Static homes are just that – they typically serve as a holiday or second home and are pitched for the long-term on a purpose designed park or caravan site.
They are not generally intended for caravans in use as places of permanent residence and many may close for certain months of the year – typically, out of season.
The caravan park
The terms under which the caravan occupies its pitch in the park are typically set out in an agreement between the owners or managers of the park and the owner of the holiday home. Essentially, this agreement describes the terms and conditions under which the static caravan owner rents or leases the pitch in question – it is also known as a licence agreement.
Although no written contract is required by law, the principal organisations representing owners of static caravan homes – the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BHHPA) and the National Caravan Council – have devised a code of practice under which such home owners are entitled to a licence agreement in writing.
The code of practice also focuses on how the length of the licence agreement may be determined and any restrictions or conditions relating to the sale of a static caravan on the park in question.
The code also provides for procedures relating to complaints about park owners and managers and to the arbitration of any such disputes.
Static caravan insurance
Many owners of static caravans may feel they have been pressured by the park owners into buying insurance from a provider nominated by themselves. Generally speaking, there is no such compulsion, so you might want to stand your ground and insist on buying insurance from an independent, specialist provider.
Here at Cover4Caravans, for instance, we recognise the apparent attraction of the cheapest possible insurance quote. But we are also of the view that good value insurance is instead a question of securing the benefits you require at a competitive price – which calls for finer judgement than simply a rock bottom price.
Although the debate continues about choosing insurance offered by the park owners or by an independent provider, the lease agreement may nevertheless insist on owners furnishing some proof of insurance. The principal reasons for park owners requiring such proof are covered by a contribution to a discussion on the Static Caravan Information Service(SCIS) website.
Public liability insurance
By far the most compelling reason – as far as the park owners are concerned – for insisting on caravan insurance is for the protection of other caravan owners on the site, their visitors and members of the public.
This element of protection is afforded by the public liability cover which is typically an important component of insurance for static caravans.
This gives you indemnity for any claims arising from your neighbours, visitors or members of the public that, as a result of your negligence or breach of your duty of care they have suffered personal injury or had their property damaged. In that event, your insurance is there to ensure that any such injured party is adequately compensated.
For your own good
Protection against third party claims is in the interest of the park owners, but for your own good too – claims from such quarters may be very substantial and in the absence of any insurance you may be held personally liable for the payment of compensation.
If you intend to let your holiday home to other people when you are not using it, public liability insurance is again an essential form of protection from claims made by such temporary tenants or their visitors who allege your negligence in causing personal injury to them or damage to their property.
Public liability insurance is not the only element of static caravan cover that is likely to provide invaluable protection. Other elements typically include:
- safeguarding the structure of the caravan itself from such potentially catastrophic events as fire, flooding, impacts, vandalism and theft;
- cover for the contents of your holiday home;
- an optional extra offered by some policies might extend to emergency accommodation in the event of your static caravan being destroyed or rendered unusable by a major insured incident;
- if you are moving your caravan onto the site or relocating it to an alternative park, you might also want to ensure that you and the transport company have sufficient goods in transit insurance to safeguard your investment whilst it is on the road.
When considering these wider aspects of cover for your static caravan, you might want to bear in mind that lower premiums may be on offer the greater your attention to matters of security – whether through fire and intruder alarms or through the particular security arrangements provided by your chosen park.
Your insurer is also entitled to rely upon your taking all reasonable steps to mitigate any loss or damage – especially during those times when your holiday home is vacant or unoccupied.