Confused About Campervan Insurance? Here Are The Need To Knows

Campervan Insurance Need To Knows

But when things do go wrong, you want to make sure you are completely covered, so let’s talk about insurance, because it’s a bit of a minefield. If this is your first foray into insuring your van, even though it’s still four months till spring, it might just take that long! We found it a lot more stressful and complicated than expected – but it doesn’t need to be with the right campervan insurance need to knows.

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads. But We Do Need Motorhome Insurance!

While we’ve been vegetating at home all year, slowly developing a morning drinking habit and an afternoon getting out of bed habit, there’s one thing I have felt reassured by – it’s unlikely anything will go wrong with the van. Whether it’s burglary, a puncture, a cracked windscreen, a crash or dare I even say it, theft, there are many things which could befall our dearly beloved out on the road. But Irene isn’t going anywhere right now.

Irene the Campervan on our drive before we moved her to a secure location

Make Sure You Look After The Money Maker

Since we took ownership of our very own converted Fiat Ducato, it’s been amazing to think that this hunk of metal, glass, rubber and a few other bits and bobs can really be the magic carpet which will open up a whole new world for us both. But with the excitement comes a bit of trepidation – we have invested a lot of our hard earned cash in Irene and we hope through her, we can reap the economic benefit for years to come. We hope she will bring us freedom and experiences which broaden our minds and feed our souls. But we also want her to be the catalyst for financial independence. In short – there’s a lot riding on poor Irene!! 

The nagging negative nelly in me is always worrying that something will go wrong. But in 2020, there hasn’t really been much opportunity for that, not with our campervan anyway! The most action Irene has seen has been a few visits from me to break up my WFTH (work from tiny home) routine and a couple of incidents with Dave rooting around in her boot.

Getting Campervan Insurance Can Be A Real Bumpy Ride

Firstly, our Campervans and motorhomes are usually complicated, unique, unorthodox, and gloriously non-standard and insurers don’t like anything that deviates from standard. So high street brands will not look favourable on our kind. Go for specialist providers.

Campervan Insurance Need To Knows
Credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment via AP

Modified To Within An Inch Of Its Life? Better Own Up Now!

You will have to consider your contents and modifications as well and they will be many and varied – be honest you cab looks like the Delorean from Back to the Future, doesn’t it?! You will also need to consider that our vans are a method of conveyance as well as an abode. That means they spend much more time on the road than, say, a caravan, and they will need a working engine as well. More function, more risk, more cost.

Insurers Aren’t Original Thinkers 

Insurance companies also really don’t like modified or converted vans. At the very least you need to inform them that your van is modified. For some, they will then need to know all the modifications, all costs, all installations, and parts so that they can make a full appraisal of the vehicle before they can commit to insuring it. Some will just flat out refuse to insure converted campervans. Again, once you veer from the stock model, insurers see that as potential for failure and that is unsubstantiated risk for them.

If you are travelling light and cheerful, and you are keeping your modifications, load, and your bellies fairly trim (not looking good, with my mince pie obsession this year!), then you might get away with simple campervan insurance.

Speak To An Insurance Agent Or Broker – They Know Their Stuff 

Our advice is to use an agent and actually speak to someone, in that way, you can run all the details and permutations through them, and the onus is on them to identify the problems, not you.

Campervan Insurance Need To Knows

Another hurdle could be its DVLA classification. If you buy a modified van or you undertake modifications yourself, you must make the required changes to the associated paperwork with the DVLA from ‘van’ to ‘motor caravan’. The V5C should be updated to match. It is not complicated, but it’s just another thing that could potentially trip you up.

Will You Be Living In Your Campervan Full Time?

Many Will Not Insure Under These Circumstances.

What Is The Weight Of Your Van? 

If it is over 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes), then it must be reclassified as a motorhome. Insurance for motorhomes is much more expensive, but it can cover all your expensive modifications, so it’s worth it. 

If you have had the van modified, you must make sure it is still within the ‘design gross weight’ (also can be called ‘gross vehicle weight’ or ‘laden weight’) when fully loaded. Fully loaded is with fuel, contents, luggage, and you! Your van’s VIN plate will have the max load weight you can carry on it. If you suspect it is over that limit, you must get it weighed. If it is over, that’s a big problem, so check this before you finish, or purchase a modified van. 

Is Your Van For Social Or Business Use?

Credit: SmartWater

Do You Have Any Security Measures In Place?

You will secure a cheaper price if you demonstrate that you use appropriate security systems on your vehicle, such as wheel-clamps, Immobiliser, Alarm system, GPS tracking systems or something like SmartTrace™ which is a forensic traceable liquid whicb assigns your possessions with their own unique forensic code, allowing them to be traced back to you and criminals back to the crime.

Where Are You Storing Your Van?

Whether kept at home or at a storage site, insurers often scrutinise how safely you store your campervan, its location, any locked gates or garages protecting it, or your storage site’s accreditations. If you store your van safely, some insurers will even reward you with a discount on your premium. Irene is stored at an accredited site in a rural location not visible from the main road. It provides 24-hour CCTV, security gate access with night time ram rods and there are even a couple of van owners living onsite. And it’s only £12.50 per week which we think is a steal (excuse the pun!).

Will You Be Travelling Abroad, And For How Long?

You need to disclose this as some insurers will have limits which you cannot exceed.

Do You Need Breakdown Cover?

I would suggest that yes, you do! More importantly you want a policy which gives ample provision for temporary accommodation. What if your vehicle is off the road for multiple days – you need somewhere to live.

It is tempting to cut corners and fudge it to secure a cheaper policy, but in the end, it could cost you much more. Don’t risk everything before you’ve even got off the drive!

Speak to an experienced broker – they are fair – they have to be legally, and if you approach the transaction with equal honesty, you’ll feel safe and secure when you are out on the road to nowhere. Make sure you are protected down to the last Cent, Euro or Dong if it all goes wrong!

Still confused about campervan insurance? What can be a bit of a minefield doesn’t need to be confusing with the right campervan insurance need to knows.


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