Quick guide to motorhomes

Fancy owning a motorhome but you find the choice quite overwhelming. There certainly appears to be a vast range of models, layouts and size to suit most budgets and a could be useful. To start with, it might help if you quantify for what purpose you wish to use the motorhome. If day trips or the ability to overnight somewhere, perhaps at a festival, are what you seek then you may wish to consider the B-class motor homes. These are also known as campervans or day-vans and are normally panels vans, for example a Ford Transit, fitted out as a motorhome by the manufacturer.

If your plans are for more than day trips, a C-class motorhome might be appropriate. These are chassis cab conversions known as coach-built and have purpose built ‘caravan’ body attachments. If they have a bed area over the cab, they are referred to as over-cabs and those without this area and with a lower roofline are called low profile.

The final category in this , is the A-class. These are invariably built to order by the manufacturer and are normally very stylish in body design, roomy and with practical features. A-class could suit those who wish spend longer periods travelling, perhaps catching the winter sun in Spain. In the UK, the maximum length for a motorhome is 12m with 6m being the benchmark between medium and large. Most insurance, recovery packages, ferry and road tolls cater for the 6m vehicle. This, plus the increased running costs and lack of manoeuvrability, should be fully understood and compared between the varying sized motorhomes.

The generosity of the payload is an important factor in the . It is the difference between an empty motorhome and its MTPLM (Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass). The greater the payload the more scope you have of packing heavy equipment and luggage. There is a chart available so that you can compare the varying payloads. The overhang of a motorhome is also important; the legal limit is 60%, measured from the middle of the rear wheel to the back of the vehicle. This could easily be exceeded if a bike rack and bikes are attached, so too the axle weight limit.

Finally in this quick guide to motorhomes is the extremely important factor – you! Does your licence allow you to drive a motorhome? If you past your driving test before 1 January 1997 are under 70 years old and have no medical conditions, then you may drive a motor home with 7500kg MTPLM and 8250kg with a trailer. If you obtained your licence after this date or are over 70 years old, then the limits of 3500kg MTPLM and 4250kg with trailer apply.

Buying a used campervan

There is normally a used campervan in the market place to suit most budgets and design preference. As with all purchases, information is power, so plenty of research before you commence your purchasing trip could be the key when . Make a list of wants and sort these into ‘must haves’ and ‘would be nice’. Do not be too ridged or unrealistic with your ‘wish list’. After all, the campervan will be second-hand and its condition should reflect its age and mileage. It might be disappointing and expensive to refuse a campervan with low mileage and full service history in favour or a less sound vehicle based on its interior layout!

When , always view your would-be purchase in good daylight conditions, as this should make detecting flaws easier. Look for cracks on the outside, sun damage, knocks, scrapes etc and check the seals and trims. Look at the chassis and inspect underneath the vehicle. Inside, check the cupboards, handles, carpets, upholstery and beware of over personalisation of the interior. Ensure that there are no signs of damp. It normally has a distinctive smell and mildew is often present in corners and cupboards. An inexpensive damp meter could assist with this.

Test all the electrical and gas equipment, making sure that the seller fully demonstrates every single feature is in good working order and that they all operate from a hook up. Always take the campervan for a test drive, ensuring that you drive down both town and country roads. Also, try parking it and turning it around so that you are fully comfortable with its degree of manoeuvrability.

If buying privately, always insist on viewing the campervan at the seller’s home address so that you can verify ownership. Insist on seeing full documentation and check the chassis and engine numbers. Motoring organisations, for example, the RAC and AA, offer on-line history checks, full inspection and road tests. Be aware that a private seller does not have to make a statement regarding the vehicles condition. However, they are legally obliged to answer truthfully any specific vehicle related question. If you are from a dealer, they are duty bound to ensure everything is in safe working order and many provide a guarantee with the sale. Some dealers also offer part exchange deals and provide finance arrangements.

Regardless of whom you approach, it is often sensible to shop locally. This not only makes the travelling to view easier but also any after-sales visits more convenient. Also, when buying a used campervan, always haggle. Not just on the price but also for extra items that may not be included in the selling price.

Campervan insurance – Your choices

You have the same chances when looking for campervan insurance as you do when looking for car insurance. Your choices of insurance would include a fully comprehensive policy or third party policy. The type of campervan you choose to buy would depend on the insurance which would be the most suitable. If you have paid out many thousands of pounds for your van then of course a fully comprehensive policy would be the most suitable option. If a second hand model was your choice then third party fire and theft might be the most suitable form.

However while the same types of policy can be considered this is where the similarity ends. There are many more aspects of campervan insurance that have to be taken into account that are specifically tailored to a campervan. One of the main reasons for owning a campervan is of course to travel around in it and spend your holidays in it. Therefore you will be treating your campervan as a home away from home and have your personal belongings in it. With this in mind you want to ensure that you have suitable cover for your belongings.

All campervan insurance should come with personal belongings cover but they would usually limit this to a certain amount. It is essential to check this amount and also if there are any exclusions as to the type of belongings that are protected in the policy. Expensive items such as sat nav equipment, TVs and jewellery might be exempt for the cover and you would have to take out extra insurance for these.

Also check any insurance you are considering to ensure that you would be protected if travelling around Europe. This would give you protection in case you should breakdown and if the worst comes to the worst if you were to have your campervan taken for repair you would be taken to your destination. Some insurance policies would also include hotel accommodation if your campervan was off the road for repair so again this would need comparing as there could be limits. There could also be a limit on the amount of days of European cover the policy would provide and again this has to be checked before taking on the policy.

A policy that does include European cover would generally cost more than one without. With this in mind if you do not plan on travelling outside of the UK then search for a policy that comes without cover for Europe. Another way you can cut down on the cost for the premiums for campervan insurance is if you choose to pay out more in excess. The excess is what you are asked to pay towards the cost of the policy before the insurance company would kick in and pay the rest of the claim. However you would have to bear in mind that the amount of excess you choose to pay would have to come out of your own pocket as a lump sum payment. Installing extra security devices such as a tracking device and good quality alarm could also help to keep down the cost of your insurance premiums.

Things to take onboard when looking for motorhome insurance

Motorhomes can cost many thousands of pounds and as such it is imperative that you choose your motorhome insurance very carefully. Slip up and find yourself without the necessary cover and you could lose a great deal, in fact in the worst case scenario you could lose everything. With this in mind here is some useful advice to help you to choose your cover.

Motorhome insurance is similar in some parts to car insurance; however in some aspects it is also very different. To begin with you could choose insurance such as third party only or fully comprehensive. If you are buying a brand new motorhome then it only makes sense to cover it with fully comprehensive insurance.

This provides the most cover for your new motorhome although of course it is the most expensive form of cover. The difference between motorhome insurance and car insurance is that the motorhome is your “home away from home”. If you take the motorhome on holiday and travel around extensively in it then you will have all your belongings in it. Therefore you need to ensure that you enough insurance to cover your belongings.

As insurance companies offering insurance tailored to those who drive motorhomes recognise this, personal belongings will be included in your policy. However there will usually be a limit as to how much those belongings would be insured for and this could differ with providers. You would also have to check the small print as certain items and items over a particular amount might not be included. Along with personal belongings you should also check to find out if items such as steps, awnings and gas bottles were included in the insurance policy. Again there could be a limit imposed on these and they would need to be checked.

When looking for insurance find out what protection is given in the event that your motorhome should break down. The majority of policies offer insurance that would payout for you to stop in a hotel for so many nights if your vehicle was beyond repair at the roadside. Also check to find out if towing and getting you to your destination is included in the policy.

If you travel around outside of the UK and venture into Europe you would want European cover included in the motorhome insurance policy. This would ensure that if you break down while on the road you would have protection just as you would in the UK. However some policies will only offer so many days European cover in their protection so it would be essential to check the terms. It is also worth nothing that if you do not plan on travelling outside of the UK you could save money by choosing a policy that does include European protection.

Features of campervan insurance you could look for

Your new campervan will be your pride and joy. Whether you have chosen to buy a second hand campervan or have taken on a top of the range brand new home away from home campervan that comes complete with all the mod cons of home, you need campervan insurance.

You do have choices when it comes to taking out insurance and this would depend on the type of camper van you have chosen. If you chose to buy a cheaper second hand model just to take out and about in the UK a couple of times per year then you could be better off taking out third party fire and theft insurance. A new van off the forecourt would mean you had not got much choice over the protection as you would have to take out fully comprehensive insurance. This is the dearest type of insurance but it would provide you with the most complete form of protection for your campervan.
Campervan insurance differs between each insurance provider with some offering more features than others for your money. However the majority of comprehensive insurance will include protection against fire and theft. In some cases the insurance company would payout to replace your campervan with a brand new model if it should be damaged beyond repair or if stolen. However this would generally only apply if the campervan was under a certain age or if it had done under so many miles.

This would need to be checked before taking on the policy. Usually providers offer storm damage and flood damage in with the insurance which of course could be considered essential if you are taking your campervan out on the road for a great deal of time throughout the year. Some providers will also include accidental damage in with their policy while others could ask that you pay extra for this, so again checking the small print is essential.

There are also many extras that could be included in your campervan insurance or which you can add onto the cover for a little extra. One of which might be European cover, this should be considered essential if you intend travelling outside of the UK in your campervan.

If your policy does have European cover included then you would have to check how many days coverage the policy would provide as usually there will be a limit. European cover would payout for such as a stay in alternative accommodation if you were to break down or have an accident while in Europe. It should also payout to have your campervan towed to a garage and pay for repairs.

The majority of campervan insurance policies would payout for items such as clothing, linen, bedding and personal items. However you would have to check the limits on these as all insurance providers will only pay out up to so much and certain items such as those of particular value might not be covered.

There would also be a minimum amount of excess on the policy which would need checking as this is the amount you would have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance provider would take over the rest of the claim.

Tips when buying motorhome insurance

There are many features of a motorhome insurance policy that can differ between providers. Some will add in accidental damage for instance while others might ask that you pay more to have this added on. Some could include European cover and others might not, even if European cover is added in how long you would be protected could differ with the providers. Therefore it would be essential to check over any policy you were thinking of taking before actually going ahead and buying it.

If you do plan on travelling outside of the UK in your motorhome then European cover would be considered essential. This would protect you for all the things you would be protected against in the UK but of course while you were travelling around Europe. This could include being towed if you breakdown and recovery to your destination. It could also include paying out for you to stay in alternative accommodation while your vehicle was being repaired of giving you a replacement vehicle.

All motorhome insurance policies would allow you to insure your belongings. However there would usually be limits and exclusions to this. Items which are particularly expensive might not be covered and there could be limits on the amount that is paid out on a single item. Items which are usually covered in your protection would include soft furnishings, linen, clothing, a TV, steps, awnings and gas bottles. Of course the provider could include much more so you would have to check this in the small print. Also check to find out if accidental damage is included as some providers will ask you pay more for this.
When looking into the features offered by the policy take a look to see if the insurance would payout for damage to glass. This could include the windscreen of your motorhome and some providers might also extend this to side windows. Usually there would be a limit on the amount you could claim for windscreen damage so again this would have to be checked in the small print before taking out the cover.
You could also check to find out if the policy would payout for such as liability, personal accident, flood and storm damage. Flooding and storm damage could be considered essential if you are spending a great deal of time travelling out on the road in your motorhome. However again you should check for limitations and exclusions before taking on the protection.

Of course all the above features would be found only in a fully comprehensive motorhome insurance policy. If you have bought a brand new motorhome then you would have no option but to take this level of insurance out as it provides the most cover for your motorhome. However if you have chosen to buy a second hand model then you could choose to take out third party fire and theft cover. This would provide you with protection that would payout in the event your motorhome was damaged due to fire or if it were stolen. It would also provide cover for any third party that should be involved in an accident with you which is your fault.