As British as fish and chips by the seaside, a static caravan is a well-loved classic that offers years of fun and plenty of memories. We Brits are the top caravan buyers in Europe, and sales have risen in recent years as our love for this traditional style of holidaying grows. And who can blame you for wanting a staycation in this country? Anyone who has had the pleasure of exploring the UK eventually finds their favourite spot, and being able to pitch a static caravan there offers endless opportunities for blissful holidays.
We’ve compiled practical static caravan tips for beginners to make sure your caravan remains the holiday haven that recharges your batteries. Follow our static caravan ownership advice guide to protect an asset that means much more to you than just its monetary worth.
The key to many happy years of holidaying is learning how to protect your static caravan. There’s no question that the right insurance policy is essential here, but you need to play your part too. Did you know, should you fail to care for your static caravan properly, your insurance may not cover the costs when mishaps occur? Use our handy new static caravan owner’s checklist to help you with your caravan maintenance and ensure you have everything you need for a hassle-free holiday.
New Static Caravan Owner’s Checklist
If you’ve chosen to purchase a static caravan, you’re well aware that you need to put in the effort to make your holiday run smoothly. There’s no housekeeping to change your bedding or room service to answer the call of your rumbling tummy – it’s down to you to be organised. Likewise, the maintenance and cleaning of your static caravan fall on your shoulders.
1. Stock your static caravan
Unless you’ve been lucky enough to purchase a well-stocked static caravan, you’ll need to put in some early legwork to make it the perfect, functional home-from-home. Execute this operation successfully now, and it’ll make your future trips much simpler because you’ll be able to streamline what you pack.
Essential items include:
- Kitchenware – you’ll need crockery and glassware, cutlery and cooking utensils, pots and pans, kettle, toaster, and you may like to add a microwave for easy evening meals. Annually, stock up on bin liners, washing up liquid, kitchen cleaner, bleach and a multipack of cleaning cloths and sponges.
- Linen – there’s nothing better than sinking into a snug caravan bed, so bring along some good quality bed linen. Cotton is an excellent static caravan bedding material because it’s durable but soft and withstands the humidity and temperature fluctuations that the caravan will experience throughout the year.
- First aid kit – a well-stocked first aid kit is a must, and don’t forget the sunscreen, insect repellent and sprays for wasp and bee stings.
- Bathroom essentials – bulk buy toilet rolls and stock up on toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo to save you bringing these each time. Towels are bulky items to pack and transport, so keep plenty at your static caravan. Take the used towels to a local laundry service toward the end of your stay, then you’ll have no more sandy or damp suitcases to contend with, and you’ll have fresh fluffy towels ready for your next visit.
- Torch, batteries and chargers – storing a good-quality torch, batteries and chargers for your key devices at your static caravan can be a bit of a life saver!
- Safety features – fit at least one smoke alarm and keep a fire blanket and extinguisher at accessible points.
- Outdoor dining equipment – when you’re enjoying some great weather on your holiday, there’s nothing better than al fresco dining beside your static caravan. Store outdoor furniture and portable BBQs so you’re ready to leap into action when the sun makes a welcome appearance.
- Entertainment – make sure you keep cards, board games, DVDs and outdoor games at the caravan to keep you entertained between day trips or on rainy days.
2. Protect your asset
When you invested in your static caravan, you did so to enhance your lifestyle, and the joy you get from your holidays is no doubt just as precious to you as the value within the caravan. In the UK, though there is no legal obligation to insure your static caravan, you’re unlikely to be allowed to pitch at a park or site without it. Furthermore, static caravan insurance offers you that all-important peace of mind that should something happen to your holiday home, you’ll be able to sort out the issue quickly.
Static caravans are vulnerable not only to the diverse British weather but because they’re often unattended for long periods, they can be the target of theft or vandalism. Depending on where your caravan is pitched and how you intend to use it each year, at Park Insurance, we encourage static caravan owners to tailor a policy to suit their unique needs.
If you’ve got a beautifully furnished caravan, you’ll undoubtedly want to take advantage of contents cover. Weather and flood damage cover is another recommended safeguard to protect your asset against high winds and water damage. If you’re worried about your caravan being broken into, or even being stolen itself, include theft cover. Consider home emergency cover to help with water, gas and electricity issues that could otherwise put a dampener on your holiday.
Home emergency cover is beneficial if you plan to rent out your static caravan to holidaymakers. If you get that dreaded phone call that all the power has gone out in the caravan, you don’t want to lose out financially by calling in a professional to deal with the issue swiftly. Public liability cover should be added to your policy if you intend to rent out your caravan. This will financially protect you should a holidaymaker be injured or their property damaged during their time at your caravan.
At Park Insurance, we always make sure that owners understand their duty of care when it comes to their caravan. Although your caravan may be damaged or stolen in a manner entirely outside your control, some issues arise due to poor maintenance. In these instances, you may find your claim being refused. The following items on your checklist will guide you through this.
3. Static caravan maintenance
The next item on our list of static caravan tips for beginners is all about maintaining your home. To make sure you don’t get a nasty shock when you try to make a claim on your insurance and to ensure your static caravan stays ship-shape, you must dedicate time to keep on top of maintenance.
On each visit, give the exterior of your caravan a clean. This will deal with the debris and leaf build-up that could otherwise cause drainage issues, roof damage or interfere with the filters and windows over time.
Air your caravan during each visit too. Open the doors and windows and allow the air to circulate for several hours. This has many benefits, including reducing the risk of condensation damage and mould growth.
At the end of each visit, close your air vents. Some owners like to keep their wall and floor vents open over warmer seasons as this allows some air to circulate, freshening up the caravan and reducing damp. Annually, clean your vents and be sure to cut back any plants growing that might start obstructing them.
You may need to discuss with the caravan park or site manager what their policy is regarding gas and electricity checks. To make sure you have no issues should you need to make a claim, ensure these are conducted annually and have your boiler serviced once every three years.
Take care of your caravan’s chassis. If you don’t already have a galvanised chassis to prevent rust, it’s worth investing in galvanisation – especially given how damp the British weather can be. Each season, check the chassis for signs of rust or corrosion (which can be a real issue on coastal sites) and make sure nothing is loose or damaged. If any of its protective paint has worn away, give the area a rub with a wire brush, then prime and carefully repaint to protect the underlying metal.
During your seasonal chassis checks, take a moment to oil your jockey wheel, and the four jack stands located at each corner of the caravan. This is also an excellent time to inspect your tyres and adjust their pressure if necessary.
4. Prepare for winter
Our final set of static caravan tips for beginners is related to the dreaded winter season. Challenging weather aside, condensation is the real issue for caravan owners over the colder months. Remember to air the caravan and open the vents earlier in the year; then, as winter approaches, use a dehumidifier to draw as much moisture out of the atmosphere as possible. A great static caravan tip for beginners is leaving bowls of salt or trays of cat litter in your caravan to soak up water from the air once you’ve left.
Make sure your static caravan is well insulated. This will not only keep you snug when you visit during cooler times, but it will also regulate the temperature inside the caravan, thereby reducing condensation.
If you know you won’t be visiting over the winter, arrange your linen, so it doesn’t touch any external walls, or consider vacuum packing them. Fail to do so, and you may return to damp, mouldy linen in the spring.
Water freezing in pipes is just as much of a risk in caravans as it is in houses, so before the cold temperatures hit, perform a “drain down”. You can only do this yourself if you don’t have a self-contained central heating system. To perform a drain down, switch off the gas and water and allow all of the water to drain from your pipes. If you have a self-contained heating system, you need to bring in a professional. Many parks and sites hire someone to perform this task on a large scale.
If your caravan site has been subject to heavy snow, having someone who will come and clear this from your roof will help prevent damage and leaks.
Failure to properly maintain your caravan and prepare it for the winter may prevent you from making insurance claims.
We hope you found our list of static caravan tips for beginners useful. If you’re ready to organise insurance for your static caravan, the friendly insurance experts at Park Insurance can talk you through all the best cover for your personal needs. Whether you’ll use the caravan yourself or hope to also rent it out for holidays, we can tailor the ideal comprehensive coverage to keep you and your asset protected. Because nothing is more precious than quality time with the ones you love on holiday, we’ll make sure your static caravan is covered for all eventualities.