According to the National Caravan Council NCC, more than 17,000 new static caravans are built and despatched to purpose-designed holiday resorts and parks each year.
If you are thinking of investing in such a holiday home, therefore, what are some of the main things you need to know?
Can I live in it?
- generally speaking, a static caravan is a holiday or second home – it is rarely designed to be lived in as your main place of residence;
- this is also reflected in the policies of most of the parks and resorts on which your static caravan is pitched – they close for certain periods of the year, when residence is not permitted;
- some parks may entertain year-round accommodation, but you need to check very carefully the conditions of the lease if it is your intention to live in your static caravan as, in some cases, this could be breaking council laws;
The lease agreement
- the lease agreement – and, with it, the rent you pay to pitch your static caravan in the park or resort – is critical and bears very careful reading and understanding, so that you are fully aware of the respective obligations and responsibilities you have as the owner and those of the park management;
- one of those conditions, for example, is likely to be your responsibility for arranging suitable static home insurance – note that in most cases, you do not have to take the site owner’s own static home insurance offering;
- this insurance is a critical safeguard against the risk of loss or damage to your static home, but also typically includes protection against claims that may be made against you as the owner of the property by third parties who may have been injured or suffered damage to their own property through some connection with your static home;
- indeed, that public liability insurance is one element on which the park management is likely to insist that you have adequate cover – for the protection of other park residents, their visitors and members of the public;
Letting your static home
- the park which is host to your static home is unlikely to raise any objection to your letting the property whenever you choose;
- indeed, the National Association of Caravan Owners (NACO) suggests that most parks and resorts encourage the practice, since it helps you to offset the cost of your pitch fees, maintenance and other expenses;
- but if you take any such opportunity for earning extra income from rents, this is a further reason for giving careful consideration to insurance for your static home;
- this additional use to which the property is put is likely to mean that you require some form of specialist holiday home insurance – which takes into account those periods of heightened risk, when your home is temporarily occupied by tenants;
How long can I keep my static home on its pitch?
- once again, this is a question which may be addressed in your lease agreement with the park or resort;
- some parks may have a maximum limit of 15 years, for example, whilst other may specify no particular age for your static home, provided it is kept in a good state of repair – determining any such security of tenure is a matter to be negotiated before you sign any lease agreement.
These – and other important considerations regarding your enjoyment of your static home – are questions you need to address before purchasing a static home and before signing any lease agreement with the management of the park on which it is pitched.
Summer has drawn to a close and the days are growing shorter – but not so short as to prevent a good number of outings with your touring caravan this Autumn.
Autumn is a time of year when the weather may stay surprisingly mild and, as the leaves begin to change colour, practically anywhere in the UK is a place to enjoy this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” – as the English poet John Keats so aptly named it.
So, here are a few destination ideas in your ‘van for this Autumn – some are open the whole year round, so don’t rule out those mild days in the dead of winter, too – and here at Cover4Caravans we’ll help to make sure your caravan insurance is up to date.
Autumn is a great time for visiting Dartmoor – in all its wild and rugged majesty.
But the five-star facilities and the under-floor heating of its luxurious washrooms provide a warm haven after a day on the moors.
Its 40 fully-serviced pitches for touring caravans are available throughout the Autumn and Winter, with a 10% reduction in tariffs during this low season – with the park closing only between the 15th of January and the 28th of February 2018.
When Autumn comes to the Peak District, you might want to pitch your caravan in the delightful haven of the Hope Valley near the village of Bradwell, where you will find the Eden Tree Caravan Park.
The site has 20 serviced, grass pitches on a site surrounded by all the changing seasonal colours of the Peak District National Park.
What better place to watch the leaves turn from green, to russet and brown than the verdant woods of Sherwood Forest.
The National Park is but a short distance from New Hall Touring Park, which has 25 pitches for touring caravans on a site that is part of a working farm – so farm-fresh produce is available on your door-step.
Autumn brings with it a bracing saltiness to the air on the east Lincolnshire coast, and the Eastview Caravan Park at Chapel St Leonards, near Skegness.
The park is not only close to the seaside resort itself but also the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Eastview is an especially well-regarded site for touring caravans, having featured in the Top 100 Sites Guide published by Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome magazines, and carries a four-star rating from Enjoy England and four pennants from the AA.
Caravanning north of the border might not be your first choice as winter draws on, yet a stay in Autumn at Braemar Caravan Park, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, might be all that it takes to persuade you to stay on for the winter sports just around the corner.
The site is genuinely one for all four seasons – mountains and moorland for walking in Autumn, Spring or Summer and winter sports at the nearby Glenshee Ski Centre.
Keeping your caravan safe and secure is a year-round concern – whether you are using it practically every weekend, during the summer for example, or whether it is laid up in storage for the winter.
Caravan security is important not only for reducing the risk of loss or damage, but for that reason also has an impact on your touring caravan insurance – any insurer is entitled to expect you to maintain a reasonable level of security and may even offer a discount on the premiums you pay, if extra precautions are taken.
Here are some tips and suggestions for improving your caravan security:
- one of the simplest and most effective deterrents against the theft of the caravan itself is immobilisation;
- this may take two basic forms – used in tandem when the caravan is still hitched to the towing vehicle – employing wheel clamps and hitchlocks;
- there is a wide variety of wheel clamps, offering different degrees of sophistication and robustness for use when the caravan is unhitched and which may be used in conjunction with a hitchlock whilst attached to the towing vehicle;
- most touring caravan insurance policies require the use of either or both of these immobilisation devices whenever the caravan is left unattended;
- a closely related security measure is the intruder alarm – designed to deter any but the most determined of thieves;
- as the Caravan Club points out, alarms vary quite widely in their sophistication, reliability and expense;
- issues such as the amount of power consumed (especially during storage) and the ease with which you may disable the alarm may be difficult for the uninitiated to determine;
- the Caravan Club recommends that you look for the Master Locksmiths’ Association’s Sold Secure standard when buying any alarm or high-specification locks;
- whenever you leave your caravan unattended, a basic precaution is to ensure that all windows and doors are properly closed and locked;
- but have you considered whether the factory-fitted locks are providing the appropriate level of security – or whether an upgrade might be appropriate;
- a wide range of security door locks are available – some incorporating hand rails for added security and safety – from outlets such as the Caravan Accessory Shop;
- your touring caravan may be at its most vulnerable when it is laid up for winter and no longer in regular use;
- your choice of a suitable storage site is likely to be critical to its security during such times;
- rather than storing your caravan on your driveway – or, abandoning it to some remote corner of a farmer’s field – consider one of the secure facilities offered by members of the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA), where complete peace of mind may be given by a gated, securely fenced and constantly monitored site;
- there are four hundred or so CaSSOA sites around the country and each is regularly inspected and graded according to the security it offers;
- what’s more, your agreeing to use such a site when storing your caravan may earn valuable discounts on the premiums you pay for your touring caravan insurance. At Cover4Caravans, for instance, we can offer discounts up to 15% depending on which CaSSOA site your ‘van is stored.
Caravan insurance is important and something to which you might want to pay close attention, not just to protect your investment, but also to save money on the insurance premiums you pay.
Further reading: our recently updated Guide to Caravan Storage and Security