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Essential guide for caravan insurance

Essential guide for caravan insurance

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A caravan is a home away from home; little haven for you and your family to rest your heads after a long day of adventuring. From the minute you set off, to the minute you make it back to home soil, your caravan needs to be protected against the risks that can crop up during your journey.

*This is a collaborative post*

We’ve put together a helpful guide for people looking for caravan insurance, including which policy features to look for and steps you can take that will help reduce your premium when it comes to renewals.

There are many risks that come along with caravanning, from the dreaded breakdown to potential thieves. So, for you to have the peace of mind you need to enjoy a family trip, you should make sure you have adequate coverage from your insurer.

Home from home: a guide to caravan insurance

Do you need caravan insurance?

There are over half a million caravans on UK roads, but not all of them are insured! In fact, it’s not even a legal requirement to insure your caravan, but not having it could cause you serious financial stress if something goes wrong.

Firstly, you need to be sure of the details of your caravan. This includes its category, how many berths, and where and how you intend to drive it. In this guide, we’re looking exclusively at caravans – meaning the type you tow behind your car, rather than motorhomes which of course incorporate a driving compartment.

Your car insurance will usually offer third party cover for towing a caravan as standard. This means that if you are in an accident, your car insurance will cover the cost of damage to the other car, but you will have to pay the costs of repairing your caravan. This is why we recommend looking at a dedicated caravan insurance policy.

What does my policy cover?

A specialist caravan insurance policy will cover a few different things, including:

  • External damage
    This means any damage to the body of the caravan either while it is parked outside your house or public property, like a campsite
  • Accidental interior damage
    This could be anything from a fire caused when cooking inside the caravan to water damage caused by a leak in the roof
  • Public liability
    Public liability cover pays out costs if your caravan causes damage to someone else’s personal property.

The above features will usually come as standard on a normal caravan insurance policy, but this is by no means comprehensive cover. There are so many little things that could go wrong which can then be multiplied into huge problems without the right cover.

Optional extras for comprehensive caravan insurance

Some other features we recommend be included on your policy are:

  • Contents cover

This is so important for family holidays. Your whole life goes inside that caravan, from simple things like clothes and toiletries to more expensive things like tablets and mobiles. It would be devastating having you caravan broken into at the best of times, but without insurance the costs of replacing all these important items will only add more stress!

Your home contents insurance may offer the opportunity to add “all risks” or “personal possessions” insurance which covers certain items when you remove them from the home, so it is wise to check your home insurance policy before you look at caravan insurance.

Remember, that home contents insurance will not cover the caravan, so even if you have all risks content insurance, the actual vehicle won’t be protected.

  • Breakdown cover

The last thing you need after hours on the road and kids’ attention span wearing thin after an endless Peppa Pig marathon is a breakdown. It doesn’t matter whether the sun is shining and the fridge is fully stocked, the idea of being stuck on the hard shoulder or in the middle of a country lane presents all sorts of nightmares.

Breakdown cover pays the costs of recovery and, depending on the level of cover you have, could even help you with your onward journey by paying for a taxi or accommodation should you be stuck overnight.

  • Key cover

If you lose or damage the keys to your caravan, or if they are stolen, you will need to have them replaced as quickly as possible, so you can get back to enjoying your holiday. Policies do differ, but many will pay out to the tune of £1,500 annually for new locks and keys, locksmiths fees and potentially car hire if you cannot get it sorted quickly. You can also cover the costs of reprogramming electronic key features like immobilisers, alarms and handsets.

You will need to talk about these elements with your broker, so you can be 100% certain whether key cover to the level you need is included as part of your insurance.

  • Market value cover/new for old cover

We recommend having one of the above types of cover, but which one depends on you. Market value cover means that in the event of a total loss or destruction of your caravan, you will be paid out for the value of the caravan as it was before it was destroyed. Whereas, new for old cover replaces your caravan with a shiny new version, albeit costing you more for your overall insurance.

Many people are used to market value cover as part of their car insurance, so might decide to opt for the same for their caravans, however if you don’t mind paying a little more for your premium, getting a brand-new model to replace your old one might be preferable.

  • European cover

Some adventurous families choose to cross the Channel and explore the wonders of the continent. In this case, you will need EU cover for your caravan and its contents. It may come as a standard feature on some policies, so it is important to check whether it’s included or if you need to pay extra.

Essentially, European cover extends your protection to countries within the EU, ensuring you are protected against the same situations even when you are not on home soil. This is great for families looking to take their little home away from home to France, Spain and beyond!

Are there any exclusions?

As with any insurance policy, there are some situations that would be excluded from your policy. For example, damage from vermin is a common exclusion – so if your caravan is invaded by some rats whilst on a campsite, the damage is unlikely to be covered.

Similarly, damage caused by general wear and tear will not be covered as these things come as part and parcel of owning and using a caravan.

The weight of your caravan may also affect coverage. Generally, if you passed your driving test after January 1997, your caravan and car’s combined weight should be no more that 3,500kg. If it exceeds this weight, you may not be able to be covered unless you upgrade your driving license. 

How can I reduce the cost of my premium?

There are few things you can do that can help bring down the cost of your caravan insurance premium. Security is a big element of this; insurers will often expect you to have a wheel or hitch lock which stops the caravan being towed away. If you don’t have this type of lock, your broker might not pay out in the event of your caravan being stolen. Take a look at some more caravanning essentials we recommend for beginners.

Any other steps you take to make your caravan more secure will be well-received by your insurer. For example, keeping it locked up and stored securely (when you’re not on a trip), and installing an alarm and tracking device will help bring down the cost of your premium.

You can also potentially save a bit of cash by registering with the Caravan and Motorhome Club, so if you and your family plan on making your caravan holidays a regular sojourn, it might be a good idea to join up.

Caravan holidays have been a staple of UK vacations for a very long time, and they are seeing a bit of a resurgence lately as people choose staycations with their kids instead of the often stressful plane journeys that we are used to when going abroad. So, make sure you’re protected so there’s nothing getting between you and the open road.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative guest post.

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Cristina - Memories of the Pacific

Tuesday 18th of September 2018

I've never had a caravan so I had never thought insurance could be needed, interesting!

Claire Hall - Tin Box Traveller

Friday 21st of September 2018

It's not legally required but I would definitely recommend it knowing a few people who have had cause to use it.

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