Over the last few years, there has been a surge in the popularity of campervans in the UK. It is now currently estimated that there are now around 225,000 of them on UK roads in total.
The rising popularity of campervans is perhaps down to the trendy ‘van life’ culture spearheaded by young people dreaming of a freer and simpler existence. To meet the varying needs of these youthful idealists, campervans range from hollowed-out transits with a bed in the back to luxurious mobile homes complete with kitchen, bathroom, and fold-out beds.
So, because they serve as both a mode of transport and short-stay living accommodation, do you need specialist insurance for a campervan?
We are going to take a look at campervan insurance, who needs it, what it covers, and what you can do to bring your insurance costs down.
Do you need specialist insurance for a campervan?
To legally drive a campervan, you need specialist campervan insurance. Campervans are used for sleeping, cooking, and living in, as well as driving and travelling, so they need cover in areas that regular car insurance doesn’t offer.
Because campervans range widely in what they offer (some have bathrooms, kitchens, awnings, etc.) it is important that you find the right cover to suit your campervan’s requirements.
What is campervan insurance?
Campervan insurance, also known as motorhome insurance, is a form of motor cover that is specifically for campervans and motorhomes.
Campervan insurance can offer as little as third-party cover, all the way up to fully comprehensive with optional extras. As with regular car insurance, third-party cover is a legal minimum requirement for anyone who wants to drive a campervan.
What does campervan insurance cover?
If you’re going to drive a vehicle on a public road there are three insurance options you can consider: third-party; third-party, fire and theft; and fully comprehensive. And campervan insurance is no different. There are also optional extras you can add to your campervan insurance depending on its use and features.
Third-party insurance is the minimum legal requirement for any vehicle to drive on UK roads, including campervans. Third-party covers the costs of compensating other people for any damage you cause to them or their vehicle while driving your campervan. Third-party insurance does not cover you or your vehicle should you be in an accident.
Third-party, fire, and theft insurance
Third-party, fire, and theft insurance offers the same cover as third-party, but also covers you if your campervan is stolen, vandalised, or damaged in a fire that wasn’t your fault.
Fully comprehensive insurance
A fully comprehensive insurance policy offers the same cover as the others, but also covers your campervan if it is damaged or destroyed in an event that was your fault.
There are also optional extras that you can choose to add to your campervan insurance policy. These vary depending on the insurance provider but may include cover for trips in Europe, personal belongings cover, or cover for the campervan’s awning.
Some fully comprehensive policies include some of these optional extras as part of the package.
What isn’t covered by campervan insurance?
As with all insurance, there are certain liabilities that are not covered by campervan insurance as well as certain circumstances that mean your campervan is not eligible.
Such exclusions depend on the policy and the insurance provider, but campervan insurance usually doesn’t cover:
- The campervan, if used as a full time living space.
- The campervan, if used at all for businesses purposes.
- General wear and tear.
- Pest infestations.
What counts as a campervan?
A campervan is a vehicle that offers both transport and sleeping and living facilities. It is distinct from a caravan as it is self-propelled, whereas a caravan is towed by another vehicle. A campervan may be purpose-built or it may have been a regular van that has undergone a campervan conversion.
Campervans also generally have no divide between the cab and the sleeping space. Many campervans were once regular vans that have been converted or modified.
Although both campervans and motorhomes can be included under campervan insurance, there are some minor differences between the two.
Motorhomes are usually purpose-built and have clearly defined areas for driving and living, often with a separated cab and living space. Motorhomes are also usually larger and may come with extras such as an over-cab area with space for a double bed.
Who can drive a campervan?
Anyone with a full UK driving licence can drive a campervan weighing up to 3.5 tonnes. If the vehicle is any heavier than 3.5 tonnes, you must be at least 18 years old and have a category C driving licence.
If you passed your driving test before January 1st, 1997, you can drive a campervan up to 7.5 tonnes on a regular licence.
Can you drive your campervan on your car insurance?
To drive a motorhome or campervan, you need a specialist campervan insurance policy. Campervans are both transport and living accommodation and regular car insurance only offers cover for driving liabilities. Therefore, it is a legal requirement that you have specialist campervan insurance if you own one.
How to save on your campervan insurance
Because campervans are generally bigger and more expensive than regular cars, the cost of insuring them is also likely to be more.
However, there are several simple things you can do to bring down the overall insurance cost of your campervan. So let’s take a look at some of them.
- Pay for your premium annually rather than monthly. Although this option may not be possible for everyone due to their financial situation, it is usually less expensive to pay your annual insurance bill in one go rather than in instalments.
- Improve your campervan’s security. You can improve the security of your campervan by adding features such as a tracking device, ignition identification, a top-of-the-range alarm system, or a steering wheel lock. If you inform your insurer that you have installed these or similar features, you will likely see a reduction in your insurance premiums.
- Keep your campervan parked off roads. If you keep your campervan parked in a driveway, garage, or in a private campervan park, it is far less likely to be vandalised or stolen. As a result, the cost to insure it will be lower.
- Reduce your mileage. The more you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. So, the less you drive, the lower the costs of your insurance.
- Build up a no-claims discount. You can build up a no-claims discount by not making any claims for successive years. No-claims discounts can wipe up to 80% off the price of your insurance premiums.
- Get telematics insurance. Telematics or ‘black box’ insurance means that you drive with a box in your campervan that registers how safe you are. Safer drivers will get lower premiums. However, it does also work the other way and if you are found to be a reckless driver you will see a rise in the cost of your insurance.
- Wait until you are older. Drivers over the age of 25 pay significantly less for vehicle insurance than younger drivers. Those of 30 pay even less still. So waiting a few years can save you thousands on your campervan insurance.
- Get an advanced driving qualification. An advanced driving qualification proves to your insurer that you are an expert-level driver. The more experienced and advanced the driver, the lower the price of the premiums.
- Join a campervan club. Some insurance providers offer discounts for members of certain campervan clubs.
Campervans are specialist vehicles that provide both a reliable method of transport and a comfortable living space. As such, they require specialist campervan insurance to cover the unique needs of the vehicles.
Campervan insurance is a legal requirement and a campervan cannot be covered by regular car insurance. As with all motor insurance, campervan insurance ranges from third-party cover to fully comprehensive with optional extras.