Insurance when living in your motorhome
Words: Richard Dredge
The modern motorhome offers all of the comforts of home, so it’s no wonder that some owners prefer to live in their vehicles rather than a bricks-and-mortar property. And let’s face it, it’s a lot quicker, easier and cheaper to move when you live in a Bailey rather than a Barratt.
A lot of people have been taking stock of their lives over the past year and the pandemic has led to some folk throwing in the towel with work, deciding that, instead of returning to the rat race, they’d prefer to retire and cut their cloth according to their financial means.
For many, that will mean doing a lot more travelling, ticking off places on a bucket list that’s taken a lifetime to compile.
One of the best ways to see the world, if you’re in no hurry to cross continents, is by motorhome, but spending your life on the move can cause all sorts of problems when it comes to insurance.
It all depends on how you play things because, if you do what most people do and retain your property while you go off travelling, you simply use your home’s postcode for your vehicle’s insurance cover.
But, if you sell your property to fund a life on the move, getting insurance can prove significantly more difficult – or to be more precise, you’ll have a far smaller pool of insurance companies prepared to cover you.
There are two key reasons why insurance companies aren’t big fans of full-timers. The first is that those companies like you to have a permanent fixed address for correspondence to be sent to and also so they can calculate the risk that you pose as a vehicle owner, even if your motorhome is hardly ever there.
The other reason is that some motorhome insurance policies have an annual usage limit of eight or nine months, which is potentially seven or eight months more than many motorhome owners need – but it’s not enough for a full-timer.
Another significant hurdle for some insurers is the issue of contents limits, because many policies have a cap of just £2,000 to £3,000.
If you’ve got a permanent fixed residence, it’ll be insured, so any high-ticket items will be on that policy but, without any home insurance, all of your valuables will be down to your motorhome insurer to cover – and they’ll get twitchy at the thought of it.
Selling off your Fabergé eggs and Picassos (not of the Citroën kind) will help, of course, but it’s amazing how everyday stuff adds up in value. Items such as clothing, bikes, jewellery, cameras, computers and watches can reach a hefty tally. Having said this, some items (such as jewellery) are often specifically excluded from motorhome insurance policies.
Incidentally, we’ve only looked at the issue of motorhome insurance here, particularly from the point of view of someone who has no permanent residence.
But, if you do retain a ‘proper’ home and go off travelling, don’t lose sight of the fact that your house insurance will also probably have a restriction on how long you can spend away at any one time.
It’s not unusual to be limited to trips of 60 or 90 days so, if you’re not careful, you could be in breach of both your house and motorhome insurance policies if you spend too long on the road.
There are insurers out there that will cover full-timers, as well as long-termers. The key (as always) is to be transparent. The things that make getting cover difficult include the motorhome being too old, not having a permanent residence in the UK, or simply not being able to provide a contact address in Britain.
You might also struggle to get cover if your motorhome isn’t worth enough (£25,000 is typical), or if you’re on unemployment benefits. Many insurers won’t cover full-timers and of those that do, breakdown cover tends to be an optional extra, but you shouldn’t even consider travelling without this.
In association with Motorhome Protect Insurance Specialist
Tel: 01865 818331