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.

Motorhome insurance – a brief guide

Just as the name suggests, a motorhome is more than just a vehicle, it is a small home on wheels. Motorhome insurance, therefore, needs to reflect this dual purpose in order to afford adequate protection for your investment both in the vehicle itself and in the contents which make it a home.

Despite its offering cover against such twin perils as motoring and a mini-home, however, motorhome insurance may often prove to be amongst the most competitively-priced forms of vehicle insurance.

Motor insurance

When it comes to insurance, the likely value of the motorhome probably makes very basic cover (ie third party only) inadequate in the vast majority of cases and third party, fire and theft or – more usually – fully comprehensive insurance is going to be sought. The latter cover is typically designed to indemnify the driver not only against claims from third parties but also provide cover for accidental damage, theft and fire.

Some providers of motorhome insurance, however, recognise that the majority of owners are likely to be of the more experienced and mature type of driver (indeed, some restrict cover only to drivers over the minimum age of 25 years).

Many also take into account the fact that the motorhome is used relatively occasionally during the year, when on holiday, and driven in suitably holiday mood, when there is no rush-hour pressure to get to work. Indeed, some motorhome protection policies may specifically exclude the vehicle’s use for driving to and from work.

Add to all this the fact that motorhomes may be less likely to be the subject of theft than other kinds of vehicle and it becomes easy to see why competitive premium rates are often offered on this type of insurance.

“Home” insurance

As your home away from home, the modern-day motorhome is likely to contain not only a range of personal belongings but also come fully-equipped with such things as television, video-players, computers and satellite navigation. Although it may be necessary to check carefully the maximum levels of compensation in the event of loss through theft or damage, insurance for motorhome policies are typically designed to offer protection for such fittings and personal belongings.

As offered by other providers of motor insurance, motorhome cover may often come with the benefit of a free courtesy car, whilst the motorhome is being repaired following an accident covered by the policy. Motorhome insurance more often goes that one step further, however, by recognising that the vehicle is not only a means of transportation, but of accommodation, too. If the motorhome is stolen or otherwise rendered unusable, some insurance policies may make provision for alternative accommodation (subject to a maximum cost per night and for a prescribed maximum number of days).