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Static caravan buying tips

To state the obvious – buying a static caravan typically involves spending a significant sum of money.

You are about to invest in a place that may serve as your home away from home, a holiday retreat, or one to let to paying guests, for many years to come. It is not something you will want to get wrong and some of the following tips and suggestions might help you avoid doing so:

Location

  • keep in mind the basics – namely location, location, location – it doesn’t matter how attractive your static caravan is, if it is located on a site that is of no interest to the majority of caravanners then you may need to anticipate difficulty if you ever wish to sell it on;
  • on a similar theme, check out the wider area. The site itself may be fine and very attractive but if there is a cement factory a mile or two down the road, known for spewing out fumes and smells, then you may want to know about that before rather than after. Remember also to think about local facilities such as supermarkets and pubs etc;
  • is it in a part of the country you might want to return to on a regular basis, so the distance away from your main home may be an important consideration;
  • does the site on which it is pitched offer all the amenities and facilities likely to provide you with the kind of welcome you desire each time you visit;
  • look very carefully at the totality of the site. Your caravan and the one or two near it may be fine but if other caravans on the site are looking run down, it may tell you that the site is in decline and that the problem may move into your pitch area in the near future;

Your second home

  • your static caravan is likely to be, to all intents and purposes, a second home – whether for holidays for you and your family, as a regular bolthole, or as a money-spinning holiday let;
  • whatever the purpose, your choice is likely to be guided by similar principles to those when buying your main place of residence;
  • in other words, is it big enough, does the layout suit the different purposes for which you may be buying it, are the fittings and appliances up to the standard you expect – and, quite simply, does it offer a welcoming home away from home;
  • if you are buying your static caravan principally for summer lettings, does the location offer the appeal and attractions most likely to be sought by tourists and other visitors;

The interior

  • a difference between the interior of your principal home and static holiday home is likely to be that the latter has more in the way of fitted furniture and equipment – unlike the lounge and dining room suites you might have in your main home, for instance;
  • even though some of the furniture and furnishings may be fitted, however, this is not to say that you have plenty of creative opportunities for the interior design of your static caravan;
  • a lick of paint, the introduction of new fabrics or even a carefully placed rug might go a long way to putting your own personal stamp on the décor.

Checking out your static holiday home

  • get the caravan thoroughly checked out by somebody who knows what they’re looking at. If that is you then fine but if you don’t know the mechanics and electrics associated with static caravans, you should ensure that you have someone that does thoroughly look over the caravan before you purchase it;

Terms of sale

  • an important consideration is whether to buy privately or directly from the holiday park on which the static caravan is already sited;
  • although a private sale price might seem attractive, you may need to add to that the cost of transporting the caravan to your chosen location or pay a commission to the holiday park owners if you are buying a static caravan already pitched on that site;
  • make sure that you understand the full nature of the site’s pitch requirements, regulations and costs. Verify what you are told with other caravan owners on the site. Unpleasant surprises are something you will presumably wish to avoid after purchase;
  • keep in mind that the time to ask difficult questions is before you sign on the dotted line and not after. Once you have, it’ll be too late!

Insurance

Just as with the main home in which you live for the rest of the year, insurance cover for your static holiday home is likely to be a priority.

Typically, static caravan insurance cover extends more to the structure and fabric of the caravan itself and to its contents. In the same way as your building and contents cover at home, the total sums insured need to anticipate a worst-case scenario, involving a complete loss and your need to replace both the caravan and its contents.

Bear in mind that in most cases, it is not compulsory to buy your static cover from the site owner – so shop around for the most suitable deal for you. Static caravan insurance providers are currently operating in a highly competitive market and you may find some attractive deals out there if you take the trouble to look around a little more extensively.

Insuring a static caravan is likely to involve special considerations which you might not otherwise encounter in respect of cover for alternative types of dwelling – since static caravan insurance is a particular speciality of ours here at Cover4Caravans, you might want to refer to some of the special conditions typically attached to such cover.

Compare your static caravan insurance cover

Of course, price is always going to be important. Nevertheless, try to balance this off to some extent against the cover being provided by a policy. If you ever need to make a claim, you will be looking very closely at the cover details and not how much the policy has cost. It therefore makes sense to adopt that approach from day one and before you actually choose the policy to begin with.

Look at the totality of the cover provided. For example, some policy advertisements may contain prominent headline good news items but some of the detail of the policy may be rather less satisfactory. It is necessary to look at that fine detail before you will be able to decide whether the policy is right for you.

Think about specialisation. Some organisations offer insurance for every conceivable requirement, which is fine, but they may struggle to display the in-depth knowledge of caravans that might be required in order to find you suitable cover. That might only come from people who specialise in caravan insurance.

Don’t get stuck in a rut. It may be easy to slip into the comfortable familiarity of simply renewing your existing policy each year. The trouble with that approach is that the market changes regularly and what might have been a good deal for you when you selected your existing policy, might now have been significantly superseded by better options in the marketplace. If you simply automatically renew each year, then you may never be aware that those opportunities exist.

Look carefully for discount opportunities. There are many potential areas where this may be available through some policies, but some insurance providers may be rather more forthcoming in this respect than others.

Money-saving tips for your static caravan insurance

The following tips may offer ways of reducing the cost of your static caravan insurance premiums:

  • review your security.  Some policies may recognise and reward policyholders who have taken additional security precautions, such as installing security bolts, intruder alarms, smoke detectors and the like;
  • take a higher voluntary excess.  This may result in a meaningful reduction in your total premium;
  • look carefully at your site.  If you have a static caravan that is sited somewhere with a known history of flooding or perhaps burglaries, you may find your premium prices are elevated. This step might only be meaningful if you take it before purchasing or locating your caravan of course;
  • take particular precautions during the winter season, when your static caravan is more vulnerable to storms, bad weather and possible break-ins.

Cover4Caravans

At Cover4Caravans, our mission is to help you find cost-effective and suitable cover.

Perhaps the common theme in the above points is that of taking your caravan insurance seriously. As the owner of a static caravan – whether one you have bought brand new, already pitched on a holiday park you like, or through a private sale – you are about to enjoy all the freedom and pleasure of owning a second home away from home.

Of course, there are a number of important considerations to take on board before taking the plunge and completing a purchase, but these tips and suggestions may help you to find an effective way forward in owning a holiday home that might be enjoyed by you and your family – or the paying guests you choose – for many years to come.

If you make a little effort on the subject of static caravan insurance, you may end up with cover that provides you with greater peace of mind and at a more cost-effective price. Of course, if you prefer, you are always more than welcome to get in touch – we will be very happy to help!

Glamping and the Airbnb of camping … and more news

The season’s well underway and getting into full swing now, so here are some tidbits of news and information for new and experienced caravanners alike.

Fewer static caravans and more glamping proposed for North York Moors

The North York Moors National Park is proposing to reduce the size and number of static caravan parks in favour of short-term tourism – represented by touring caravans and glamping sites – and more homes for permanent residents, according to a report by the Yorkshire Post on the 13th of April.

The proposal comes in the planning authority’s new Local Plan which believes that static caravan parks, used by second-home owners and longer-term visitors, now dominate the available sites within the National Park. Re-balancing the economic, social and environmental needs of the area requires a switch away from such large facilities to smaller glamping sites – teepees, yurts and pods – and touring caravan sites, together with more homes for local residents.

Three out of four chalets and caravans inside the park are not currently let for public hire, says the Park Authority, but are used as permanent main homes, second homes or holiday lets of prolonged or protracted tenancies.

The Airbnb of camping launches

The Daily Mail reports on Camplify – a new app which echoes the wildly popular accommodation-sharing website Airbnb. But in this case, owners earn extra cash by letting out their caravan or motorhome to Camplify guests.

The average touring caravan or motorhome is used just two to four weeks a year, according to the article, and typically remain unused and just sitting in the driveway for the other 11 months of the year.

First rolled out in Australia, the app now boasts 3,500 caravan and motorhome owners registered in that country and the UK – with claims of potential earnings of as much as £10,000 a year.

Application made for the “UK’s finest holiday park” in Newquay

The UK has its fair share of holiday parks, but the best in the country is planned for a huge site at Quintrell Downs, near the Cornish town of Newquay, according to reports by Cornwall Live on the 24th of April.

A planning application for the 50 hectare (123 acre) site envisages a £50 million development of some 1,000 holiday lodges, chalets and static caravans that would house a visiting population bigger than many towns and villages in Cornwall.

Promising that it will be the “UK’s finest holiday park”, the developers also plan to build restaurants, a leisure centre, swimming pools, and other amenities on the site.

The planning authorities so far seem sympathetic to the proposals but have recommended that heritage impact, archaeological, and other assessments are first carried out in the area.

Leicestershire holiday park voted best touring site in UK

Ever wondered which is the best caravan touring site in the UK?

The wait is over as Eye Kettleby Lakes, near Melton in Leicestershire, has been voted the best in the country, announced the Leicester Mercury on the 16th of April.

The public acclaim was awarded by readers of Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome who voted it the best for touring caravans and motorhomes alike.

The 150-acre park has benefitted from an investment of £2 million over the past two years, which has seen an increase in the number of pitches for touring caravans rise from 60 to 130, upgrading of the tea room and bar, a new site office and a resurfaced car park.

The site also boasts luxury nine coarse fishing lakes and a number of luxury log cabins and other glamping accommodation.

Static caravan insurance quote FAQS

To identify the most appropriate insurance cover, for your own unique needs, it makes sense to compare static caravan insurance quotes.

These quotes allow you to make an informed choice about what may constitute the most appropriate static caravan cover for your own particular situation. Here are a few Faqs relating to static caravan insurance cover, so you know exactly what to look for when comparing cover.

Are static caravan insurance and park home insurance the same?

They might look the same and be sited on similar caravan parks, but there is a world of difference between a static caravan used as a holiday or second home and a park home in which you live the whole year around.

Because of that difference, static caravan insurance is not comparable to or interchangeable with park home insurance. If you have a static caravan as your holiday home, you need static caravan insurance.

Given that some caravans are located in rural areas that are well known as holiday destinations, it is also perhaps worth pointing out that if you let out your static caravan for the purposes of generating income, then you may need further insurance if your interests are to be protected.

Typical standard static caravan insurance may not cover the use of your caravan for commercial purposes including holiday lets.

Do I have to buy the static caravan insurance offered by my site manager?

The first point you may wish to bear in mind is that in most cases you are under no obligation to buy the static caravan cover that your site owner may offer you.

Understandably your site owner may be fully entitled to ensure that you have appropriate caravan cover before allowing you to use the site.  That doesn’t mean, however, that you must purchase that cover from them.

While they may offer a one-policy-fits-all solution, by comparing static caravan insurance cover sourced elsewhere, you may typically find a policy that exactly meets your requirements – and often at a more attractive price too.

In most cases, you are entirely free to shop around for your caravan cover. And even if your site manager charges you a fee for administrative purposes (to check that you have the appropriate cover), overall you may still be in pocket by sourcing your cover independently.

Is it worth comparing static caravan insurance quotes?

Obtaining static home caravan insurance quotes may be of use only if you are clear about the type of caravan you have and how you intend to use it. Quotes then need to conform to those requirements and be applicable to your individual circumstances.

In short, it is always worthwhile being very clear as to the nature of your caravan and the way you plan to use it, before seeking caravan insurance quotations.

You must be sure that the cover you buy fully protects the investment that you may have made in your static caravan, and to do that, any insurance quote needs to be compared with others so that you can compare just what is on offer before making a decision one way or another.

What should I look for in a static caravan insurance quote?

One feature of cover that you may be interested in is the information that your quote for static caravan insurance has on the subject of new for old replacement.

You may find, for example, that there may typically be two main criteria used by providers of static holiday home insurance to determine eligibility for a new caravan should yours be damaged beyond the point where repairs are a realistic option.

These are the age of your caravan and the number of owners that it has had. If you have been the only owner of your caravan, there are some providers who may offer new replacement cover for statics up to three years old. Our, policies, however, provide new for old replacement on static homes up to five years old and regardless of the number of previous owners.

Another feature of a static caravan insurance quote that it may be worth looking out for is whether or not discounted premiums may be on offer. These may be available, for example, if you opt to locate your static on a site which has no record of being flood prone or where there is 24 hour supervision.

Can you tell me more about static caravan insurance quotes from Cover4Caravans?

Using our online service to find out about static caravan insurance quotes may help to bring you the peace of mind that you have the correct form of cover for your holiday home.

All our static caravan insurance quotes are what we believe are very competitively priced. Differences between policies might make some cheaper options than others – but what one caravanner considers cheap, of course, may be different from another’s.

There may be a number of options open to you to qualify for a discount for your static caravan insurance premium including, for example:

  • belonging to a recognised caravan club or association;
  • using a site which is not affected by flooding; or
  • locating your caravan on a site with round the clock supervision.

If you have any questions about whether you need a static caravan or park home insurance quotes, we will be only too happy to help.

Do you have any top tips on carrying out a static caravan insurance comparison?

If you are conducting a static caravan insurance comparison, you may find the following tips to be helpful:

  • keep the price in context – try to focus on what your options are telling you in terms of the cover they provide and the conditions they apply, as ultimately this may prove to be far more important to you than a relatively modest price difference between two typical policies;
  • read the terms and conditions carefully – this area of an insurance policy or quotation is sometimes overlooked by potential policyholders and this may have serious consequences, given the fact that these T and Cs may eventually govern whether or not you will be able to make a claim in certain circumstances;
  • note your obligations – an insurance policy typically highlights conditions you must meet as part of your side of the contract bargain and if you fail to do so, simply because you have not read the policy, you may discover this in the painful situation of having a claim refused;
  • look for discount potential – when engaged in a static caravan insurance comparison, it might be worthwhile paying particular attention to the relative scope for discounts offered by the policies under comparison, as some may be far more flexible in this respect than others;
  • think about expertise – some insurance providers such as ourselves specialise in caravans, and that is worth noting as they may be rather more familiar with the issues and challenges associated with maintaining adequate caravan insurance cover;
  • shop around – the caravan insurance marketplace, like many others, is very competitive and it may pay to resist any pressures applied by people, such as site owners, to take their insurance simply because it is the first one that comes to hand – by using our online quote service, you can get a number of quotes all from one place;
  • allocate sufficient time to do justice to the comparison – trying to squeeze a static caravan insurance comparison into a spare five minutes you have one evening may be unlikely to allow you to compare a number of options in the detail required and this may be a pity as it may mean that you miss some very suitable deals.

Alternatively, please get in touch and speak to one of our friendly staff – or use our online caravan insurance service – to easily see what your static home insurance options are. We’d be only too happy to help!

8 caravan space-saving tips

It’s your home away from home – but if only you had the same amount of space in which to fit all your creature comforts.

Any space-saving tips are likely to prove most welcome – so here are 8 of them:

1. Storage, storage … and yet more storage

  • if there’s one thing you’re unlikely to get enough of, it’s extra storage space in your caravan;
  • a Pinterest user has come up with no fewer than 172 of them – so browse through the well-illustrated page to see which of them are likely to be suitable for your own purposes;

2. Plastic boxes

  • call them storage cubes, tubs, or what you will, but stackable plastic boxes extend the volume of storage space available and may keep clothing, handy devices, and all manner of odds and end all up together and out of the way;
  • clearly, if you keep the same kinds of items together in their own separate storage box, you’ll know where to look and find them more easily, suggest caravan park owners Pure Leisure;

3. Collapse it

  • anything capable of collapsing, so that you can stow it away until you need it, is going to take up less space;
  • pop-up laundry baskets, clothes horses and ironing boards are just some of the collapsible gadgets that spring to mind;

4. Hang your shoes

  • do you find that everyone’s shoes tend to end up in a jumbled heap at the bottom of a wardrobe – or just anywhere on the floor?
  • a simple and effective way of keeping better order – and saving space – is to buy a hanging shoe rack;
  • It’s not only great for shoes, but its pockets provide equally handy storage for items such as toiletries and cleaning products;

5. Peg it

  • hooks and pegs you can hang anywhere – on the walls of your caravan, on wardrobe and cupboard doors – to provide handy places on which to hang beach towels, hats and clothes, dishcloths and the like;
  • if you prefer to keep all this in the one place, you might fix a pegboard in a convenient place and keep all those frequently used items all up together;

6. Magnetic strips

  • you probably use one in your kitchen at home, so why not fix one above the space in the galley of your caravan;
  • knives, kitchen utensils and scissors are kept neatly out of the way – and you’ll always know just where to find them;

7. Nest them

  • another trick for saving space in the kitchen or galley is to make sure that your bowls, plates and dishes nest together, rather than awkwardly shaped items taking up their own individual space in the cupboard below or above the sink;

8. Suspend it

  • you don’t have to turn your caravan into the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but there may be some unobtrusive areas where you can hang extra storage space from the ceiling;
  • a small hanging wardrobe, food storage cupboard or extra shelving can be hung from the unused space and keep things well out of the way.

Increasing the storage space in your caravan is likely to prove a God-send. It helps to keep everything neatly in its proper place, rarely costs much to buy, and might help make your tourer more of a home from home.

Ashridge Farm Caravan & Motorhome Club

This review is of the Ashridge Farm Caravan & Motorhome Club site near Ashwell in Hertfordshire and is based on my visit in April 2018, when I stayed for six nights. The site is open all year around and is for club members only, however you can join on site. It’s a relatively small site with just 39 pitches, 25 of which are hard standing but they do not accept tents and there are no camping pods or similar available. All pitches can accommodate awnings.

Next, as always, getting there. The clubs instructions are that access should only be via the A505 – and having driven along some of the other roads into and through the village it’s sound advice. Our Site Arrival video below shows the route heading north-east on the A505 after leaving the A1(M) at junction 9. Leaving the M11 at junction 11 will bring you in from the opposite direction.

Check in is from midday although the Wardens – there’s only one set – take their lunch between 1pm and 2pm. I arrived at about 1:50pm and was in no rush so busied myself with the towing cover until they came to open up. I wonder though whether the Check in should be from 1pm, allowing the Wardens to take their lunch at midday – as is the case at the Cherry Hinton site near Cambridge.

You’ll find the basics on sale in Reception and Calor gas is available too. The grassed area opposite Reception is home to eight pitches when the weather and seasons allow but was empty during my visit. There is limited visitors parking just before Reception on the left.

Given the size of the site it’s no surprise that there is only one service point  – located opposite pitch 21 – but no-one will be that far away from it. The Motorhome service point is beside it and although the Site Plan doesn’t show it, there’s a walk through that runs between pitches 25/26 and 21/22 providing a short cut to the service point and the facilities block which sits behind Reception. Shower cubicles numbered just two in the Men’s but although the hardstandings were full I didn’t have to wait, however I did stagger my shower times. I do wonder whether two is enough though when the site is at capacity. The facilities were kept immaculate throughout my stay.

Overall the site was quiet and peaceful with very occasional – and distant – aircraft noise. It might be worth noting that pitches 7-12 back on to rear gardens, from which you may get some noise in the warmer months when folks are outside.

The club’s Wi-Fi was fine for general browsing, social media and YouTube. No problem with the TV either however mobile coverage varies. My signal with ‘3’ was hit and miss for both voice and data, as was EE. O2 and Vodafone was fine.

There is no dog walk on site but plenty of options locally including just outside the site entrance.

It’s just a short walk into the village and you will pass Ashwell Springs – a source of the River Cam on the way.

If you don’t fancy cooking, there’s three pubs to choose from. I only got to try two but would happily recommend them both – The Three Tuns is the nearest and the Rose and Crown a little further along. The butchers and bakers are said to be good and fresh eggs can be bought just down the lane from the site. There’s a village shop too but you will find supermarkets in nearby Royston or Baldock and an Aldi and M & S Food on the A505 towards Royston on the opposite carriageway. There’s a BP filling station just over 2 miles away, again along the A505 to Royston and further – and cheaper – options in Baldock and Royston.

Right, getting out and about for something other than grog and grub. The bus stops in the village High Street go to Royston, Baldock and the world’s first Garden City – Letchworth. Call in reception for details of walks around the area. You are close to national cycle route 12 and there are plenty of country lanes nearby. The railway station – as indicated by the sign on the route to the site is just a few minutes away but, judging by the number cars occupying the grass verges during the week, parking may be an issue. It’s on the main line into London in one direction and Cambridge the other.

Talking of Cambridge, it’s a city well worth some of your time. If you’re driving, the Park & Ride at Trumpington, via the A10 is nearest. Vehicles over 2.1m high should use the entrance off Hauxton Road, not the one signposted from the A10.

There is a hop-on/hop off bus tour which will give you the highlights and a climb up the tower at Great St Mary’s church in the Market Square will reward your efforts with some great views.

A punt on the River Cam is almost certainly a must do and there are plenty of hawkers vying for your cash, most notably along Kings Parade and by Magdalene Bridge, just up from which is The Pickerell Inn, said to be Cambridge’s oldest pub. Scudamores are the only official operator of punts and are priced accordingly but there are others who will be more receptive to some haggling.

The Duxford Imperial War Museum sits by the junction of the M11 and A505 and will most certainly demand a day of your time. Collections are arranged over several hangars as well as outside and it’s likely you’ll see some activity  on the airfield during the day. There’s plenty of options to refuel but ample places to sit outside with a picnic too.

The National Trust managed Wimpole Hall is not far away and again, make it a day and bring a picnic. The market town of Saffron Walden just over the border in Essex is worth a wander around too.

Site Arrival Video