However, if you’re thinking of hiring it out, that’s a whole different game.

Also, remember that, if you vacate your house for more than 30 days at a time to tour around in your caravan, your home insurance may be invalidated, so check this carefully also.

Paying for caravan insurance

You can generally pay in one single payment for the year or by monthly instalments. The latter usually involves setting up a direct debit, which leaves the onus on you to cancel it when the time is right. Most companies also charge a premium for the credit if you don’t pay in one go.

Low-value caravans and caravan insurance

Even if you only paid less than £5,000 for your used caravan, it is still worth insuring to protect your investment. Most policies also provide public liability cover. Some caravan sites insist on you having this in order to stay on their site to ensure you are covered for any damage that you or your caravan may cause to anyone else.

You also have to think about any contents and special equipment you may have on board. Not to mention if you have a scrape and it turns out to be your fault.

Lower premiums and caravan insurance

Often being a member of a caravanning club can get you access to a discount on your premium.

Many insurers will ask you whether you’re a member of the Camping and Caravanning Club or the Caravan and Motorhome Club, but if you belong to another membership organisation, including an owners’ club, mention this, too.

It could get you access to preferential rates or special policy inclusions that would otherwise be cost options.

Also, remember that if you’ve successfully completed an official caravan manoeuvring course (both main clubs offer these), you might be in line for a small discount.

Likewise, if you have Tyron bands fitted to your caravan’s wheels, or Al-Ko’s ATC Trailer Control system, you might qualify to pay a lower premium.

You can lower your premium by only insuring the caravan and not including items like awnings, ancillary equipment or contents, which increase the sum insured. The right insurance policy is sure to give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on caravanning!

Types of caravan insurance policies

There are a number of different caravan insurance policies on the market. We suggest using a specialist broker but first do your basic research online to get an idea of cost and what policies will best suit you.

Some policies will offer new-for-old cover for caravans up to five years old. Many will also offer varying limits of European cover, so double check this if you plan to tour over the Channel.

A caravan on a ferry crossing

Many insurance policies also offer an optional breakdown policy.

Generally, caravan insurance cover provides three options:

  • Market value – this means your policy covers the cost of an equivalent replacement caravan if yours is stolen or destroyed. This takes into account both the age and condition of your caravan.
  • New-for-old cover – with this cover you will get a new replacement caravan of the same or equivalent model.
  • Guaranteed value – this is a good compromise, whereby you’ll need a dealer’s receipt to prove how much you’ve paid for your caravan, which could typically be any age up to around seven years. Here, the insurer will pay out an agreed amount, should the caravan be stolen and not recovered, or written off.

Whatever the age and price of your tourer, we think you’re best keeping this as your starting point: to be returned to the same position you were in before the incident.

If you enjoyed this guide to caravan insurance, there is loads more expert caravan advice just like it in the latest 2020 issue of Your First Caravan.

 

Get your copy here: pocketmags.com/your-first-caravan-magazine and buy digital issues of Caravan magazine here.

 

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