Whenever you are arranging insurance, your principal goals are likely to include securing the cover and protection you need but at as competitive a price as possible. You are unlikely to be looking for the cheapest cover, but the cover that offers what you consider is the best value for money.
With that objective in mind, let’s take a closer look at:
- considerations when buying caravan insurance;
- some of the ways you might reduce your caravan premiums;
- whether cheap always means the best; and
- how an independent insurance broker can not only help you find suitable caravan insurance cover but insurance that also represents good value for money.
Considerations when choosing caravan insurance cover
It is likely to be your pride and joy, of course, and you have been lavishing on it the love and care that your caravan deserves. You might even have made some improvements to your ‘van, such as installing a new kitchen area, for example.
That increase in value needs to be reflected in the total sum for which your caravan is insured – failure to update the sum insured could mean that in the event of a claim, any settlement is insufficient to make the necessary repairs or to replace your losses.
Reducing your caravan insurance premiums
The following are some of the ways you might want to consider for reducing the cost of your caravan insurance premiums:
- an excess is the first part of any successful claim that you are liable for. Your insurance provider will set a compulsory excess;
- but you may be able to save money on the cost of insurance premiums – by accepting a higher, voluntary excess in addition to the compulsory amount;
- remember, though, that in the event of any claim, you may need to pay not only the cost of any compulsory excess but any voluntary excess you have also agreed to accept;
- where do you intend to store your caravan when the days grow shorter, and the next winter closes in – it’s worth giving it some thought now;
- you could save money on the cost of your insurance premiums if you exchange the relative insecurity of parking up in your driveway for one of the purpose-designed, secure storage sites registered with the Caravan Storage Site Owners Association (CaSSOA);
- there are some 400 or so registered sites around the country, and each one has been independently assessed and ranked according to the level of security offered to your caravan whilst it is in storage;
- this enhanced degree of security may be recognised by insurers – including ourselves here at Cover4Caravans – who offer discounts from 5%-20% on the cost of your tourer cover if you store your ‘van at a CaSSOA-approved site;
- watch our Caravan and Storage video here for more information;
- storage is not the only time when your caravan needs to be kept safe and secure;
- as with any general insurance contract, you have a responsibility for taking every reasonable precaution for mitigating the risk of loss or damage – a principle founded on the concept of your caring for the insured property as though there was no insurance protecting it;
- nevertheless, you may decide to go over and above these basic standards to enhance the security measures you have taken – fitting intruder alarms and deadbolts on doors and windows, for instance;
- you may find that the closer attention you pay to security measures such as these, the more likely is your insurer prepared to offer a competitive rate for your premiums.
Many things may change from one year to the next. It is important when arranging or renewing your caravan insurance, therefore, that you take these changes on board in order to make sure you still have the most appropriate cover.
When cheap caravan insurance is not always the best insurance
A cheap caravan insurance policy may not always be the best.
If you are looking to reduce your caravan insurance premiums, there might seem a compelling argument for making the simplest and most straight forward move – by choosing the policy offering the cheapest premiums.
Before going into the ins and outs of cheap touring caravan insurance, though, it’s important to remember one golden rule – whatever you consider to be the best and cheapest caravan insurance may not be so for someone else – it is a personal thing, and no one size fits all. What might suit you the best may not meet the needs and requirements of your neighbour.
The caravan insurance you need is almost always the cover that is particular to your individual requirements and circumstances. So, it may be quite different to the cover needed by your neighbour, for example – irrespective of the price you pay.
Finding insurance that is suitable for your own needs and circumstances, therefore, is more likely to be a question of what you consider is good value for money, offering the protection your caravan needs, rather than its absolute price.
Keep that in mind while you search for touring caravan insurance that is both competitively priced and represents good value for money – so, shop around.
Whenever you are looking for good value for money for any kind of product or service, you are likely to start shopping around – starting by comparing prices between one supplier and another. Once again, however, when shopping around like this, it is important to keep in mind exactly what cover you need and take this firmly into account when comparing prices.
One of the most common difficulties may be that some touring caravan insurance policies include as standard elements of cover which you do not really need and exclude others that you do – there may be a gap between what you want and what seems to be available on the insurance market.
Consult an expert
Working out the cover you need and then matching your individual requirements to the products available might prove considerably more difficult than it seems. Even deciding on the appropriate level, scope and nature of the touring caravan insurance which might be suitable for you may be difficult. Subsequently trawling through the many insurers which seem to offer something approaching your needs becomes more difficult still.
There is a simple solution to this conundrum – and that is to consult an expert, like ourselves here at Cover4Caravans, and let us do the searching for you while we match your specific needs and requirements to the touring caravan insurance policies available.
That is our mission as an independent caravan insurance broker.
Why using a caravan insurance broker may save you money
Here are just some of the advantages and benefits you may enjoy by consulting a caravan insurance broker – you might want to read them against the declared aims of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) on the ways brokers help consumers and businesses:
Get a wider choice of policies
- a broker typically will be able to provide more choice when you are looking for a policy – a broker usually has a range of different options, and he or she could help you to choose between them;
- having more choice means some policies are likely to be less expensive than others, so this is a possible way to reduce your costs;
- while at first glance a comparison website may seem to be a good idea, the downsides are that not all caravan insurers are listed on these sites (so you may not get the full picture of what is available);
- plus, when you initially enter your product requirements, the results may show a ballpark figure and if you then decide to go with one provider, you may need to re-key in the details in order to get a “proper” quote and also find that the price differs;
Specialist cover may be available
- because brokers tend to specialise in certain types of insurance cover, typically they have long-established relationships with the various insurers, meaning they can match you to the most appropriate policy;
- they can also access deals that may not be available on comparison websites;
- a broker can often find cover that is more suitable according to your specific needs, and this may help you to get the protection your caravan needs for a lower price;
Go beyond the premium
- a broker may be able to alert you to other ways you could save money – for example, if a policy is tempting because it is less expensive, a broker may point out how it could end up costing you more in the event of a claim, perhaps because it does not cover something essential to your needs;
- alternatively, a broker may be able to recommend a policy that provides discounts for certain circumstances – if you store your caravan at a previously mentioned CaSSOA-approved site, for example, membership of a recognised caravan club, or even discounts that reflect your experience as a caravan owner;
Simplify the process
- buying from a broker is typically made easy;
- at Cover4Caravans, for example, we aim to make it as simple as possible, whether you buy online or over the phone – and if you don’t know what you want or need, simply give us a call and we will talk you through your options;
Get expert advice
- brokers are experts in the insurance products they arrange, and they are there to provide advice and answer questions;
- if you have any questions about any aspect of insurance, they will be able to help you so that you can make a more informed decision;
Enjoy peace of mind
- by going through a specialist rather than buying insurance alone, you may be able to enjoy more peace of mind because you know that you have cover that protects you in precisely the way you expected to be protected;
- a broker can ensure that the policy covers all your needs so you are less likely to find any nasty surprises should you need to make a claim.
Find your insurance today
A broker may be a suitable option for all of the above reasons. However, you should go with what seems the most appropriate option for you. Whichever way you buy your insurance, make sure you are properly covered – you can then enjoy spending time in your caravan knowing you are fully protected.
There’s good news and some less good news making the headlines in recent days, as interest in caravans and camping surges to the fore in the country’s mass release from many of the recent Covid restrictions.
Here are some of the caravan news stories that caught our eye.
Swift Group upbeat for the future
Like many other manufacturing companies, caravan maker the Swift Group recorded significant financial losses in 2020 because of successive pandemic lockdowns.
Despite this, the Swift Group now confidently looks forward to a resurgence in its fortunes thanks to the current passion for staycations in Britain.
An article in Practical Caravan last week revealed that the company sustained pre-tax losses of £7.3 million (compared with profits of £9.6 million only the year before). It closed down its manufacturing plant in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, halted production completely in the final half of the year and, received £9.5 million from the government furlough scheme.
Swift is now looking forward to a rosier future, its order books are once again strong, and it will make the most of having rebalanced its “supply and demand dynamic”, said the company.
Caravan and camping updates in the UK
It’s all systems go today for self-catering holidays in the UK – and that, of course, includes caravan and camping in particular.
As particular sites and parks reopen for business, some social distancing restrictions will remain, with the effect that certain facilities and amenities stay closed, as described in a story by the Express newspaper on the 6th of April.
Citing advice from the Camping and Caravanning Club, the newspaper also notes that caravan and campsites in Wales have already opened for those who live in the principality but that a reopening for visitors from the remainder of the UK is expected soon.
The situation with respect to caravan and campsites in Scotland and Northern Ireland remains a little unclear, with restrictions in Northern Ireland expected to remain in place until at least today. It will not be until at least the 26th of April that sites in Scotland reopen.
Caravan shortage hits parks ahead of predicted staycation surge
It’s all very well the domestic tourism industry looking forward with enthusiasm to an upsurge in demand for staycations in Britain, but what if there are not enough caravans to go around to the country’s many parks, resorts, and caravan sites?
That is the challenge exposed in a story published by the Hull Daily Mail on the 26th of March.
Factory closures or the imposition of strict social distancing requirements have meant that caravan production has slumped and uncertainties over Brexit have disrupted former supply chains for raw materials and components.
Although the owners are preparing for this year’s surge in staycationers and have placed their orders for new caravans, they are concerned whether their orders will be fulfilled.
Man who bought caravan on eBay is scammed
On the 10th of March, the Liverpool Echo recounted the sad tale of a local man who had paid £9,200 for a caravan in which he could take his 10-year-old autistic daughter on holiday.
Despite having paid over that amount for the purchase on eBay, however, the seller – identified as “redchelle14” – failed to deliver the caravan he had bought.
There is still no sign of the caravan he bought, and eBay has said only that they are “taking action” against the scammer.
It must be all that open air and the freedom of the outdoor life, but, by and large, the average touring caravan owner turns out to be a pretty fit and healthy individual.
Combine the outdoor life with a spot of cycling on the bike you’ve managed to stow in your caravan, and you can enjoy the fresh air, new sights and sounds! Great for you physically and mentally.
With your thoughts turned to the fitness benefits of cycling, you might also want to consider a whole range of activities in which you can engage while out and about with your caravan. You might even want to pay some attention to maintaining a healthy environment inside your caravan.
Let’s take a closer look at caravanning, biking, other fitness routines, and how to stay just as fit and healthy indoors as out.
- it is a well-established fact that cycling helps to keep you fit – providers BMI Healthcare have listed at least ten ways in which cycling can benefit your physical and mental wellbeing;
- if you are a caravan owner, cycling can also widen the radius of your adventures and bring even more fun to your forays from the caravan site you might have chosen;
- if you are not averse to cheating just a tad, you might even consider an electronically powered bike – it might take away a lot of the effort, but just think of all that fresh air you get to enjoy;
- However, that said, an electronic bike might not be the labour-saving cop-out you might think it to be – as the website MiRider suggests, think of the electric motor offering a helping hand rather than taking over completely. You still need to pedal – just less so. You get more power with less perspiration. You can read our article Choosing an electric bike for more information;
- the only investment required for keeping fit through plenty of countryside walking is in a good pair of hiking boots;
- the exercise is free, and the UK offers a whole host of caravan sites from which you can set forth in order to enjoy the country’s green and pleasant land – the Caravan and Motorhome Club even has a guide to those caravan sites likely to offer the best opportunities for walking;
Running in tune to the dawn chorus
- if you are feeling more energetic and want to do your exercise to the accompaniment of the birds’ dawn chorus, you need only don your running shoes and go for a jog around the park or venture out into the early morning countryside;
- there might not be the same rousing call to herald a new day, but running at dusk might also give a welcome endorphin boost before you tuck in at night;
- of course, there are benefits no whatever time of day you choose to run;
- it has fast become something of a craze – and for good reason too – since wild swimming is free and readily found in many different lakes, rivers, and the sea;
- in an island community such as the UK, your caravan site is rarely going to be far from the sea or the rivers emptying into it – so why not join the growing band of wild swimmers;
Pilates and yoga
- pilates and yoga may be ways of keeping not only your body fit but also providing food for your mind and soul;
- just pick up your favourite mat, position it outside your caravan and breathe in the peace, tranquillity, and sheer serenity of Britain at its rural best;
- keeping yourself busy with all these fitness trips is all very well, but unlikely to be any avail if your living quarters let you down on the health front;
- keeping the interior of your caravan clean, tidy, and free of bugs is a must, of course, but there are more insidious threats to health that might slowly build up;
- chief amongst these is the mould which might take hold on the inside of your caravan as a result of poor ventilation and the presence of damp;
- left unchecked, damp and condensation may result in floors and walls simply rotting away;
- the mould that breeds in these conditions generates a pungent and unpleasant smell and carries a veritable “minefield” of risks to your health – and a recent edition of Caravan Talk lists five of the harmful effects of mould and mildew;
- regularly check, therefore, for mould, stains, or bumpy panels – especially if a tell-tale smell is also present;
- a final health and safety warning might also be sounded about fire hazards and the use of bottled gas within the confines of a touring caravan;
- fire safety precautions may not need a great deal of rehearsing – but are no less important for all that – while poorly maintained or ill-ventilated gas appliances may lead to a build-up of lethal carbon dioxide.
Have (an electric) bike, and you might well travel in style and precious little effort in helping yourself to keep fit. But there are many other ways of staying healthy while enjoying your touring caravan outings too.
Continue working on keeping yourself fit in the great outdoors, and remember that it is equally important to maintain a safe and healthy environment inside your caravan.
Further reading: Portable exercise equipment for your caravan
If you are new to caravanning – perhaps the successive lockdowns have highlighted the benefits of having your own ‘van so you can “staycation” – you may wonder what the different pitch types are. You may wonder- what are you going to find when you arrive at the caravan site? If you’ve not been caravanning before, you might have very little idea about just what to expect.
This brief blog is intended to help by filling in the details about some of the most common arrangements that may be available.
Your caravan pitch
You have chosen your touring site with care, but the pitch you choose is almost as critical as the location of the site itself – especially during inclement weather or if you are planning to spend a lot of time in and around the caravan while you are there.
At the time of booking, you are likely to be offered the type of pitch – and will probably pay the pitch fees according to the standard of the associated facilities. Different sites may categorise their pitches differently but a good place to start is the range of options offered at Caravan and Motorhome Club sites:
- once upon a time, of course, you would have had little option but to pitch your caravan on a patch of grass, with no facilities immediately nearby, but the toilet block across the field;
- grass pitches continue to be used for fine-weather caravanning today;
- you might regard them as the economy option in choosing your caravan pitch;
Mixed, multi-surface pitch
- pay a little more for your pitch and you get hardstanding on which you park your caravan and an area of grass alongside it – which you might use as part of the pitch covered by your caravan awning;
- these pitches are almost certain to offer shared electric hook-up;
- as a discussion thread on the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s website reveals, there is probably no hard and fast rule on the standards offered by a standard pitch – although practically every touring site you see listed will offer what it designates as standard pitches;
- as the slightly catchall term suggests, these pitches can be on either grass or hardstanding and may or may not have an electric hook-up or offer a shared connection point;
- standard pitches might sometimes offer space over which to erect your caravan awning – but others may not. When booking your spot, if you are going to use an awning, make sure you select a pitch that mentions awnings or says something like pitch with awning;
- by paying an additional pitch fee premium, you may be able to get still more space around the berth for your caravan on an all-weather hardstanding, a grassed area for your awning, and electric hook-up – with some sites offering drinking water standpipe, greywater disposal point, and extra amenities such as picnic tables and built-in barbeques;
- note that where extra facilities are available, you may need your own equipment too – e.g. an Aquaroll mains water adapter kit/float valve, a mains water connection, and a drain adapter;
- you are also likely to see reference to serviced pitches offered by the larger and sites;
- typically, these offer an all-weather surface on which to pitch your caravan, electric hook-up, drinking water connection, and waste- or greywater outlet;
- super pitches are likely to be just that – offering all the facilities and connections for your caravan that you can imagine;
- that includes an all-weather pitch, electric hook-up, drinking water, wastewater and chemical toilet disposal outlet, connection to a TV aerial booster, and hedging around your pitch to ensure a greater sense of privacy.
As you can see, therefore, caravan pitches may come in all shapes and sizes, offering a range of facilities from the simplest open patch of grass to those on hardstanding and connections to all manner of services.
You’ll get what you pay for, of course, so be certain to choose the type of pitch most likely to suit your needs when you make your booking.
Before you so much as consider buying a park home, it is essential that you are certain how you intend to use it.
Residential park home or static holiday home?
For many, a park home means a mobile home or static caravan in which you can live the whole year round – it is your permanent, residential home. For others, a park home may be a static caravan that is berthed at a holiday park which has rules prohibiting permanent occupation and limiting your stay to certain months of the year – it is your holiday home.
The distinction in your intended use is critical in choosing not only the type of park home you buy but also where it can be berthed, because of the different local authority licensing requirements of the two types of caravan park.
The government website makes clear that every caravan park needs an operating licence from the local authority. If the park permits caravans for residential use – as your permanent home, in other words, the local authority also needs to have given the relevant planning permission and you could be forced off your site if you are found to be living there permanently when the park does not have the relevant planning permission.
So, ask the specific question about the kind of licence held by any caravan park in which you might be interested. The relevant local authority, of course, will have the details but you may also want to investigate the matter further through the websites of the National Caravan Council (NCC) or British Holiday & Home Parks Association.
With that critical question answered about how you intend to use your park home – as a residence or holiday home – here are some of the additional questions you might want to ask about any caravan site before you go ahead and buy a park home there:
Has the site experienced any problems with flooding or storm damage?
- you should definitely ask this question, and not only for your own peace of mind;
- whether the site has experienced flooding or storm damage could affect your insurance premium
- your insurance provider may ask about flooding and storm damage when providing park home insurance quotes, so make sure you find out – all you need is the postcode to check the government’s Flood Warning Service about past and current threats;
How much are the pitch fees?
- this is one of the most important questions – sometimes it is easy to only think about the cost of the actual park home, but your ongoing monthly or annual budget is also an important consideration;
- as well as asking about the fees, ask about any previous increases in charges and whether there are likely to be any further increases in the near future;
Are static caravan insurance and park home insurance the same?
Definitely not. Park home insurance covers a residential park home that you permanently live in. Static home insurance covers a static caravan that is used as a holiday or second home.
While there may be some shared elements of cover, they are two both very different products covering different risks. It is crucial you get the “correct” cover for your park home or static caravan.
Failure to do so could see any future claim you make declined.
What security features are available at the park?
- you may want to ask if theft has been a problem at the park and what security features, if any, they have in place – many park homes sites have a 24-hour warden;
- once again, this is not just for your own peace of mind, but also for insurance purposes because it may affect your premium;
How are gas and electricity supplied?
- you may be able to arrange your utilities directly with the suppliers, but alternatively, you may have to buy your energy and water through the park’s management;
- if it is the latter, it means that you may not be able to switch suppliers, even if you find a cheaper deal elsewhere;
Can I bring my pet?
- this will clearly only apply if you have pets, but if you do then it will be a matter of critical concern;
What are the age restrictions, if any?
- if you have children, this is also going to be an important concern, as typically, some of these parks are aimed at the over 50 age group, whose children have already left home;
- however, you may want to invite your grandchildren to stay at some point – ask the relevant questions since different sites have different rules.
Get the answers you are looking for
These are common questions that you may want to find answers to before you buy a park home. It is likely to be a large investment that you will be making, so it is important to be completely comfortable before you make a decision.
Use these questions to narrow down your search for your perfect park home, and then start looking for a suitable place to live.