8 Questions to ask before buying motorhome insurance

Written by Stuart Craig on 7th July 2020

The National Caravan Council states that new motorhome sales in the United Kingdom reached an all-time high in 2018, with 14,655 new motorhomes registered. In the past 10 years, motorhome sales have increased by 83 percent.

If you are purchasing a motorhome, you are probably wondering what you need to operate it safely and legally. It doesn’t matter whether you are traveling on holiday or parking it in storage, you need motorhome insurance.

Here are some questions to ask before you sign an insurance contract.

The Difference Between a Campervan and a Motorhome

Both campervans and motorhomes are self-contained units that allow you to travel and sleep comfortably. There are differences that affect your insurance.

A campervan is small and has basic sleeping, washing, and cooking provisions. Many people insure these under van or car insurance and miss out on insurance benefits.

A motorhome’s use is to provide transportation and has self-contained living accommodations. They come in a variety of sizes including coach-built, self-build, and A-Class. The motorhome has areas that are clearly defined in purpose such as sleeping, living, driving, and contains permanent sinks and cupboards.

The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) defines motorhomes as motor caravans. They require a specialist insurance policy.

Questions to Ask When Shopping for Motorhome Insurance

Motorhome insurance provides coverage for your motorhome whether you are driving down the road or have it parked in storage. Here is everything you need to get motorhome insurance from a reliable company that fits your needs.

1. Are There Any Special Licensing Requirements to Drive a Motorhome?

To insure your motorhome, you need to be properly licensed to drive it. There are two areas where you may incur restrictions. One is the size of your motorhome and the other deals with your age.

According to the government website, if the motorhome you are driving has a maximum authorized mass (MAM) of 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes you must have a category C1 license. If the motorhome has a MAM higher than 7.5 tonnes you must have a C license.

Age and when you took your driving test determines your ability to drive a motorhome. If you passed your driving test prior to 1st January 1997 you have a category C1 and can drive any vehicle up to 7,500kg.

If you didn’t pass your driving test until after 1st January 1997 you have a B or B1 license and are only authorized to drive vehicles 3,500kg or less. If you are planning to purchase a larger motorhome you will need to take an additional driving test to add the C1 category to your driving license.

2. Can I drive a motorhome using my car insurance?

Because motorhomes are not used in the same manner as a car, you must purchase specialist insurance for your motorhome. Your motorhome is like a small house, so you will need different coverage than you do for your car.

3. Am I required to Insure My Motorhome?

The law requires you to maintain insurance on your motorhome. The only time you are not required to insure your motorhome is by officially declaring the motorhome to be off the road. To do this you must contact the DVLA and apply for a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN).

To consider your motorhome as off-road you must not operate it on any public roads. This is possible if you have it stored in a garage, on a drive, on private land, or in a storage facility.

4. What are the Main Types of Motorhome Insurance Coverage?

The type of insurance coverage is based on how you use your motorhome. There are three main types of insurance coverage:

  • Commuting Insurance – Protects you when traveling between home and workplace
  • Social Domestic, Pleasure – for non-business, personal trips like shopping, school runs, going camping – everything except going to work
  • Personal business use – for using to commute to work, attend business meetings, attend business events

In addition to the way you drive, insurance is based on how much coverage you need.

Third-Party Insurance

This is the smallest amount of coverage you need to drive in the United Kingdom. This will only cover compensation for injuries other people suffer or damage you cause to them or their vehicle. However, it is now very difficult to secure third party only insurance for motorhomes.

Third-Party Fire and Theft

This is the same coverage as provided in Third Party Insurance, but it also includes coverage if your motorhome is stolen or damaged or if it is destroyed in a fire.

Full Comprehensive

Full Comprehensive covers all items listed under third party fire and theft, plus provides coverage if your motorhome suffers damage or is destroyed in an accident that is not your fault. This is the highest level of insurance you can get.

Even with the full comprehensive coverage of the motorhome’s contents, including camping gear and personal items, it offers some additional benefits including:

  • Coverage for motorhomes up to 25 years old
  • European coverage for up to 240 days
  • United Kingdom and European breakdown cover available
  • Cost of taking the motorhome to a repairer
  • Funds to assist with accommodation costs
  • Coverage for windows, windscreens, and bodywork

Optional Add-On Policies

If your policy does not cover the following, you may want to consider an add-on policy, which complements your existing policy:

  • United Kingdom Motorhome Breakdown Coverage
  • Europe Motorhome Breakdown Coverage
  • Key Protection Coverage (£12) – protection if keys are lost, stolen or broken

Legal Expense Coverage – if you are an innocent party in an accident involving your motorhome will help recover your losses

5. What Affects the Cost of My Insurance?

There are five main factors that affect the cost of your motorhome insurance. The first is your driving record.

If your driving record shows you to be claims free for the past few years you will likely receive a lower insurance rate. Most insurance companies will use your car driving record when insuring your motorhome.

The way you plan to use your motorhome affects your insurance cost. If your motorhome is your only vehicle and you use it for your daily commute to work plus on holiday, your insurance will be more expensive.

If you keep the motorhome in storage and only use it for occasional leisure trips, your insurance may be less expensive. You may be able to receive a discount if you store your motorhome in a CaSSOA site. Their high level of security allows insurance companies to give discounts on insurance. CaSSOA sites usually have public liability insurance for fire and flooding, but their coverage does not cover accidental damage or theft.

Mileage has an impact on your insurance rates. If you keep your mileage below the agreed limit, you will experience savings in your premiums. You may need to provide the insurance company proof of the mileage, such as a photograph of your odometer

To estimate your mileage, figure out how many miles you normally drive in a normal week. Multiply that number by 52, then add any mileage for additional trips like holidays. The final figure is your estimated yearly mileage.

The value of your motorhome has a big impact on the price of your insurance. With motorhomes costing tens of thousands of pounds, you must take this into account when you’re looking for an insurance quote.

Finally, the higher the level of security devices and systems you have in your motorhome, the better the quote to insure it.

6. Will Brexit Affect My Insurance?

Britain left the European Union and although most insurance is not affected, negotiations are ongoing. At this time you are not required to carry a Green Card when driving through Europe, but that may change after 31st December 2020. Until that date, you may drive your motorhome on EU roads with your current European coverage.

If you have any questions it is suggested you contact your insurance company one month before traveling to obtain any necessary green cards for your vehicle, caravan, motorhome, or trailer. The driving license rules remain the same but may change after 31st December 2020. If you plan to do any travel watch the rules carefully.

7. Does My Home Contents Insurance Cover My Motorhome?

Whether or not your home contents insurance will cover the items in your motorhome will depend on the type of coverage you have. For them to be covered you might have to list them on your policy. This will likely only cover a few special items like camping gear.

Your house contents coverage usually does not cover household items you have in your motorhome. This includes things like a television, bedding, and dishes. For those items, you need separate insurance coverage.

8. Do You Offer Discounts?

One way to lower your insurance costs is by paying for a year up front. Paying in advance means you won’t pay interest on any credit you use. Companies also offer discounts for belonging to large clubs and owners’ clubs. You may also be able to get an additional discount for taking driving safety courses, and using security and safety systems in your motorhome.

Call for a Quote

Shield Total Insurance specialises in caravan and motorhome insurance, providing coverage in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We will answer all your motorhome and caravan insurance questions. Contact us today at 0800 393 966 for a quote

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