Cover4Caravans » Resources

How to compare static caravan insurance

If you’re wondering just how to best go about trying to get a more attractive deal on your static home insurance cover, some of the answers to frequently asked questions below might be of assistance.

Is a comparison going to require a lot of my time?

Possibly, though it rather depends on how you go about it.

If you intend to look up lots of individual insurers and obtain many individual quotes, then you are likely to need a substantial amount of time if you are going to do justice to reviewing them in detail.

An alternative might be to go to a specialist provider of static caravan insurance cover, like us at Cover4Caravans, to ask for options.

What does static caravan insurance cover?

To get answers to the question “what does static insurance cover”, it would be necessary to read each individual policy carefully. Policies vary from one provider to another.

However, generally speaking, a policy of this type might cover you for:

  • the destruction of or serious damage to, your caravan arising from one of a range of specified perils;
  • the loss or destruction of your contents due to the same circumstances;
  • things such as illegal entry to your caravan and the theft of its contents;
  • third party liability (should another person claim damages against you due to injury or losses they might have suffered as a result of your caravan).

Will comparing quotations get me a cheaper price?

Perhaps – but it might be better to think in terms of cost-effective solutions rather than use the word cheap when trying to compare static caravan insurance

There is an important distinction between the two. Cheap simply means the lowest cost and what might prove to be cheap for someone else might not end up being so for you.

By contrast, cost-effective means looking at the price in the context of the cover provided and taking into account any limitations and conditions of the policy concerned.

Why shouldn’t I just purchase the cheapest cover I can find?

Price is typically and also understandably one of the top priorities for many static caravan owners searching for static home insurance quotes online.

However, it immediately becomes the lowest possible priority in any situation where you need to turn to your policy to make a claim.

If you reach that point, you will only be concerned about the quality of the cover provided by the policy and not its cost. That’s something that might suggest it would be a smart move to select a policy on that basis in the first place and not exclusively upon its price tag.

Can I reduce the cost of my existing policy?

You might be able to do so.

The fine detail may depend upon what your policy allows you to do and how flexible your provider is. It is something perhaps best progressed by looking at the detail of the policy or having a discussion with whoever you purchased it from.

You may, for example, be able to obtain a significant discount in return for taking a higher excess on the policy.

Can my postcode make a difference to the price I pay?

It may do – in the sense of the postcode of your chosen site.

You’ll typically find that there are some static caravan sites which are considered to be more or less risky than others.

For example, a well-known risk for static caravans from an insurance point of view is flooding. If you therefore position your caravan on a site with a history of flooding then you might typically see higher static caravan insurance quotes than if your location has no history of flooding problems.

Can I live permanently in my static caravan?

This involves issues relating to your site contract, possibly local laws and static caravan insurance quotes. We will only deal with the last of those here.

Typically, no you cannot. Your static caravan policy will typically only cover your static for situations where you are using it occasionally during the year for recreational purposes.

Must I purchase the site owner’s insurance?

Your static may be on a site where the owners will try to persuade you to purchase their static caravan insurance.

They may be entitled to ask for evidence that you have such cover. That’s because they are under an obligation to run a safe site and that might include needing to ensure all owners have appropriate third party liability cover in place.

It might also be perfectly legitimate for them to attempt to offer you their provided cover – something which might earn them a commission from their insurance provider. However, typically you are under no legal obligation to purchase the cover they offer and you’re free to compare static caravan insurance across multiple potential providers.

What is excluded from static caravan insurance?

Each policy will be different and will need to be read to be sure the exclusions are understood.

Some static caravan insurance policies may exclude things such as:

  • flood risks – that may be particularly the case if your caravan is located on a site with a documented history of flooding. Some other policies may offer cover but may apply certain special conditions or require a higher premium;
  • awnings – these may be relatively popular with owners of static caravans and extremely useful as a way of expanding sitting and leisure areas but not all policies may cover them (note that even if your awning is covered, contents stored underneath it may not be);
  • burglary/vandalism – unless your site has some form of access control and/or supervisory presence.

What happens in terms of new-for-old caravan cover?

At Cover4Caravans, we offer new-for-old replacement for a caravan up to five years old (regardless of the amount of previous owners).

Other providers may have much more restricted cover, such as market value replacement.

What should I do for winter?

Many static parks close over the winter season. Typical insurance for a static caravan may require you to drain down water or heating systems to reduce the risks of water-related damage from burst pipes etc.

Read your policy carefully for details.

How to compare caravan insurance

At Cover4Caravans, our online tools allow you to compare caravan insurance online so that you can find the most cost-effective and appropriate policy for you. So, if you are carrying out a caravan or static home insurance comparison – whether using our service or not – what do you need to consider?

Price isn’t everything

Firstly, it’s important not to focus exclusively on the advertised price. Of course, it’s natural for this to catch your eye but it can be misleading.

When you start comparing caravan insurance, the price may be far from the first thing to consider. The reasoning is simple – it doesn’t tell you what you’re getting for the money.

It’s like knowing that car ‘A’ costs £10,000 and car ‘B’, £13,000. The difference in cost sounds massive, but it means nothing unless you know what the two vehicles are.

If car ‘A’ is a basic model and ‘B’ a luxurious family saloon, you may decide the higher price is better value and more suitable for your needs.

So, how do you know what makes caravan insurance policy ‘A’ different to policy ‘B’?

Making a comparison

What do you need to know when carrying out a caravan insurance comparison? To start, the basics should include:

  • understanding what the policies cover including what elements of protection come as standard and what don’t – this may vary among caravan insurance providers;
  • knowing what optional extras are available;
  • understanding things the policies don’t cover. These are sometimes called “the exclusions”, and these may include certain items or certain circumstances. part of this will also be the qualifying conditions. These usually relates to restrictions on where your caravan can or cannot be parked when it’s not in use or, for static homes, what you need to do when it will be unoccupied for a long period of time (e.g. over the winter);
  • what is the policy excess;
  • finding out whether any discounts are available.

What does caravan insurance cover?

There are usually standard features provided in any caravan insurance policy. However, these can vary widely from one insurer to another. Our policies at Cover4Caravans, for example, include:

  • protection against storm damage;
  • theft of the caravan;
  • third party liability;
  • contents cover if required;
  • free Continental cover up to 240 days per annum for tourers;
  • plus much more!

New for old replacement

You should also check what the new for old replacement terms are. There is likely to be the maximum age of the caravan qualifying for such replacement and these vary among providers. In the event of loss, we will replace your tourer or static aged up to five years old, regardless of the amount of previous owners. (Not all policies provide this).

Optional extras

While standard policy features provide the backbone of your insurance, you may want to have the option to further tailor the coverage to meet your needs and requirements.

Examples of such extras might include:

  • cover for your awning;
  • the provision of alternative accommodation if your caravan is stolen, lost or damaged while you’re touring in it;
  • the ability to protect your no claims discount; and
  • the freedom to choose an additional, voluntary excess in return for lower premiums.

Terms, conditions and exclusions

You may expect to find these in any policy. However, it’s advisable to read them carefully as part of your caravan insurance comparison.

There are too many potential combinations for us to go into too much detail, but it’s important not to disregard this area. Some of these exclusions and conditions may be more demanding than others and have a significant effect on whether you’re able to make a successful claim. Please feel free to contact us if you are unsure of any aspect of the cover.

What is the policy excess?

The excess is the first part of any successful claim that you are to cover. When comparing caravan insurance policies, consider the level of excess that applies to any successful claim.

Although there will be a mandatory excess, many providers – such as ourselves – offer further voluntary excess in return for lower premiums.

Look out for discounts

Here at Cover4Caravans, we offer attractive discounts (up to 15%) on your insurance premiums if you arrange secure storage at a site registered with the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA). Of the 500 or so sites around the country, each one is rated according to a scale of three different levels of security and is subject to regular inspection of its storage facilities.

We also offer discounts for members of recognised caravan clubs and for security devices such as Phantom Tracker.

Valuation

Once you have found the most suitable caravan insurance policy for you, don’t forget to pay attention to the valuation of your ‘van.

An accurate and realistic assessment of your caravan is essential for establishing the total sum that needs insuring. This is the basis for comparing levels of compensation for loss or damage.

So, if you recently upgraded your static home – for example, you have put in a new kitchen – you may need to increase the sum insured to reflect this.

How we can help

If you are unsure of any aspect of any caravan policy you are considering buying with us, please feel free to give us a call on 0800 9707 172 – we’d be delighted to help.

Our objective isn’t necessarily to find you the cheapest insurance available. Instead, it’s about outlining the options that are most cost-effective to suit your specific needs. We do this via our panel of specialist caravan insurance providers – leaving you free to cherry pick the cover that most meets your requirements.

It’s worth remembering that nobody is ever interested in the price they’ve paid for their policy in the event they need to make a claim. They want the peace of mind of knowing that what they are claiming for is covered.

We believe that considering insurance when you’re making a claim is too late. We’re here to help you find an appropriate policy, to begin with.

At Cover4Caravans, we make that comparison more manageable for you by searching and comparing quotations on your behalf.

We look to reach a balanced set of conclusions. We’ll analyse what a policy provides and omits, versus the price.

As said above, this can be a complex task, and it’s certainly time-consuming. If you lack the required expertise and/or the time to do it thoroughly, then why not let us help? You can give us a call to discuss your options, or get a free, no obligation caravan insurance quotes online.

Why compare touring caravan insurance?

Even if you have been a caravan devotee for a number of years and have had no real complaints about your current insurance deal, you may still find it worthwhile to compare touring caravan insurance.

That’s because nothing ever stays entirely the same.

As an example, over the years you may have:

  • changed your caravan – you may have sold it and bought another or spent money refurbishing it;
  • changed how and where you use your caravan;
  • moved house or moved the storage location of your ‘van.

These are three of very many changes that may have happened over the years, any of which may have a bearing on your caravan insurance. So taking a couple of minutes to compare touring caravan insurance to keep up to date with general trends may make sense.

Illustrations

For example:

  • if you have changed your caravan, then you may have opted for a better model with a higher standard of fixtures and fittings;
  • equally though, you may have downsized to a smaller caravan. In either circumstance, you may need to check your insurance levels for the value of the caravan and the type of contents cover that you have to make sure they still make sense for you (in fact, changing your caravan without notifying your policy may invalidate your policy entirely);
  • if you have more time to yourself these days, then you may take longer holidays than previously and venture further afield. Does your existing policy still offer value in terms of cover outside of the UK? Are your annual estimates for days abroad and mileage still accurate? It’s worth knowing;
  • perhaps if you have moved house, you may now be able to park your tourer in your driveway rather than leave it parked on the street. If your caravan is being kept in a more secure location when not in use, you could see a reduction in your insurance for touring caravans premium. Here at Cover4Caravans, we will be pleased to offer a discount of up to 15% on your touring caravan insurance if you choose such a CaSSOA-approved site;
  • you may have improved the security of your caravan by fitting a tracking device and possibly an alarm system. These changes may all result in lower premiums (If you compare insurance for touring caravans, you may find that some policies actually insist on some types of security as mandatory, such as the use of wheel clamps and hitchlocks in certain circumstances);
  • if you are on a touring holiday in your caravan and break down, you potentially have lost not only your means of transport but you may also have lost your holiday accommodation. When you compare touring caravan insurance, you may wish to review the provision your current policy makes for these circumstances against what may be available elsewhere.

How to go about it – some more specific examples

The actual level of caravan cover offered and the terms and conditions attached to policies may make a significant difference to how you view its appropriateness for your own circumstances. So, in addition to some of the above points:

  • some policies may offer new for old replacement for caravans up to 3 years old if there have been prior owners or up to 5 years old if you have been the only owner of your touring caravan from new. At Cover4Caravans, we replace both static homes and touring caravans on a new for old basis if they are up to 5 years old, irrespective of the number of previous owners;
  • if you are planning a long trip, you may wish to ensure that there are no unrealistic restrictions on annual mileage limits;
  • since awnings may be very easily damaged by sudden storms, it is common sense (and may well form part of your obligations as a policyholder) to get into the habit of stowing the awning away each time you leave the caravan, thereby reducing the opportunities for damage to happen;
  • you may discover when you compare touring caravan insurance quotes, that some providers may offer discounts if you are a member of a recognised caravan club, as they believe that this is an indication of a serious and responsible caravan user. These may often be called “caravan club insurance discounts”, which we at Cover4Caravans offer;
  • if you compare touring caravan insurance quotes, you may notice that outside furniture may be the only item of your belongings typically covered, due principally to the fact that, however useful awnings are to increase the living space of your tourer, they are not secure places.

Summary

Although the thought might not immediately seem attractive, it’s not a vast effort to compare touring caravan insurance. The benefits to you may be considerable and we are, of course, standing by to help.

Longleat Site Review

This review of our visit to the Longleat Caravan & Motorhome Club site in Wiltshire is based on our visit in July 2018 when we stayed for one week.

Firstly – and extremely importantly for this site – arrival. There is only one way to reach the site and that’s from the A362 between Frome and Warminster. You cannot access it via the famous safari park – if you’re arriving from the east go past the park entrance at the roundabout and continue on the A362 following the brown tourist signs for the site. The turning is easily spotted thanks to a public house on the corner – once the White Hart and renamed the Longleat Tavern. From the there the road narrows in places so take it easy and bear in mind that arrivals at this site are from 1pm. Check out our Site Arrival video below to show the route in.

Right, to the site itself. There is a Late Night Arrivals area with space for two units on the left as you drive in and a small parking area for visitors on the right. New arrivals keep to the left and pull up outside the reception and shop to the left. Entry and exit through the barriers is by key fob issued once you have selected your pitch.

The site is open from roughly the middle of March to the first week in January and welcomes tents and non-members although the latter will pay a pitch supplement (£12/night as of July 2018) as is per usual. Stay more than four nights and it’s worth joining though ( £51/year as of July 2018) as you’ll save the membership fee by not paying the supplement.

Longleat is one of the larger sites on the network with 164 pitches, 151 of which are hardstanding, and 6 additional pitches for tents. It’s a mature site having been on the club network since around 1986 with plenty of trees providing shade – much sought after during our stay – and it’s been designed so it doesn’t feel or look too big, particularly to the left of the site. It wasn’t busy during our stay admittedly but it never seemed cramped – pitches are nice and wide and there is plenty of room for the car to sit alongside your caravan even with an awning up.

The usual club’s service point for your water/waste/rubbish and recycling are dotted around the site and there are two motorhome service points, one of which is – in my opinion – very handily placed just after the barriers. I don’t have a motorhome but it seems a sensible place to put one – you get to fill your water tank without going on a tour of the site – ditto with emptying the waste water when you leave.

In addition to the two facilities blocks there is a third comprising of the information room, wash up area, laundry room, baby & toddler room and two unisex toilets. It was nice to see lowered sinks in both the laundry and wash up areas for wheelchair users.

To the back of this block there is also a family room. In here is a pool table, table tennis table and large screen tv with plenty of charge. Outside is the Family Area with picnic tables, a large chessboard and boules pitch, all the equipment for which can be borrowed from reception.

Four legged friends are catered for with access to the exercise area between pitches 29/30. The first section is open to the road so obviously dogs must be kept on a lead here but another gates leads to an area in which they can run free safely.

For kids there is a play area with climbing frames and so on towards the right hand corner of the site behind pitch 99. Check out our Site Tour () video for a look around.

Whilst the obvious draw here is Longleat Safari Park and rightly so, it’s not compulsory and there is plenty to keep you occupied if you have a few days spare as we found during our stay.

Nearest is Heavens Gate – follow the signs to Longleat but carry on past the entrance and up the hill. Immediately after the Spa resort on your left is a free car park. Cross the road and a fifteen minutes walk or so takes you through lovely woodland to a terrific view of the Longleat estate. A cracking spot to read, picnic or just take in the view.

The towns or Warminster and Frome are close by. Frome is perhaps more of interest to the tourist and we had a pleasant couple of hours following a Treasure Trail  and learning a bit about the town in the process. It’s quite hilly though in places so be prepared. Your nearest supermarket to the site – an Asda, complete with petrol station – is on the outskirts.

In nearby Westbury you can view the famous White Horse, follow the B3098 Bratton Road for one of the best view points. Continue up the Bratton Road and you can walk to the White Horse itself but even staying by the road there are some lovely views of Wiltshire to be had.

Another recommendation and one I’m happy to pass on is Shearwater Lake – about a 15 minute drive from the site just off the A350. A popular spot to fish, walk or even run, a cafe by the entrance is a handy place to refuel after such exertions.

Trowbridge is handy if retail parks are your thing but a bit further on is Bradford-on-Avon, real picture postcard stuff – the view of the town across the river as you arrive from the south is gorgeous.

Further afield and around half an hour away is Lacock Village & Abbey, under the stewardship of the National Trust although the village is free to walk around anyway. Just try and imagine it without the cars and it’s beautiful. There’s plenty of opportunities here to rest and refuel.

Lacock is where, in August 1835 a chap by the name of William Henry Fox Talbot captured the world’s first photographic negative – of a window at his home – the abbey. More recently it has been used for a number of films including Harry Potter.

There was no pub within walking distance of the site – unless you’re really keen – but the Royal Oak served up a nice Hunters Chicken and Gammon on our visit. Two other pubs we visited – the Horse & Groom  and Cross Keys  were both community run and very well patronised. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Site Arrival

Site Tour

Storing your ‘van for winter

camper covered snow in winter

Most devotees of caravan breaks love talking about the spring, summer and autumn. That’s because these are all seasons most of us would like to think we can get out and about in.

By contrast, mention winter and many owners flinch. For many of us, it’s a time of year for securing our caravans and saying goodbye to them until the better weather arrives again in spring.

However, it’s important to take winter seriously and think about what it might mean in terms of risks to our caravans. There are important things to consider when you are quietly bedding your caravan down for the worst of the weather.

Storage

No responsible caravan owner should seriously consider “do nothing” as a viable option here.

In the British Isles, winter tends to bring violent storms more often than bitterly cold and snowy weather, with all the risks that high winds and excessive rain can mean for a caravan.

So it’s important that your vehicle isn’t just parked up somewhere and then ignored for several months.

The exact steps you might choose to take with a given caravan depend a lot upon your individual situation. It may be that you have extensive land and sheltered ground which is ideal for longer-term storage of your caravan. Remember though that under local planning laws, simply parking it longer-term on your driveway might not be acceptable to the authorities (and possibly not your neighbours either).

It’s also important to take certain systematic close-down steps relating to the shutting off of various supplies and electrical systems. The exact nature of those will typically be specified in your owner’s manual.

It’s also only sensible to remove any portable valuables you have in the vehicle. Examples that come to mind might include electronic equipment and any higher-value appliances, providing that they can be easily removed.

Some of these steps may be formally stated requirements of some touring caravan insurance policies.

Professional storage

Ideally, your caravan should be stored somewhere that is as insulated as possible from the elements and also subject to security surveillance.

There are such special sites and here at Cover4Caravans, we will be pleased to offer a discount of up to 15% on your touring caravan insurance if you choose such a CaSSOA-approved site over the wintertime.

Periodic checks

Even if your caravan is professionally stored, it’s a good idea to try and periodically check it out to make sure that all is well. You might spot tiny problems, perhaps weather related, then nip them in the bud before they become something more serious.

It might only consume a relatively small amount of time on an infrequent basis but it could prevent a lot of heartache when you retrieve your caravan ready and eager for the first journeys in spring.

Summary

In fact, for many caravanners, winter is no longer a no-go time.

There are plenty of opportunities out there for you to use your caravan through the wintertime and that brings with it a number of advantages including quieter sites and tourist attractions.

However, if like many, you still prefer to consider winter as your shutdown period as far as caravanning is concerned, do take a little time to plan how to secure your vehicle.

We’re here to offer advice and help as required in terms of your options.

Further reading: Guide to Caravan Storage and Security