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and campervan insurance is a specialised area and many mainstream companies may not have the expertise to quote accurately and may not understand the specific needs of a motorhomer.
So, to help you, the experts from MMM, Britain's
best-selling motorhome magazine, and What Motorhome have prepared this easy guide to get you started in your hunt for the right motorhome insurance policy for you.
Comfort Insurance has regularly won What Motorhome
magazine’s survey of specialist insurers, so we spoke to the company’s Charlotte Davies to pick her brains on everything you need to know on the subject.
Her advice? “The very cheapest isn’t
always the best option but there is no need to pay over the odds for a good specialist policy.”
Choosing the right motorhome insurance.
Here are our top
tips to consider
•Don’t just accept the first quote you get – if you shop around and are prepared to haggle, you could save several hundred pounds.
the internet to compare motorhome insurance quotes before picking up the phone and then be prepared to ask the right questions about your cover – if you don’t, you could end up missing out on benefits and paying too much.
•You’ll want to consider breakdown cover in case your motorhome can’t be fixed immediately – and a good policy will also compensate you for any extra accommodation costs while you can’t live in your ’van.
•Think about whether you’ll be going abroad, too, as not all policies cover this, although most offer 90 days’ foreign cover and the Caravan Club policy is valid for up to 270 days.
•And are you taking pets with you? What happens if your ’van can’t be fixed and you’re in the south of Spain – your policy may only repatriate you and your motorhome back to the UK, but not Fido!
•Don’t forget the contents of your motorhome – policies generally cover the items inside your ’van, but it’s worth checking what the maximum value per item is if you’re taking valuable belongings with you (or
make sure they’re separately covered on your household policy).
•Check that bikes on your cycle rack and any car or trailer you’re towing is covered, too.
Charlotte stresses the importance of gas and explosion cover, “Carrying enough gas with you for your travelling needs makes this a real risk to be considered.”
Then there’s new-for-old
cover, as Charlotte explains, “When you have had a motorhome for less than a year, you do not want to be in a position of having to replace it with a used one.”
Keeping costs down
“Significant discounts are given for low mileage, so be sure you are only paying for the mileage you are doing. Most companies will let you increase mileage but not decrease it, so try to be accurate, as you don’t
want to overpay,” advises Charlotte.
Motorhome security is another factor to consider, as immobilisers, alarms and tracking devices make theft less likely, and you’ll get discounted premiums accordingly.
Look for devices that are ‘Thatcham approved’.
Then there’s motorhome storage – parking your vehicle on the street, compared with keeping it in a secure storage facility, will make a
huge difference to your premium. Look for sites which are members of the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA). Remember your no-claims bonus, too – if you have this on your car, some insurers will offer an introductory discount on
your motorhome policy.
Another thing you can do is join a club – being a member of a major club, like the Caravan Club or the Camping and Caravanning Club, often attracts a discount, as most insurers recognise
club members for being experienced. In addition, the two larger clubs have their own insurance services.
And finally, a word of caution from Charlotte, “Remember, any saving will soon be forgotten
if your claim is refused for failing to disclose information, so always be truthful!”
SOME LEADING INSURANCE COMPANIES:
When buying breakdown cover, make sure a policy includes roadside assistance,
multilingual 24-hour helpline, guaranteed towing to a garage, adequate car hire and alternative accommodation bills. If the vehicle cannot be repaired, it will need to be repatriated. So before selecting a policy check carefully the limits on all these items,
as well as the overall limit on the contract. The cheaper the policy, the lower the limits.
three main UK breakdown recovery providers (AA, RAC & Green Flag) all have length and weight restrictions on their standard policies. However breakdown insurance purchased through the two major clubs and certain insurers/brokers is generally less restrictive.
The motorhome must remain insured at all times, unless covered by a Statutory Off Road Notification – SORN.
Check that ‘European cover’ includes the principalities of Andorra, Vatican City, Monaco and Liechtenstein.
Red Pennant insurance run by the Caravan & Motorhome Club includes recovery after breakdown on
French toll roads, service stations thereon, and dual carriageways with a central barrier. They also provide medical cover for the over 75’s.
If a motorhome is Ford Transit based, and serviced by Ford you can get Europe-wide breakdown cover for £20.
Speak to a short list of prospective insurers to find out which security devices they recommend or recognise for discounts on premiums. Ensure that any device fitted is ‘Thacham’-approved or the insurers may not take it in to account when
setting the premium.
Full-timing cover can be expensive as the insurers cannot easily access the risk.
If towing a car most policies cover a car third party whilst it’s attached to the motorhome, but be sure to check. You will also need to contact your car insurers to ensure what level of cover you have,
both for towing and foreign travel.
Those under 25 and over 80 will have a harder time getting insurance. Over 80’s should consider
sticking with their existing insurer as some companies will continue to insure a loyal customer of an age they wouldn’t otherwise consider.
Pay for what you need and no more.
Policyholders who have
an annual policy should inform their insurers of any new medical condition during the period of insurance. They should also inform the insurer of any change of circumstance with any family members as this could increase the risk of a policyholder cancelling
a booked trip at short notice. This is unlikely to affect the premium but failure to disclose the information could invalid the insurance policy.
‘Allclear’ is one of a growing number of companies that tailoring policies to individuals medical histories. 0845 250 5250 www.allcleartravel.co.uk
JD Travel insurance 01689 859102 www.jdtravelinsurance.co.uk
P J Hayman 0845 230 5000 www.freespirittravelinsurance.com
Travel insurance up to age 85 – www.avantitravelinsurance.co.uk
Travel insurance, no age limit – www.justthecover.co.uk
Over 50’s travel insurance, most medical conditions covered www.staysure.co.uk
in covering the over 50’s. Older people tend to have more pre-existing conditions; as a result it becomes harder for them to get annual cover. The older you are the more likely it is that you will be offered only single-trip cover.
Be sure and check that your house insurer covers long absences away from the house ie 60 or 90 days, depending on your plans. Most will add a loading and conditions for such absences, some won't cover them at all.
Please don't be tempted to take the risk of not getting the cover. If something goes wrong while you're away then a few enquiries by your insurers
will soon establish that you were in breach of your policy and refuse to pay out, and that would be a very very expensive mistake to have made.
Remember, most insureres are only helpful and obliging whilst they are taking your annual premium. Once they have it they will be very reluctant to part with it by way of a settlement.