Before you invest in a new campervan or a campervan conversion, you should have a think about campervan insurance. Despite the huge and growing number of people who own a campervan, it seems to remain surprisingly tricky to find a good insurance deal.
Finding Campervan Insurance
Insurance for campervans and motorhomes which have been professionally converted tends to be relatively straightforward, though sometimes expensive to find. Finding insurance for a DIY campervan conversion however can pose a number of issues - for a start there are only a few insurance companies who offer policies for campervan conversions and many of the policies available require you to provide proof that the campervan fits their criteria and sometimes you might have to provide some sort of certification showing that your campervan conversion meets legal requirements and is safe.
Campervan insurance criteria
Campervan insurance companies tend to consider a vehicle a campervan if you can demonstrate that it provides "sustainable living quarters" - i.e. can you live in your campervan for a sustained period of time? The campervan insurance criteria with this regard seems to focus on the following items:
- A Bed - often a minimum size of bed is specified so make sure your bed is a reasonable size
- Windows - often windows on both sides and in the rear doors are considered important when defining a campervan for insurance purposes
- Cooking facilities including a stove and often also including fresh water facilities like a water tank and sink.
- Dining Area (i.e. seating and a table)
Be aware that some insurance companies will require you to complete the campervan conversion process within 90 days (though they may extend this if you ask them to), and you may also be required to provide photographic evidence of the conversion and even a certificate from an appropriate garage verifying the work you have carried out.
Do I Need Specialist Campervan Insurance
If you have carried out a self-conversion project on a campervan you may think that just insuring it as a commercial vehicle offers the best solution. However, there are a number of reasons why gaining specialist campervan insurance is advisable.
Firstly, you must ensure that you do not unwittingly invalidate your van insurance policy by not telling them about some major change you have made to the vehicle. Your camper insurance policy must be for the vehicle that you've actually got rather than the vehicle that it was prior to all the work you've done - it seems senseless to carry out a huge amount of work converting your camper and then be driving it round effectively uninsured!
Secondly, by converting your van into a campervan you are likely to have changed the value of the vehicle - hopefully upwards! Certainly having put all that work in the campervan is going to be worth more to you now than it was before you started - so make sure your campervan insurance accurately reflect the new value of the vehicle.
Thirdly, and quite importantly, you are now quite likely to carry around an awful lot of valuable equipment in your campervan - your campervan insurance policy needs to cover all this ancillary 'stuff' - make sure the insurance covers not only the new fixed contents of your campervan including perhaps a heater, stove, expensive electrical appliances) but also all the personal kit you plan to travel with - this might well include all your clothing, cameras, laptop, and perhaps expensive sports equipment. Make sure you know whether items are insured when they are tied onto a roofrack - they are often not covered so if you are parked up somewhere in doubt try to either lock things to the van using some sort of cable or even take items of the roof or bike rack and put them inside the campervan while you're away.