Is your static home looking a little tired and in need of a refresh? Then here are some ideas on how to spruce up your static home on a budget.
The static caravan that makes your home away from home is unlikely to be anything as large as the place in which you live. Therefore, you can forget about those major building works to create an extension or loft conversion and narrow your sights to more modest changes – by thinking small, you might be able to make the biggest and most eye-catching changes in creating a second home that looks brand new.
So, let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you might spruce up your static caravan.
See for yourself
Of course you want to put your own individual touches and character to any improvements and modifications to your caravan, but that doesn’t mean you are unable to take a leaf or two from other owners’ books.
Take a look around, therefore, and pay closer attention to what seems to work and what might be best avoided as far as your own project is concerned. If any lessons have already been learnt by your neighbours, there is no point in your repeating any of their costly mistakes.
Going it alone
Some modifications and improvements you might be able to take on yourself, but there may be other elements on which a more professional input might be helpful. In other words, don’t be afraid to ask for that help. It might be a question of knowing your own limits.
There are plenty of companies skilled in the maintenance and repair of static caravans. You can look online at directories to find someone near you.
Even for those jobs you may be taking on yourself, suppliers such as these may be useful sources for ideas, tips and suggestions.
It is the exterior of your caravan of course which is the face presented for the world to see.
Across your holiday park you are likely to see identically built holiday homes of a similar appearance, largely down to the fact that the majority of them have an aluminium exterior.
It is relatively easy to reclad your static home in vinyl, however, to completely transform its general appearance – as well as increasing its insulation and weather-proofing.
Recladding might have served only to highlight the generally poor state of repair and dated look of your doors and windows. Although these might of course be replaced – to highlight the makeover – it is a job that you might want to leave to the professionals.
Remember, tackling the exterior may prove more difficult and needs to be handled with particular care, given the nature of a static caravan and its need to remain completely weather-proofed.
On the inside
It is inside your holiday home that some of the most exciting challenges might be faced and the biggest changes made to reviving the look and feel of the place.
It is in the very nature of a static caravan and the way that it was designed and built that it comes with mainly fitted equipment, furniture and units.
Replacing these need not prove too expensive a project, however, and new kitchen cupboards and work surfaces are likely to create an immediate change in the interior environment.
Because of the relatively smaller interior of a static caravan, the flooring and passageways tend to take heavier than normal traffic, with the result that they more quickly appear tired and worn
New flooring – using lino, carpets or modern laminates – may transform the appearance and give fresh life underfoot. It is a job that is unlikely to be beyond the means of a reasonably competent DIY enthusiast.
Soft furnishings – from curtains, to cushions, furniture and upholstery – provide probably the fertile ground for pimping your holiday home. New textures, fabrics and colours may be used imaginatively and creatively to produce an entirely new look inside the caravan. In many instances, quite dramatic makeovers may be made with very little effort or expenditure, yet create a brand new, eye-catching and homely feel to the whole of the interior.
Here are some tips …
Clean and repair
As a first step, make sure to thoroughly clean and repair the interior of your caravan to sort out just what needs replacing, what can be kept, and what can be spruced up. This provides your starting point and the likely budget you need to make the changes you want to achieve.
Check for evidence of damp and mould and make sure to tackle that before tackling anything else. When you are satisfied they are clear, a lick of paint in fresh new colours might transform the appearance and make your static home feel airy and fresh.
Strapped for space?
There are still options! For example, a significant amount of space in a static caravan is typically wasted, being empty air at or around shoulder and head height etc.
You may be able to create additional storage space and free up floor space by putting in some additional wall cabinets, removing items from floor level and thereby making space for additional seating or decorative items etc.
It might also be a good idea to think about purchasing furniture that doubles up as storage areas – i.e. seats that lift and have hollow spaces underneath. There are some great new storage solutions for ‘vans around that may help you maximise your space.
Whatever the layout of the interior of your static caravan, one of the first impressions is likely to be given by the state of the floor. A static caravan is likely to have far less floor area than your own home, so the area that needs to be covered is unlikely to be huge, so your budget might even extend to completely renewing your floor coverings
Where areas have become scuffed or worn, an inexpensive way of sprucing them up is to lay second-hand carpet tiles in the living areas or self-adhesive vinyl tiles in the kitchen and bathroom.
The really good news here is that things such as lino floor tiles (and similar) are now really very affordable and they’re typically far better quality than those available just a few years ago. It’s perhaps worth spending a little more than the absolute minimum here in order to get more durable flooring if you can afford to do so but even if you do, the costs are not likely to be prohibitive.
If you are interested in producing a look that reflects current trends, some online research is likely to pay dividends – so look through the caravan club websites, Pinterest and Instagram for some illustrated ideas.
Careful research is also likely to pay off if you want to retrofit your static caravan to achieve a more classic look – charity shops and car boot sales offer ideal place to rummage in search of old pictures, their frames and classic, retro fabrics.
Don’t forget that it is sometimes possible to obtain nearly new items at a very low cost by purchasing them at public auctions etc.
You may also be amazed at how things can be improved by simply a light sanding down and a coat of new paint or varnish.
Keep an eye open also for liquidations and stock clearances – they are often good sources for new furnishings at knockdown prices.
New cushions and upholstery
You don’t need to rush to a designer boutique in order to secure some very good quality and highly attractive slip-on upholstery. The same is true for cushions, both in terms of upholstery and their internals.
Changing your colour scheme and replacing those tired furnishings can make an immediate and major positive impact on your surroundings.
A fresh, new look may be created by making your own curtains and scattering around a few handmade cushions to give the interior more comfort and interest. Yes, curtain fabric can be breathtakingly expensive at times but you may wish to check on the internet for off-cuts. Remember that today you may be able to bring fabric in from overseas for a fraction of the cost it may be available for in UK retail outlets – and that includes taking into account the shipping costs!
You can make your own cushions by buying inexpensive foam and fillings from a local trader and sewing together fabric remnants and material to make the coverings.
Tastes and fashions in decorative items change over time. True, most of us probably can’t afford to follow fashion to the extent that we change all our decorative possessions every other season but even so, it might be time for a new look.
Whatever your tastes are, modest decorative items are usually available for relatively small amounts of money from retailers and perhaps even less from boot sales etc. They can make a huge difference to how your room looks. Don’t forget, you may be able to sell the old ones to contribute towards the cost of replacement.
Modern LED systems are not only highly energy-efficient but today are also often set in mountings in stunningly attractive styles.
Replacing those old lights and suspensions and replacing them with more up-to-date versions will make an immediate positive impact on your décor.
In passing, some of those old annoying features of LED lighting, such as waiting for several minutes after switching on for them to “warm up” and deliver light, are now the stuff of history. The modern ones are superb and it’s worth checking them out.
It’s possible for shower rooms and bathrooms to also start to suddenly look very dated.
In reality, completely ripping out your existing shower and replacing it with state-of-the-art systems is likely to be expensive.
Give these areas a thorough clean – clean the grout and remove any mould. Replace the showerhead (you can buy more eco-friendly shower heads for around £20).
Then by simply adding in a few extras such as towel racks, dispensers and stylish WC seats, you can transform the look and feel of this area for relatively small sums.
Pimping your static home on a budget
The realisation that the internals of your static home are looking rather “yesterday” can be painful. However, as this article has hopefully shown, with a little effort, some ingenuity and not a lot of money, you may be able to do something about that – and relatively quickly.
Finally, although the changes you have made might seem relatively small and generally inexpensive when taken one at a time, the overall expenditure and effect may be to significantly increase the value of your static caravan. So, when the pimping is done, don’t forget contact us here at Cover4Caravans to consider a re-valuation of the sum insured amount for your static home if required.
Believe it or not, there are some misguided folk who think that caravanners are a pretty staid lot who love nothing better than pitching their van only to spend the next two weeks sitting in the deck chairs under its awning and doing precious little else.
We have news for them – there are also great caravan adventure holidays, packed with as much fun, excitement and adrenaline as anyone might want.
Let’s take a look at just a few ideas that might have you scuttling to stow those deck chairs firmly away – to increase your heart-rate and give your limbs a workout.
You’ve seen the TV shows – now how about discovering your inner Bear Grylls?
Forest Holidays offer basic and extended survival courses in the company of your own personal Forest Ranger who will teach you about some of the skills you may need to survive in the wild – from building a shelter, lighting a fire without matches, brewing up your pine needle tea and foraging for other forms of sustenance.
The courses are run in some of Britain’s more remote forests and glens – from Ardgartan Argyll to Thorpe Forest, and including Cropton, Deerpark, Blackwood Forest, the Forest of Dean, Keldy, Sherwood Forest, and Strathyre.
There are touring caravan sites close to all of these sites – if you are planning to survive at Ardgartan, for example, try the Camping and Caravanning Club site at Luss, on the western shores of Loch Lomond, if your choice is Thorpe Forest, you’ll find the Caravan Club’s Thetford Forest Club Site set in the Forestry Commission’s deep woodland.
If it’s a taste of life on the ocean wave you crave, why not consider a training course in driving a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)?
These are high-performance craft, certain to give you a definite adrenaline rush, yet there’ll be room aboard for you, your instructor and the family too.
The Aquasafe Powerboat School offers just such courses and operates out of the yacht haven in Lymington on Hampshire’s south coast. That’s only a stone’s throw from the wooded peace and quiet of the New Forest, so you can spend your days riding the waves in the Solent and retire to your caravan to relax in the evenings.
You’ll find plenty of room at Setthorns Campsite, for example, which has 237 pitches for caravans, motorhomes and tents and is situated in the heart of the New Forest, half-way between Lymington and the Forest town of Lyndhurst.
Ride the surf
Feel like riding the crest of the wave? Have surfboard, will do.
Beginners, intermediates and seasoned surfers alike can all pick a spot practically anywhere along Britain’s seemingly endless coastline.
If it’s the (very slightly) warmer waters you’re after – and why not spoil yourself a little, too – then you might head for the south coast for the excitement and adventure of surfing.
Joss Bay in Kent, for example, is but a short train ride from London but has been a favourite among surfers for more than 40 years. The Joss Bay Surf School caters to all abilities and ages while teaching you to surf or paddleboard – let your next adventure begin.
The award-winning Nethercourt Touring Park near Ramsgate is open all year and might serve as your handy base away from the surf school.
Fistral Beach at Newquay in Cornwall lays claim as the home of British surfing – a boast proudly maintained by the Fistral Beach Surf School.
Pitch your touring caravan at nearby Trevella Park, where a huge range of facilities is offered for the whole family.
Want more ideas? Then read Caravanning for adrenaline junkies – where to go and where to pitch-up in the UK.
Updated 1st August 2019
Introduction: why buy a touring caravan?
There are many reasons for buying a touring caravan – here are just a few of them:
- perhaps the first reason many people give is the simple freedom of being able to travel to holiday in any place you choose at any time staycations are certainly more popular than ever – a study in 2019 showed that more than half of Brits planned to have a staycation);New hyperlink and wording:
- a tourer gives you the chance to explore and discover different parts of the UK or abroad; it gives you the flexibility of enjoying your holidays in a different place each time – unlike a static caravan or second home;
- you are able to pack up and go at a moment’s notice, with a spontaneous decision – even if it is a day or two just locally;
- because many touring caravan sites are in picturesque locations, you might get to enjoy stunning scenery right on your doorstep;
- there is the chance to meet new people from neighbouring caravans or those on the same campsite;
- it may be a sociable way to take a holiday with a group of friends or family, knowing that you are all able to sit around with a glass or two of wine with your meals, without anyone having to drive home afterwards;
- the Camping and Caravanning Club – and several other associations for touring caravan owners – frequently hold rallies and other events in different parts of country, where you may compare notes, swap stories, and make friends with like-minded souls;
- towing your home away from home with you is typically much cheaper than paying for a hotel or bed and breakfast – allowing you to pursue your interests, hobbies or sports around the country;
- the initial cost of a new or second hand touring caravan is generally considered to be an affordable investment;
- there is a wide range of different makes, sizes and models to choose from;
- the return on your investment of course depends on how often you use it, but a touring caravan is more or less permanently ready to hitch up to your car to go;
- rates for storing your touring caravan when it is not in use may be considered to be reasonable and affordable – and may give you the peace of mind of it being kept safe and secure; or you may even be able to keep the caravan parked on your own driveway – provided it is not being used for living in and provided your property has no restrictive covenants preventing such a use of your driveway or garden.
The list of reasons is by no means exhaustive and you may have some others of your own. Whether buying for the first time, or even as a seasoned caravanner buying second hand, however, the actual purchase of the trailer that is likely to suit your and your family’s needs may present a bewildering array of possibilities.
What make and model, for example, is likely to fit the bill? Even when you have homed in on a particular possibility, to what aspects might you pay special attention and consideration? How about the car that you intend to use for towing your tourer – will it be up to the job? And what are some of the most appropriate ways of protecting and looking after your investment?
This Guide will give you some pointers on all of the above, helping you narrow down your choice.
The good news is that there is a huge range of different tourers from which to choose – the less good news, perhaps, is that it may prove quite bewildering choosing the particular make and model that best suits you and your family’s needs, requirements and interests.
It may seem obvious, but this may be the most important rule to keep in mind – you are looking for the tourer that suits your own purposes. However new, imaginative and tastefully designed is the model you are being shown, there is little point in buying it if it fails to meet you and your family’s hopes and expectations.
So, what are likely to be some of the key considerations in making your choice?
The size of tourer you are likely to need is typically determined by the maximum number of people you expect it to sleep – in other words, the number of berths.
This, in turn, is likely to determine the length of the caravan needed to accommodate that number of people. The length might also determine the level of amenities that may be incorporated. In its guide to buying a touring caravan, for example, the Caravan Club points out that in order to make room for its own toilet facilities, the modern caravan needs to be longer than 10ft (3m).
As important as the overall length is the way in which the designers have made optimum use of the space. The layout – and sometimes this is more imaginative and ingenious than others – may make all the difference and may even mean that you may be able to shave off a few feet from the overall length.
The weight of your tourer is likely to be determined by its length and the manufacturer’s choice of construction materials.
Although the weight is going to determine the size and power of the vehicle needed to tow your caravan, bear in mind that this weight might be multiplied several times over if you have packed a lot of kit into it. This is termed the payload allowance and in caravans manufactured since 1999, your caravan’s documentation needs to state the European Standard maximum permissible laden mass (MTPLM).
You may have noticed that some tourers have twin axles rather than the standard single axle. These are likely to be reserved for only the largest caravans which need to support an especially heavy laden weight. In almost every other instance, however, a single axle is perfectly acceptable and makes handling considerably easier.
Principal considerations as far as internal amenities are concerned are likely to focus mainly on the kitchen, shower and loo. The extent to which they are equipped is, of course, largely a matter of taste – and the depth of your pocket – but remember, too, that they all add weight to the trailer you are going to be towing.
The above considerations may already have pointed you in the direction of certain makes and models of tourer. You may already have formed a preference for one manufacturer over another simply through word of mouth or examples you may have seen elsewhere.
When choosing a make, it might be worth reminding yourself once again that the best one is going to be the one that is most appropriate to the individual needs and expectations of you and your family.
Given the relatively long list of considerations that may go into choosing your touring caravan, it may be a good idea to try to test drive a few models and persuade the vendors to let you take a weekend break or two in any of those you are thinking of buying.
Things to check when looking at a caravan
Things you might want to check when looking at any caravan you are thinking of buying are likely to depend on whether it is new or second hand – if it is new, the list may be somewhat shorter or the inspection rather less rigorous than if you are buying second hand.
(Read our short guide to buying a second hand tourer for further information).
Caravan Talk has published a helpful checklist for those about to buy a caravan and the points raised may be useful whether you are buying new or second hand:
- ask to look at it in static mode, set up on site just as you might find it pitched during your holiday;
- check the documentation that comes with it – including proof of ownership or the vendor’s authority to sell;
- check the age of the caravan against that declared in any documentation provided by the Central Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS), the national register for caravan owners, together with any plates or other coding that might indicate the year of manufacture;
- the more documentation you can be shown about the caravan’s history the better. The original handbook and service log, for example, may give a fair clue to it having been looked after by any previous owners;
- when making your external inspection, you are likely to be looking for scratches, bents and other broken surfaces;
- it is also worth taking a close look at all the sealants, taking into account that oil-based sealants may be expected to last 5 years, acrylic 10 years and silicone-based sealants 20 years;
- outside fittings, such as windows, handles, wheels, lights, towing hitch and electrical connections, also need to be inspected carefully;
Chassis and towing gear
- these may prove expensive features to repair, so it repays to check the chassis especially carefully for any signs of corrosion or buckling – bearing in mind that over-enthusiastic use of under-seal might be hiding problems;
- make sure that the hitch moves freely and that the jockey wheel moves freely up and down;
- test the handbrake to make sure that it works effectively;
- on the inside, the principal enemy is likely to be damp in the walls and floor;
- this is the first stage of a rot that may eventually lead to the structure simply falling apart;
- a tell-tale sign is a pervading smell that may mask a host of potential health hazards;
Doors and windows
- just as you did on the outside, check doors and windows are watertight, their hinges are secure and that they open, close and lock properly;
- check any roof vents from the inside and pay attention to any problems causing condensation to form on the inner surfaces of double-glazed windows;
Gas and electrics
- appliances and supply lines need to be thoroughly checked in order to prevent potentially fatal fires or gassing of occupants in future; and
- finally, check all of the fitted equipment, including any fires, water heaters, fridges, cookers and microwaves.
Matching your caravan to your car
Now that you might have your heart firmly set on a particular caravan, you need to match the caravan to your car (or the one you intend to buy) to ensure it is up to the job of towing it. You also need to take into account the rather complicated rules about the weight of the trailer you may tow on your current driving licence.
Your driving licence
The rules are set out in the official government website, which sets out the two possibilities:
- if your licence to drive a car (category B) was first issued after the 1st of January 1997, you are allowed to tow a small trailer weighing no more than 750kg, unless the weight of your caravan and the car you are using to tow it is less than 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM);
- if your licence to drive a car was first issued before the 1st of January 1997 you are allowed to drive a vehicle towing a trailer where the combined weight of the two is up to 8.25 tonnes MAM.
If you want to drive towing combinations in excess of these limits, you may need to pass the separate practical test to gain the “+E” suffix denoting your ability to tow heavier loads.
The caravan and car combination
The same government website also notes the maximum weight of a trailer that may be towed by a car.
This is expressed by the manufacturer as the maximum weight of trailer that the car may tow or is recorded as the vehicle’s gross train weight. Usually, this is stamped into the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate on the car. The gross train weight is the combined weight of the fully loaded trailer and the fully loaded car.
The maximum width of any trailer, such as a caravan, towed by a vehicle weighing up to 5.5 tonnes is 2.55 metres (approximately 8ft 3in), and the maximum length 7 metres (approximately 23ft).
The above limits are the maximum permitted combinations. In practice, of course, most people generally prefer to stay well within the upper limits and do so by following somewhat easier to follow rules of thumb.
Those simpler rules are based on just three basic principles:
- by keeping the weight of the caravan being towed, in relation to the size of the car, the safer the combination is likely to be;
- however much you put in the trailer caravan, its weight must not be greater than the kerbside (unladen) weight of the towing vehicle; and
- the closer you get to the trailer and the vehicle weight being the same, the more careful you need to be when driving the combination.
So what does that mean? At its simplest it means that the lighter the caravan compared to the weight of your car the better. It means that you are more likely to have enough power to overtake other vehicles, climb hills and continue to cruise at optimum speed on motorways.
The RAC has a useful guide to working out towing capacity.
Having settled on the appropriate balance between caravan and towing vehicle, you might also want to ensure that you have fitted to your car the appropriate mirrors to enable you to negotiate all of the hazards you are likely to encounter.
You can read our helpful guide on towing mirrors for more information.
Protecting your caravan
Having found the caravan to satisfy your dreams, matched the car to tow it, spent a fair amount of time and effort to buy it – not to mention the cost of your investment – you probably want to make sure that you are able to protect it the best that you are able.
On this score, one of the most effective means of protection is likely to be insurance.
It might be tempting to think, for example, that the motor insurance you have already arranged for your car is going to cover the risk of loss or damage to any caravan the car is towing.
In reality, your motor insurance is likely to extend only to third party damage caused by your caravan and not to the caravan itself. For the latter, you are likely to need purpose-designed touring caravan insurance. It tends to be a specialist form of insurance about which you might want to consult specialist providers – such as ourselves at Cover4Caravans.
Touring caravans are a special form of insurance risk not only because of the potential for damage to the trailer itself, but also because of the risk of theft of such a mobile piece of property and because of the risk of theft of its contents. Both risks may be covered by the appropriate form of insurance.
Although insurance may be in place, there are still measures you may take to mitigate the risks of loss or damage.
Many insurers, for example, may insist that whenever the caravan is left unattended that a hitchlock is used (if it is still hitched to the towing vehicle) or wheel clamps fitted (if it is not).
Other sensible precautions include paying careful attention to such obvious weak points as windows and doors, by ensuring that they are properly secured when you are away from your caravan for even a short period of time.
For further information, read our Guide to Caravan Storage and Security.
An increasingly widely used security measure is the installation within your caravan of a tracking device. It is purposely unobtrusive and typically hidden within the structure of your caravan, but constantly reports its whereabouts to a central control room – an invaluable service if ever the caravan might be stolen.
When storing your caravan, note that we will provide up to 15% off the cost of your cover if your tourer is stored at a CaSSOA-approved site.
While this is only a brief guide to the considerations you need to make when buying a tourer, we hope it has helped given you some food for thought. Don’t forget to check the rest of our website for further hints and tips.
If you are considering buying a static caravan for the first time, then there are lots of things you need to think about. Here we share some tips on things that you may wish to consider but which are sometimes overlooked in the excitement of selecting the caravan itself!
Choose your site carefully
Your static caravan might be equipped to superstar levels but if it is in a location that is unsuitable for you, there’s a fair chance you are not going to be happy.
This isn’t just a question of trying to avoid sites that overlook that nuclear waste reprocessing facility – sadly it is a little subtler than that!
How far away is the site?
How far is the static caravan from your home? If you are planning on using your static caravan for quick weekends away, you probably won’t want to spend too long in a car getting there. So, check out the route and do a few trial runs at different times, to see how long the journey really takes.
Where is the home on the site?
Is the static caravan in a permanently shaded woodland area? This may be great for hot days, but a bit depressing if it is miserable out.
Is the caravan close to or far from the site’s amenities? This is an important one – if you like being close to everything, you probably won’t want to be at the far end of the site. Similarly, if you are looking for peace and quiet, you may wish to be away from the main activities in a more secluded spot.
Rivers and flooding
A site may be beautifully located but if, for example, you have very young children and there is an open river location, you may find that you spend more of your time worrying and fretting over their safety than enjoying your caravan and surroundings.
Remember that the river or nearby sea may not always be inclined to stay where they’re meant to be – and that may result in disaster for you. Before investing in a static home, check with the environmental agencies to see if your site is prone to flooding.
Who will be using the static home?
Are you planning to use the static home purely for friends and family, or are you thinking about letting it out to holidaymakers? These are two very different scenarios – if the former, then you may be more flexible in where you choose to invest in a static home. If the latter, you may have to think about making sure the site is attractive to holidaymakers, so you may need to think about the location and on-site services differently.
Think about the future
Your caravan and its location may be ideal today but remember to consider:
• do you have any plans to start/expand your family;
• those fields
directly adjacent to your caravan may be beautiful today but do you know whether
or not there are any planning applications going through the system?
Remember your ownership costs
Massively depleting your financial reserves to buy the best caravan you can afford might seem like a good idea but do keep in mind that caravans cost money to maintain from the basic costs such as static caravan insurance, and site fees right up to ongoing maintenance.
It might be
advisable to keep some cash reserves to cope with this and any unexpected
issues that may arise.
Know your site obligations
A caravan site typically has a set of rules and regulations that should be made clear to you before you sign anything.
Don’t make the mistake of writing these off as boring small print, as they may contain conditions For that might cause you some difficulty in future (e.g. banning pets from the site etc).
Read our Guide to buying a static caravan for more information on considerations when investing in a static home.
Some owners of a touring caravan may never bother with a touring insurance review. They may simply automatically renew their cover without checking that is is still relevant.
This article explains the importance of carrying out a review and provides useful tips on finding the most suitable policy for you.
If you are one of them, you may argue that the only time you wish to think about your insurance is at annual renewal time and even then, as little as possible. Advocates of this approach may also be inclined to simply automatically renew their existing policy each year.
It has to be admitted that this is one approach to caravan insurance but serious questions need to be asked as to whether this is necessarily in your best interests.
The fact is that the caravan insurance marketplace rarely sits still for any period of time. New policies are constantly becoming available and caravan cover providers are frequently changing their customer service proposition.
All this simply means is that potentially there may be deals out there that were simply not around when you took out your existing policy and some of them may be suitable for you and possibly more cost-effective than your existing solution.
The cost of caravan insurance
Of course, cost perhaps inevitably comes to the forefront of our thoughts when talking about insuring a tourer. If you select caravan insurance based upon price alone, you may run the risk of ending up with a policy that may appear to be cost-attractive but which is possibly not providing you with the full umbrella of protection that you may need.
That is why sitting down and looking closely at some alternative options to your existing insurance protection may be advisable. Examining a combination of price and the protection provided may help you to do one of things:
- to relax, confident in the knowledge that your existing caravan cover is still satisfactory;
- to appreciate that your existing cover is no longer up to scratch and that it is time to do something about it.
In essence, this is that touring caravan insurance review. It is a periodic systematic review of where you sit in insurance terms and it might be advisable to find a little time to do it a few times a year!
An insurance review might not be exactly your idea of a fun pastime but it just might end up offering you improved protection and at a more attractive price.
If you are looking for insurance for caravans online, at a first glance, policies may appear to be broadly similar to each other.
To really be able to understand some of the potential differences between them, other than the price, you may need to do a little digging beneath the surface and to look at some of the following areas while going through your touring caravan insurance review.
Conditions relating to towing drivers and distances
Some policies may stipulate certain minimum age and experience requirements of any driver towing the caravan. This may be intuitively reasonable but if the policy stipulates certain requirements that you and your family cannot comply with, then it may not be for you.
You may also find limitations imposed relating to how much mileage you may do each year as part of a standard policy’s cover. If you plan to do more, you may need to pay a supplement.
Sites and destinations
Not all policies may allow you to go where you wish to. Some may limit their basic cover to the UK only or they may provide only very limited allowances for continental touring.
There may also be considerable differences between touring caravan insurance policies in terms of where they may allow you to park your caravan overnight when it is in use.
New for old replacement
Your touring caravan insurance review may highlight significant differences between policies in terms of how they approach the subject of new for old caravan replacement.
Some may offer such replacement for caravans up to five years old providing you have been the sole owner from new – others may only offer this for a maximum of three years. You may also find some policies that will offer new for old replacement for caravans up to three years old, even if someone other you previously owned them.
At Cover4Caravans, we offer new for old cover replacement on both statics and tourers up to 5 years old, regardless of the number of owners.
You may find that some policies may insist upon full garaging and secure storage of your caravan over winter, some (such as ourselves) may offer you financial incentives in the form of discounts for doing so and yet others that may have no such requirement.
Whatever proves to be suitable for you may vary depending on your situation but it is an area worth looking at.
Getting the most suitable insurance for your caravan
Now we have set the background for why and how you should carry out an insurance review, here are some things you can do to ensure you get the most appropriate policy in terms of the cost.
As a very general rule, the lower the risk profile as perceived by the insurance company, the lower your premium price will tend to be (proportionally speaking).
So, it may be very important to you to:
- ensure that your caravan and it’s usage patterns (e.g. using it outside of the UK) are clearly and correctly outlined as part of the caravan insurance application processes;
- do what you can to reduce the caravan insurance provider’s perceptions of risk in accordance with their guidance.
Reducing risk may often entail things such as:
- using additional locks and security devices (some of these may be a formal requirement of being accepted under cover);
- not parking tourers on public roads when not in use;
- using only approved campsites;
- avoiding young drivers on the policy;
- being a member of an owners’ or caravanning association.
Caravan insurance companies will typically have varying degrees of what constitutes risk reduction. Finding out what these are and then configuring your use of your caravan to take those into account, may yield you financial benefits through more attractively-priced premiums
Caravan insurance companies have two things in common with each other:
- they have to make a profit to survive;
- they need to manage their overall exposure to risk.
Making sure you understand the terms and conditions
In a sense, when you purchase a caravan insurance policy, you are paying the insurance company to take on a large chunk of the financial risk that arises as a result of owning a caravan.
They charge you for doing so – and that’s called the premium (i.e. the price you pay).
However, the insurance company must understand the nature of the risk they’re taking on and seek to constrain it within the terms of their policy.
That policy constitutes an agreement between you and the insurance company and it defines the duties, responsibilities and limitations of both parties with respect to the caravan insurance concerned.
If something relating to your caravan is therefore not as defined in the policy and related documents, the insurance provider isn’t in control of the risk and this may result in problems making a claim.
That’s why it’s important to take the time to read the specification and cover detail (including the exclusions) of a policy before purchasing it.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on why it may make sense to review your caravan insurance arrangements as well as how to find the most appropriate policy while keeping the cost as attractive as possible.
Don’t forget, at Cover4Caravans we are here to help you with all your caravan insurance needs.