10:44 15 May 2013
It's not surprising to see the roads starting to fill up with motorhomes and caravans as the weather improves and their drivers make the most of the freedom to take their holiday homes wherever they please.
If their annual reappearance has inspired you to dust off your own caravan or motorhome, or perhaps to buy one, you'll need to think about insurance before casting your cares aside and hitting the road.
Here's everything you need to know about making sure your caravan or motorhome is covered.
By law, you must have some kind of insurance in place for a touring caravan or motorhome. Driving without insurance is a punishable offence and you could be left massively out of pocket if something happens and you've no cover.
Your car insurance provider may offer a degree of protection, most likely third party cover, as part of your car insurance policy - but you'll need to check your policy documents to make sure.
If you're going to rely on your car insurance policy alone, it's best to speak to your insurer as you may have to fit a tow bar, which would count as a modification. If you don't declare a modification to your insurer, they could turn around in the event of a claim and say the policy is invalid.
Specialist caravan insurance policies can give you peace of mind in knowing you're fully covered.
Whether you have a touring caravan you tow with your car or you have static caravan parked-up on a site, with specialist caravan insurance you have the option of fully comprehensive cover. In the event of an accident this would protect you against damage to your own caravan as well as damage to third parties and their property.
Most of these policies also tend to offer cover for personal possessions too, including fixtures, fittings, personal items and stereos.
As with any other types of insurance, the more cover you want, the higher your premiums will be.
This is more like your average car insurance policy, in that you can choose between third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive cover.
Just as with car insurance policies, third party cover will only protect you against injury to other people and damage to their property. Third party fire and theft gives you added protection against fire damage and having your vehicle stolen, while comprehensive cover affords you all this protection and protects you against any damage to your own vehicle that's your own fault.
If you're thinking of crossing the channel to the Continent, European cover may also be included as part of the policy, for up to a set number of days per 12-month period.
Often European cover will see your policy revert to the lowest level of insurance required by law in the country you're visiting - but you may be able to pay more to increase and extend your cover if you speak to your insurer.
You can also read more about this in my article here.
Trailer tent insurance
Trailer tent insurance is similar to caravan insurance, in that it'll most likely cover any fixtures and fittings. It generally doesn't cover personal possessions or protect you against damage from mildew or vermin.
You can add trailer tent cover to your car insurance for an additional premium. It might be included as part of your policy as standard, but it'll probably be third party only - so it's worth checking. Remember you'll need to tell your insurer about any tow bars you fit to your car to pull the thing.
According to the Camping and Caravanning Club, a trailer tent in tow is less secure than a caravan. For this reason, it might be prudent to go for specialist trailer tent insurance which can offer you greater protection so that you're not left to foot the bill if your trailer tent is damaged in an accident or causes damage to others or their property.
What could be worse than setting off in your caravan or motorhome on a sunny Saturday morning only to find yourself stranded on the hard shoulder a few hours later when your vehicle breaks down?
Good maintenance of your car will make this less likely, but some problems just can't be predicted - so it's worth having breakdown cover in place, just in case.
As Les Roberts has learned through in his extensive experience on the hard shoulder (read more about that here) you can pay a fortune for a one-off recovery if you don't have breakdown cover, whereas you can get a year's worth of basic level cover for as little as £28.
That said, it could be worth paying for more comprehensive cover if you plan on actually carrying on with your holiday after a breakdown. Onward travel breakdown cover, for example, will send a patrol to fix your vehicle at the side of the road and if that's not possible, cover the cost of any unexpected car hire or accommodation.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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