Whether you own a caravan, or you’re thinking of buying one, you need to consider caravan insurance. Just like your car, it’s at risk of damage and theft at home and on holiday. An accident could also lead to a personal injury claim against you. But do you really need a separate policy or are you already covered by your existing car or home insurance? To help you decide, our essential guide takes you step by step through everything you need to know.
1) Is caravan insurance a legal requirement?
If you have a touring caravan that you tow behind a vehicle, separate caravan insurance is not a legal requirement. However, it is a sensible precaution to protect you financially.
Weighing up if you need insurance
- If you’re lucky, you could enjoy years of problem-free caravanning with no incidents. But if something does happen, and you’re not insured, you will have to pay for the bills yourself.
- If you’re not sure if you need it, consider if you could easily afford to replace your caravan, and the contents, if it is stolen or damaged. For example, if your caravan is old and not worth much money, you may decide it’s worth taking a chance and risk having no insurance.
- Just like with home contents insurance, many people underestimate the replacement cost of the contents of their caravans.
- It can help to write a list with estimated replacement values for contents. As well as obvious things like your TV or awnings, don’t forget cooking equipment and bedding. It is surprising how quickly these items can mount up.
Remember: Touring caravans are different to motorhomes, which may have the living area directly behind the drivers cab. If you drive a motorhome, you must hold valid motor insurance to legally drive it on the road. That;’ because motorhome is classified as a self-propelled vehicle and you are required by law to have a minimum of third-party insurance for it.
2) Is my caravan already covered by my car insurance policy?
In many cases your normal car insurance will offer third-party cover when you are towing a caravan. Be aware that there are often restrictions on the size and weight of what you tow, so you need to check carefully. If you have an accident and are towing a caravan that is bigger than allowed your whole car insurance can be invalidated, leaving you with big bills.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that your car insurance might not give you the level of cover you need.
What is covered by your car or van insurance policy?
When you’re towing your caravan on the road, your car insurance only provides third-party cover. That means that if you have an accident involving someone else, the costs of repair or medical treatment for the other party are covered.
What car insurance doesn’t cover:
- Your car insurance won’t cover putting right any damage to your caravan.
- If your caravan is damaged or stolen when parked detached from your car you won’t be covered.
- Whether you’re towing or parked, the contents of your caravan are not covered by your car insurance.
If you have an accident when you are towing your caravan and it is not your fault, you should be able to claim on the other driver’s insurance. But again, remember that isn’t guaranteed as the other driver may not have valid insurance.
3) Is my caravan covered by my home insurance policy?
Some home insurance policies may cover your caravan whilst it parked at your home. The contents of your caravan when you’re away may also be covered by some home insurance policies. What’s included will vary depending on each home insurance policy.
Remember, not every home contents’ insurance policy automatically covers your caravan when it is parked on at your home or your items away from home. Even if it does, there may be limits to what is covered. To be certain, you’ll need to check through your policy schedule or you could chat to your broker.
Things to look out for:
- Does your policy specify that caravans are covered at your property, either parked on the drive or in a garage? Remember, your caravan has to be parked at the insured address for this cover to be valid. If you park it at a friend’s home or a storage park, it’s very unlikely to be covered by your home insurance.
- Does your home insurance cover items away from the home? If so, is there a limit to the value of individual items or a maximum total claim. Make sure these are set high enough to cover everything you’re likely to take with you.
- Is there a limit on personal items, such as iPads, mobile phones, or watches, away from your home? Again, make sure these limits are set high enough.
- Alternatively, you can take out a separate caravan insurance policy to cover everything you have in your caravan.
4) What can caravan insurance cover?
A dedicated caravan insurance policy can be tailored to your exact requirements. That way you get the cover you need without paying for anything you don’t need.
Types of cover to consider:
- Accidental damage. No matter how careful we are, accidents happen. Accidental damage cover takes away the financial stress if you break or damage something. This includes if you have an accident on the road that is your fault.
- Legal cover. Also sometimes called public liability insurance, this covers your legal fees if someone is injured or property is damaged by something to do with your caravan. It covers both the solicitor fees to defend your case as well as any compensation that is awarded.
- Alternative accommodation or hire of a similar caravan. If something goes wrong, it doesn’t have to spoil your holiday. Insurance can give you peace of mind that you can continue your holiday if your caravan is off the road for any reason.
- Contents insurance. Contents can be damaged in a fire, if there is a water leak, or if you’re involved in a traffic accident. They can also be the target of thieves. Contents insurance will cover everything inside your caravan from your tech to your cooking kit.
- Breakdown and recovery cover. If you don’t have breakdown cover it’s worth considering for extra peace of mind on your next road trip. If you do already have cover, double-check what’s included before you set off exactly what is included.
Check if your policy:
- Will cover you if you breakdown on a campsite.
- Will take your caravan onwards to your destination if you’re provided with a hire car that can’t tow?
- Covers you abroad?
5) Other things to think about when you’re choosing caravan insurance
To make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises if you make a claim, it’s worth reading the small print before you sign up.
a) The level of cover offered
If you need to make a claim:
- Do you need your caravan to be replaced on a ‘new for old’ basis? With this, you’ll get a brand new caravan if yours is written off. On the downside, this can cost more than insurance that will replace yours with one of the same age and condition. There is normally an age and mileage limit for this cover, so speak to your broker for advice.
- Do you want to be covered for market value or do you need agreed value protection? Agreed value protection can be useful if you have a vintage model or have made modifications meaning your caravan is worth more than the list price..
Which option you go for will depend on the age and condition of your caravan. Speak to your broker for more help deciding.
b) Where are you covered?
Do you intend to use your caravan in the UK only or are you planning a trip abroad? For example, cover can be arranged that protects you across Europe or worldwide if you’re feeling adventurous.
Check your policy to see what is not covered. For example, some policies may not pay out if:
- It is stolen and you had not secured it properly.
- It is damaged due to insect or vermin infestation.
- Ordinary wear and wear is the reason for damage.
6) Key mistakes with your insurance that could cost you a lot in the long run
It can be easy to over look small details, but these could end up costing you a lot.
- Does your car insurance provider know you have a tow-bar?
You must tell your car insurance provider if you have fitted a tow bar to your car. It could count as a modification, and if that is the case, and it has not been declared, your car insurance could be invalidated.
- What type of replacement car will you get if yours is out of action?
Examine the replacement car section of your car insurance. If your car is out of action, will it be replaced with a vehicle that you can also use to tow your caravan? Many standard insurance policies only provide a small run-around courtesy car. If your car is in the garage following an accident your courtesy car may not be up to the job of towing your caravan.
7) Does caravan insurance cover static caravans and motorhomes?
Caravan insurance can be tailored to cover:
- Caravans which are towed behind a vehicle.
- Static caravans, for example on a holiday park.
- Trailer tents.
- Park homes.
8) How to save money on your caravan insurance
Like all insurance, if you skimp on caravan insurance it could end up costing you more in the long run. But that doesn’t mean it has to cost you the earth. Take these simple steps to make sure you get the best price:
- Stay claim free. Regular maintenance, and repairs when needed, can help avoid accidents so you to stay claim free. And no claims means lower premiums. Click here for tips on winter storage to help to keep your caravan in tip-top condition.
- Invest in additional security, like wheel clamps and tracking devices. Some insurance companies will offer you discounts if you can also prove that your security is higher than standard. Be sure to tell your broker if you have any extra security devices, including cameras.
- Shop around for your caravan insurance to be sure you’re getting the best price. Insurance companies calculate your premium using varying formula. That means you can get the same level of cover at very different prices depending on where you look. Take the time to ring around as many insurance companies as you can, or use an independent insurance broker like Park Insurance.
- Use a company that can tailor-make your insurance so you only pay for the cover you need. For example, if you only plan to use your caravan for trips in the UK there’s no point shelling out for European cover. Make sure you use an insurance company that can offer you a bespoke policy to make sure you’re not paying for anything you don’t need.
Not every caravan owner will need to take out separate caravan insurance. If you do need it, our guide explains what to look out for and what you need to include. When comparing quotes, be sure to take a close look at the small print of any low-cost deals. Whilst the cheapest option might seem the best when you’re looking for cover, it can be more expensive in the long run if you do need to make a claim and discover the limitations of the policy. Use our guide to find the right insurance at the best price. Alternatively, you can contact our expert caravan insurance team at Park Insurance for more free advice. Whether you’re heading to the coast or overseas, with value for money insurance you can sit back and get ready to hit the road on a stress-free trip.
This article was originally published in July 2017. It has since been completely updated to provide you with the best and most accurate information.
Call Park Insurance on 0117 955 6835 or get in touch for a free quote for your Touring Caravan, Motor Caravan, Static Caravan, Park Home, Folding Camper or Folding Caravan.