The short answer is no. There’s no legal requirement for caravan insurance in the UK, although a person driving a car that’s towing a caravan will need third-party car insurance at a minimum. However, not taking out a caravan insurance policy could leave you with a hefty bill in the event of theft or a crash.
With many forced to stay at home or afraid to holiday abroad during the pandemic, the demand for caravans has been on the rise. Unfortunately, alongside this rise in popularity of British holidays comes a rise in caravan theft. According to Tracker, thefts rose by 50% in 2020 during lockdown periods. That’s because thieves know caravans are a hot commodity and that they can be stolen and sold quickly.
The unpredictability of British weather is another reason to protect your caravan with insurance. Your caravan could become flooded, damaged by falling trees, or blown over (especially when towing) leaving hefty repair bills.
With some caravans costing as much as a small home, and with many adopting a more transient lifestyle, caravan insurance has become a necessity. Without appropriate cover, your mobile home could be gone in an instant along with years of memories.
Aside from damage to your own caravan, you could also be liable if your caravan causes damage to property or injures someone. Even when parked safely at home, your caravan could roll into a car or a wall, for example. Or if it is kept in an unsafe condition and causes an injury, the owner will be liable.
Are caravans covered under a car insurance policy?
It is easy to assume that fully comprehensive car insurance would protect a caravan but unfortunately, it does not. If a caravan driver is at fault during a collision, the insurance would only cover car damage to the cars involved, but not to the caravan.
Also, car insurance won’t cover any damages incurred when it is detached from a vehicle – such as when it is parked at home. Theft of the caravan is also not covered by car insurance. All this means that there is a high level of risk for non-insured caravan users.
If you have a campervan then the rules are slightly different. Campervans below a certain weight and dimension are sometimes covered by car insurance, but make sure you check with your insurance provider.
Types of caravan insurance
Caravan insurance varies depending on how you use your caravan and where it is situated. Let’s look at some of these:
Tourer/Touring caravan insurance
This covers drivers that tow a caravan. It covers third-party liability expenses
Static caravan insurance
This covers caravans that are static or are placed at fixed locations. Common fixed locations include caravan parks and resorts. Some long-hold caravan parks require residents to have static caravan insurance in place when paying site fees.
Whilst moving a static caravan, you’ll need goods in transit insurance to cover any damages or theft.
Motorised caravan insurance
Motorhomes and campervans are covered separately by motorised caravan insurance. Motorhomes can be covered similarly to touring caravans. Going fully comprehensive can give new-for-old cover, contents protection, accidental damage, and cover abroad.
If you have a campervan then, depending on the size and model, you may be able to get coverage under your standard car insurance.
Trailer tent and folding caravan insurance
This covers accidental damage, storm damage, theft and contents. Trailer tents and folding caravans are less secure, so some insurers don’t cover them. However, the fact that they are more insecure than other caravans means that it’s important to get insurance.
What caravan insurance cover is recommended?
Although cover can be exclusively tailored to fit a customer’s requirements, there are some policy options you should carefully consider when making your choices. These options include:
- Cover against loss or damage. This includes theft, flood and storm damage, and fire.
- Market value or new-for-old cover.
- Content cover. This protects contents inside the caravan that may be stolen. This is particularly important for live-in users and anyone that travels with expensive gadgets.
- Accidental damage. This will cover accidental damage to the caravan when it’s being towed (which is the most common type of accident) or when it’s detached.
- Malicious Damage. Unfortunately, caravans – especially when parked in an unsecured location – are a beacon for vandals. This protects against any damage sustained by criminal activity.
- European Touring Cover. This is less necessary for those opting for holidays in the UK. However, for those that travel to Europe, this is essential. Many insurance companies will cover this as standard. If you do decide to travel abroad, be aware that some countries legally require caravan insurance.
- Legal assistance. This provides cover for legal expenses for a customer that seeks legal action for an accident that is not their fault. This includes losses from personal injury or travel expenses.
- Key Protection Cover. This covers the policyholder when a key is lost, stolen, or damaged.
For the more meticulous caravan owner, there are optional extras to ensure maximum coverage and peace of mind. These can include:
- Friends and family coverage. For the more generously inclined, this option allows owners to loan out their caravan to friends and family, without a separate insurance policy.
- Excess Cover. This will cover any excess if any claim has been made. Be aware that this will increase the cost of the policy.
- Breakdown Cover. Many people assume car breakdown cover will still be upheld when towing a caravan. Unfortunately, some car insurance providers do not cover this. To be fully covered separate caravan breakdown cover may be required – this again can be further limited by the weight, length, and width of the caravan.
Beware of exclusions
To avoid being caught out by exclusions that may void your cover, always read through any policy diligently. This includes any small print. Common exclusions include:
- Living full time in a caravan.
- Using the caravan as a place of business.
- Theft resulting from carelessness – For example, leaving windows open or doors unlocked
- General wear and tear.
- Damage caused by pests such as infestation by insects or vermin.
It is worthwhile reading all terms and conditions to give peace and mind and to avoid any nasty surprises.
New for old vs market value
Essentially this is a personal choice depending on the needs of the customer.
Some may opt for the riskier “market value” insurance. This means that any insurance payout would reflect the value of the caravan at that present moment. For example, a brand new £30,000 caravan that is stolen would receive the same payout. However, if the caravan drops in value to £20,000 due to age, the payout would reflect the new valuation of £20,000.
For more cautious customers, the pricier option would be “new-for-old” cover. At any point, the caravan will maintain its original evaluation. While this would be more expensive, it is less risky and means customers would never lose out.
Even years later when the caravan has aged over time, an insurance payout would still amount to the original price paid for the caravan.
Ultimately this is a personal choice and the insurance rates will reflect the benefits of each option.
How is caravan insurance worked out?
There are many things that factor into the price of an insurance policy. Including;
- The age of the customer
- Location of residence
- Where the caravan is stored/parked
- The brand and model of the caravan
- The value of the caravan
- The value of the contents
- The security of the caravan.
How to cut the price of caravan insurance
With inflation reaching a ten-year high of 5.4%, many people will be tightening their belts and looking to save money. Below, we list some of the most effective ways of cutting caravan insurance costs:
Store your caravan safely
Many caravan sites are rated by the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association. Storing your caravan at a gold-rated site can come with a substantial discount with many insurance providers.
Also, insurance providers will take into account the crime statistics of the postcode the caravan is kept in. If possible, store the caravan in a less risky area.
Add safety features
A caravan with more safety features means less risk to an insurance company and more savings to owners. Some insurance providers will ask for a hitch lock and wheel clamp before even offering cover.
More efficient locks such as gold rate mechanisms will help to reduce prices. Axle wheel locks provide further protection still.
Electronic trackers and alarms are also a quick and easy way to reduce insurance costs.
Remove unneeded extras
A simple way to reduce insurance premiums is to remove any extras that are not required. For example, customers no longer willing to travel abroad could remove this protection.
Adding safety devices will not only decrease the chance of accidents but will lower insurance costs. The improved safety will mean less of a risk to an insurance company and the savings are usually passed down.
These can include anti-traction control devices, tyre safety bands, tyre pressure monitoring systems, and rearview cameras and sensors.
Caravan towing course
Taking a B+E towing course can reduce premiums with some providers. Some insurers even offer an introductory no-claims discount with the completion of this course.
As with car insurance, the cost of caravan insurance can be reduced by paying upfront. This is because monthly payments charge interest.
Join a caravan club
Some caravan insurance companies will offer customers discounts if they are members of certain caravan clubs.
Legally, caravan owners don’t have to have caravan insurance, as long as the driver has at least third-party cover for their car. However, not having caravan insurance risks leaving caravan owners substantially out of pocket.
With an increase in thefts of caravans, the uninsured are in danger of losing their pride and joy and having to pay out a large sum of money if they want to replace it.
Similarly, the unpredictable British weather or vandalism could render a caravan useless. It may also leave both the owner and the public in a dangerous predicament if any accidents occur. The owner could be sued for liability, which can be a pricey affair. Similarly, if they damage someone’s property they could be held financially accountable.
Car insurance does not cover damage to the caravan. Meaning, in the event of a collision, a caravan could be destroyed and thousands of pounds lost.
There are different types of caravan insurance and this can be specifically tailored to a customer’s needs. Huge savings can be made by carefully deciding which options are needed and which are not.
However, it is always recommended to read the fine print to avoid worrisome exclusions. Just remember not to remove any options you may later need.
Lastly, it is sensible and cost-effective to heighten security and reduce the risk of theft and vandalism. Devices can be attached to the caravan and storing the caravan in a safe environment can reduce premiums further.
While caravan insurance is not required by law, it is absolutely necessary for your peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy the freedom your caravan provides.