A Guide to Campervan Insurance
What You Need to Know
- Whilst third party only cover may seem like a good way to save money, it won’t provide any cover for possessions within the vehicle. Not a good idea if you are taking a road trip.
- Fully comprehensive cover designed for campervans often comes with helpful extras, for example, you can get covered for the cost of finding alternative accommodation if your van breaks down.
- Driving safely can get you a no claims bonus, but you can also lower your premium by fitting out your vehicle with extra security devices.
- If you are confident that you are unlikely to be in an accident you can lower your premium by offering to pay a higher excess.
- You normally have to be over 21 to take out campervan insurance. For some policies you need to be over 25.
- If you are travelling across Europe be sure to get a policy with ‘green card’ cover.
- You can not normally insure a campervan if you are using it as your permanent residence or place of business.
Fully Comprehensive or Third Party?
In the UK it is a legal requirement to have at least third party cover.
This kind of cover is cheaper as it is designed simply for the protection of other road users and does not cover the costs that you might incur if you have an accident. For example, if you were involved in a crash that was deemed to be your fault your insurance would cover the costs of damage you’d inflicted on the other person's car, but not your own.
However, whilst this type of policy can be a sound choice for certain vehicles, it is not usually a good idea when it comes to insuring your camper van, which, compared to most other traffic on the road, is of comparatively high value.
Not only will a comprehensive policy protect you against accidental damage, fire and theft, it will also effectively act as a sort of contents insurance for the belongings you keep in your camper van.
Given that this is likely to include value items such as televisions, camping equipment and other items you might pack for a road trip, it can be a wise choice. Camper van insurance is specially designed to offer all the possessions you're likely to take with you with adequate protection.
In addition, there are extras that can come with camper van insurance that would never normally be included in a motor insurance policy. For example, as well as breakdown cover you can also get policies which will cover the cost of your accommodation if you have to sleep elsewhere due to your motor home being repaired.
Lowering Your Premium
There are a number of ways in which you can lower your camper van insurance premium. The most obvious is to work up a no-claims bonus. As with other kinds of motor insurance, drivers who go a number of years without claiming on a policy can earn a healthy discount, sometimes as much as 60%.
The type of vehicle you own will also affect things. If you have a model manufactured and readily available in the UK, insurance will be cheaper and easier to find than if you drive an imported model.
Insurance is also generally more expensive for campervans which are converted by their owners from panel vans. If you are planning to do this, bear in mind that you must first get insurance for the van, then upgrade to camper van insurance at a later stage. Furthermore, you may need to get insurance from a specialist provider that covers converted campervans.
Vans which are newer, with smaller engines get the best prices, but, no matter what van you drive, adding security features can lower your premium. As well as locks and anti-theft technologies you can also buy features such as gas leak detectors to help reduce the risk of fire your camper van. This is especially useful as, if you are taking a trip and bringing several canisters of gas to cook with, you could potentially risk an explosion.
Raise the Excess
You can also save money by voluntarily offering to raise the amount of excess you would be liable to pay in the event that you did make a claim. This is a great way of lowering your regular expenditure, however you run the risk of being out of pocket should you have an accident.
On the one hand, as a camper van driver you are less likely to have an accident as you will not generally be driving in rush hour or on urban roads, on the other, if you do need to claim it maybe for a greater amount. If you are confident you won’t be in an accident raising your excess can be a smart move. You could always save some of the money you knock off your premium as a back up fund, just in case.
Normally you have to be a driver over the age of 21 to take out campervan insurance. You must also have a valid driver’s license.
Camper van insurance cover is normally very affordable due to the fact that campervans are often only used for holidaying, kept in safe places when not in use and rack up only a low annual mileage. As a result many policies place strict limits on the mileage covered by the policy. If you go over this you may nullify your insurance.
In addition, there may be restrictions on how often you can take your vehicle out of the UK and your policy may be invalidated if you use the motor home as your permanent residence or for business or trade purposes.
Some policies may also forbid you to take your campervan abroad or on unsealed roads, something to think about if you are thinking of veering off the beaten track.
One solution might be a ‘green card’ insurance policy. These allow you to travel across Europe whilst on holiday.
It is important to compare quotes between several providers before making your decision. The best way to do this is through an insurance comparison site, which means you only have to enter your details once. The site will search through dozens of specialist providers and display the results in a clear way that makes premiums easy to compare.
- The Camper Van Life online community contains more advice on insuring a motor home in addition to a range of other topics.
- Motorhome Facts Forums have a lot of useful information on security.